Updated: Jul 6, 2020
The North American model of conservation
Since the dawn of human kind, we as a people have been hunting and fishing to sustain life. As time marched on and advancements in technology arose, the thought of hunting for our food has since become a lost skill. The abundance of factory farming and grocery stores has thrown the way of the hunter gatherer out the window. I have been asked a few times why I hunt or why I feel the need to hunt. Besides the fact that I was raised in an area where hunting was extremely prevalent, I personally enjoy the satisfaction that I feel in knowing that my food has not been processed in a factory farm, in inhumane conditions and pumped with chemicals that would blow your mind. When my arrow passes through the animal, they were not feeling any anxiety prior to my shot. They have experienced the cleanest and most likely fastest, humane death they will experience.
Some people would argue this point, but lets look at this logically and without blinders. Imagine the wilds of Montana, Wyoming, or Idaho and you see a cow elk drop her spring calf. From this moment forward, that calf is in danger. Bears, mountain lions, wolves and coyotes are doing exactly what animals do, looking for their next meal to stay alive. Sure the nature shows that show these apex predators killing the other animals looks quick and relatively painless but in real life it is another story entirely. Sometimes these kills go on for several minutes and in many cases, is a game of a thousand cuts. Especially for wolves. They chase the much bigger animal biting at their legs until they can't stand anymore and start feasting while the animal is still alive. I hate to sound graphic but that is the true story. Not the quick blip in time that the nature shows would have you believe.
Besides the graphic side of life and death struggle, I as a hunter enjoy the outdoors. Just because I see an animal in which I have a tag, does not mean that I am going to kill it. I, in most cases, make the conscious decision of whether or not that animal has functioned in the animalistic society in which it is a part. The reason I say "in most cases", is because in large part, I eat what I harvest. So if I am hunting and it is looking as though I will not see or get a better and more ethical shot on a more mature animal, then I will make the call to harvest the best animal that is giving me the opportunity to feed my family.
I find the argument about whether hunting is needed or not, fascinating. The reason I find this topic so fascinating is that as a culture, we have allowed ourselves to become so domesticated. This domestication has, in my mind, done nothing accept put blinders on to the way things in our environment actually exist. We are so disconnected from how our food is actually processed, that in large part, it seems that many people must not think past the idea that our meat comes directly from the grocery store and from nowhere else. We decide that we want chicken wings for the super bowl so we go to the store for a bag of chicken wings. How many chickens died for that one bag of wings? We can do the math considering chickens only have 2 wings, and since no one only eats 2 chicken wings that must mean multiple chickens are in that one bag. I would venture to say that if people had to go out and kill their flock of chickens for the super bowl, because that was the only way they were going to have them, they might rethink how frivolously, throw away the leftovers.
A very small portion of the United States population actually hunts for their own food. Contrary to all of the hunting and outdoor shows, the percentage of people that participate in hunting activities is staggeringly low. According to a study done by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: "In 2016, 11.5 million people 16 years and older enjoyed hunting a variety of animals within the United States." (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau, 2016) Statistics as low as this, makes me wonder about the direction that we are headed. Will our country continue on the path towards laziness, and maintain being oblivious to how food actually finds it's location in the grocery stores or will there be a growing revolution of people that decide that they want to achieve a full connection with this process? Only time will tell, but I for one hope that more people experience the satisfaction and accomplishment that comes when you actually have to work for your food.
Please comment on this subject. I would thoroughly enjoy to read both sides of the argument. Thank you.