Ed wrote "As a hunter who lives in the rural South (and my wife is not my sister) I believe hunter's have had some bad PR over the years."
As a child growing up in NW Montana, I was raised on wild meat, deer, elk, pronghorn, and have had black bear meat as well. The logic was simple for my family. A hunting license costs a LOT less than the same amount of beef bought at the store, even back in the 60's and 70's. Feeding a family of 4 when you're poor is easier, and the meat is leaner, so therefore healthier, than buying the cheap, fat-laden cow meat at the store. Later when Dad remarried and he had 4 kids to feed, we not only had the meat Dad would bring home, but also what my Step-mom would bring home, and they also raised 100 - 150 chickens every summer, plus a nice sized organic garden for veggies and fruits. It helped them save money for clothes, mortgage on that 5 acres, etc...
Now, when you're discussing Trophy hunting, where the meat isn't used, just the hide, and the meat is left to rot somewhere, to me, that is vile and disgusting. If the trophy hunter donates the meat to local food pantry type places, or to soup kitchens, wildlife rehabbers etc. then I'm okay with it. Even though Dad didn't use the hides, he always sold it so it could be tanned and used by someone else. To me, using every part of the animal possible is the only ethical way to take wildlife by hunting.
As a side benefit, when wild game, like deer, elk, moose, pronghorn etc, are hunted to keep populations under control, the herds as a whole are healthier and better able to survive harsh winters without bad illnesses coursing through the whole herd. The fact is that humans have virtually eliminated every other apex predator and without those other predators keeping the herbivore populations in check, the overpopulation would be disastrous to the species as a whole. So, hunting does scientifically help control populations of wild herbivores when they could easily become very sick, and spread that illness to domesticated herbivores, thereby creating a huge mass die-off of multiple species in that area.
Like your family, everyone was expected to take Hunter's Safety courses, and then get a license and help bring in meat for our family. The difference is that my family had no gender-bias, so that included my step-sister and myself. Have I ever shot a deer, or any other animal? No, but if I had freezer space now, and couldn't afford to buy meat at the local store, I'd be buying a rifle and a license to go out to bag a deer for us to eat. I'd know how to field dress it, cure it, butcher it, and freeze it to maximize the use of the meat, then I'd sell the hide and donate as many of the larger bones to Southwest Wildlife, including the full ribs, since I don't care for rib meat. All of the organs would be donated to them as well. They rehab injured wildlife including mountain lion, bobcat and black bears, so the meat would be useful for their efforts. If I didn't have a domestic cat who likes to hunt doves (can't convince hubby to let him become a full-time indoor cat) I would be raising chickens in the back yard to help control the bugs in my garden, just like Dad did back home. (the chickens would also eat the darn bark scorpions in the back yard too!) I wouldn't have any problem with butchering one for dinner if necessary, even if they all were given names, like we used to do as kids. I'm not cruel or callous, just a realist. If I gotta feed my family, and that's the only way I can do it, then that's what I'll do.
Any time I can get my hands on a chunk of venison, I'm thrilled... I love lean meat, and I can't stand beef steaks or roasts that are so fat-laden that I spend more time carving out the fat than eating the meat. But, I'm also on the carnivore side of being an omnivore.
I suppose a wild animal killed by a hunter receives a quick and relatively quick and non-agonizing death as opposed to being disemboweled while still alive by a pack of wolves or a bear, or dying of disease or starvation.
I think few wild animals die of old age.
Hunters, plain and simple, get off on killing. Human beings are anthrocentric to the point of regarding all other species as inferior, and thus without the same inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as themselves. But release a hunter into the wilds of an African jungle without a weapon and we’ll see who’s inferior.
Hunters have a tendency to see themselves as courageous and manly. What is courageous and manly is to confront wild, dangerous creatures without a weapon. I don’t have that kind of courage, so I stay out of African jungles and leave the animals who reside there to live their lives as nature evolved them to live.
As it happens, I do live in a national forest and regularly hike alone (with a camera and no guns) deep in the wilderness where I know there are bears, mountain lions, and other species that could kill me if they wished. But they DON’T wish. They merely wish to be left alone - a right that I respect.
My oldest friend is a hunter. I was expressing my opinion of his despicable hobby one day and he said that he didn’t hunt to kill - that the challenge was in the hunt, itself. I asked, “But why do you have to kill the animal?” He said that he killed it to prove he found it. So I asked him why he didn’t just prove it with a camera. He changed the subject.
Although I suspect that most of the people on this website are probably NOT hunters, some are; so I expect I’ll get some typical rejoinders like “I eat the meat;” or “It’s kill or be killed.” I think the arguments against that nonsense are self-evident. The REAL reason is that they are human beings that have not yet fully evolved from their evolutionary past as meat-eating predators. And that instinct is not satiated by buying their meat in the supermarket. There is no excuse for it, now.
One more thing: for those who are inclined to call me hypocritical for eating meat, Sorry! I am a vegetarian.
Plain and simple, you have no idea as to what you're talking about. You're superiority complex knows no bounds. Let's see if we can knock you down a couple notches. Let's pretend that you're correct, and hunters get a joy for killing other things. Please explain to me how that's even slightly different from getting a joy out of, say jumping from an airplane? It's an adrenaline rush, plain and simple. You've clearly never been hunting yourself, and if you have, and you didn't like it, you have no right to down others who do... It would be as if I down someone from jumping off a plane. You know the only difference between jumping from a plane and killing? We've evolved to kill and needed to, so it helps to enjoy the thrill, while jumping from a plane is new. Science help you if we ever become lower on the food chain. You need to hope people continue to hunt. Who knows the future of evolution.
Also, you clearly didn't read a single thing I wrote prior to your completely ignorant statement, referencing to your being "more evolved." If you know ANYTHING about evolution, you'd know that it requires natural selection. Natural selection is used to kill off the weak, and random mutation is used to make people strong. Those who wouldn't want to kill before society, would have been killed. Therefore, people like you are ultimately less evolved because it would have required strength and at least some type of killing instinct to eat and defend oneself against predators (even if you are an herbivore). It's because of our stagnant evolution that people like you are allowed to exist, and it's because of early hunters who had the balls to kill animals for development that you do exist. You should be thanking hunters.
I wrote a ton more, but for some reason it didn't save, so I'll have to write it here. I love it when people reference to humans needing to go in without a gun. This is clearly showing your ignorance when it comes to knowledge of the wild. Why do you think wolves hunt in a pack? Why don't you tell them to hunt alone? Or did you not know that? How about lions, did you know that they go for the weakest gazelle? Why is that? Because it would be stupid to go against an animal you can't beat or risk losing an easy kill. No one does this, but of course you know that, yet you think you're actually making a good point when you clearly aren't.
Also, of course mountain lions aren't looking for you. You aren't their natural prey, but they do something called hunting... Ever heard of that? They don't hunt humans because we're higher up on the food chain (proving my last point even more), but if he were to see you and decide you weren't a threat, he could easily attack you, and they have been known to do as such. The only reason many don't is because they don't know what to think. Once again, you aren't there natural prey, but if you were hurt, and he could tell, there would be a higher chance he would, which even most human hunters won't attack hurt animals. And guess what? If a mountain lion decided you weren't a threat and was hungry, while he's eating you, he won't give two shits as to how nice a person you are or how much you love mountain lions.
Mountain lions have been known to prey upon unsuspecting humans. Beyond that side note, your point is valid, if not expressed in frustrated anger at someone who's never been involved in hunting.
I was raised in a hunting family, it was expected that every one of us kids, upon completing Hunter's Safety courses, would help with the hunt to provide food for the table. We were also expected to help butcher and process 100-150 chickens every August for the freezer. "If you don't help butcher & process, you can't help eat them." I am definitely a carnivore-leaning omnivore, and wasn't about to give up fresh, home-grown chicken, or extra-lean and tasty venison, so I helped. Dad used butchering of the animals to teach us about all the different organs in the body of an animal, and that humans are pretty much the same as deer, elk, bear, and that chickens and turkeys were very similar to reptiles and this is due to the evolution of all these animals. (human animals included)
So, Hunting for subsistence to me is not a problem. As long as the animal isn't wasted, and everything possible is used, and it was within the legal requirements to take that animal, then that's okay.
We were also taught that if we couldn't make a clean kill to minimize suffering of that animal, not to shoot. If it was a female with a yearling, don't shoot it. The prime directive from our father was always "Never shoot at any living thing unless you are going to eat it or it is going to eat you." That was LAW in our house. My brother had to field dress and prepare a squirrel when he was about 8 or 9 years old because he shot & killed it with his pellet gun. My brother cried and swore that he'd never kill anything like that again. Dad put that law into action and all four of us kids knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he meant every word of it. I think that he did relent and not make him eat the squirrel only because neither my step-mom nor he knew how to cook it right.
So, yeah, unless you have experienced hunting, and have been taught the right attitudes toward hunting, it can seem brutal and inhumane. Seeing a whole herd of elk dying because they've been overcome with Brucellosis, (mad elk disease) or overpopulation causing starvation through the winter, is tragic, and if regulated killing by hunters can prevent either of these from wiping out whole herds, then that's what it takes, especially since we have eliminated most of the true predators from the United States, the only predator left in the lower 48 states are the homo sapiens.
RE: "You know the only difference between jumping from a plane and killing?" Yes, death.
You're clearly missing my point... They both bring adrenaline rushes, which is why people like hunting, but they are still different in the way they bring it on, so some people like to hunt, while others like jumping out of plains. It was just a small analogy to get someone to understand the thrill of a hunt, rather than trying to say how horrible it is. Because we've evolved to enjoy the hunt, it's more likely people would enjoy it over other thrill seeking fun. Also, the problem is that people try to correlate animals to humans, but it's extremely unnatural to look at other species as the same. No animals do this, while many even don't care of there own species, much less others. He was trying to make a correlation to killing animals as being the same as killing humans, but this isn't the case, which is why people can kill humans while not feeling remorse. It's a scapegoat to make hunters look like horrible people.
James, you seem to think I'm attacking the fact that you hunt - I couldn't care less, but you left me with - I'll admit, the mistaken impression - that you were saying that we couldn't have survived without the firepower to fight our enemies. In fact you were saying we needed guns to defend ourselves from animals, but I misinterpreted that. Once we straightened that out, I still contended that the Native American did quite well - in fact, hunted the Woolly Mammoth to extinction - without firearms.
Now, I'm finding fault with your analogy - you equate hunting with jumping out of a plane, but, done right, jumping out of a plane involves no loss of life, but as I understand it, that's the whole purpose of hunting.
I don't give a damn if you hunt, just make sense when you write!
If you read a little later, you'd see that I actually don't hunt. I did when I was a kid, and I was more referring to pre firearm, but the firearm is merely a better weapon, but it makes no difference with the point I was making at the time.
You should read my comment to the other person who replied to that post. I was saying that the reason I equated it to jumping out of a plane was to give an analogy as to why people enjoy hunting. They both have an adrenalin rush...