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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HUNTING (+ why you should try it)

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try." -Seth Godin
It's that time of the year again and if you're from the south, you know I'm not talking about huge Thanksgiving feasts. It's hunting season.

Although I grew up in the Lone Star State and had friends that went to their ranches with their dads all the time, I never hunted or even held a gun until I met my boyfriend. Trying something new will benefit you more than not trying anything at all.

Hunting is one of the most controversial topics within the world and I thought I'd like to share some light on the misconceptions some people have on it.

The first misconception that people have about hunting is that it is unethical. However, it is the farthest thing from it.  In order to get a hunting license, you must take a hunter's education course that explains all of the laws and ethical ways to go about hunting. A quick shot to the heart results in a clean kill and the animal won't even feel it. Also, hunting is the completely ethical option if you shoot the animal for your own meat. In my opinion, it is way better than slaughter houses.

Another misconception about hunting is it harms the population of the animal. However, hunting actually contributes to wildlife conservation. This may sound confusing but hear me out. According to Free-Eco.org, hunting plays a key role in habitat conservation. Those who oppose hunting and argue through emotion are wrapped up in a science that falsely claims animal populations naturally regulate themselves without degrading their habitat. Hunting helps maintain populations at levels compatible to human activity and habitat availability.

Also, hunters pay for the bulk of wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson Act (1937). This act created an excise tax on guns, ammunition, bows, arrows, etc. This money is then given to state wildlife agencies. The Pittman-Robertson Act also ensures that the money goes towards wildlife management and projects that conduct research, wildlife reintroductions, and improving wildlife habitats.

Now, one of the main contributors towards wildlife conservation is trophy hunting. Although I would never shoot an animal I won't eat (just a personal opinion), the trophy hunting industry raises an exponential amount of earnings for protecting and conserving wildlife. According to SaveTheRhino.org, at the turn of the century there were only 50-100 white rhino in South Africa. The country has now permitted the limited hunting of Southern white rhino and data from the IUNC African Rhino Specialist Group shows that since trophy hunting began, the numbers have increased from 1,800 and 20,000.

Misconceptions about hunting just aren't about the action that's taking place, but are towards hunters themselves. Many anti-hunters, call those who practice this murderers and psychopaths. Which is the furthest thing from the truth. Hunters respect animals more than anyone else. They love being out in nature and enjoy interacting with many different animals including cheetahs and elephants. Hunters are not bad people. They respect nature and animals enough to eat meat that got to live happily in nature instead of spending their entire lives being miserable and abused in slaughter houses, as well as spend money on promoting wildlife conservation.

After reading this, I hope you look at hunting and hunters differently. If you don't want to try it, that's completely fine but I hope you don't feel negatively towards hunters for doing it (and overall helping out wildlife). What are some of your opinions on the topic? Can't wait to here all about it and happy hunting (and Thanksgiving)!

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