Hunting has a reputation that ranges from a cruel blood sport to an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food. The truth is that, in many areas, it is impossible to maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem without hunting. In an area unspoiled by human activity, it is true that the natural balance of prey and predators make hunting unnecessary and even harmful. However, where humans have limited the habitat or removed major predators, the management of the remaining wildlife becomes a human responsibility.
Humans as a natural predator
Whenever a major predator is removed from an area, what can restore the balance? There is no remedy except that another predator takes its place. Humans have a bad habit of removing themselves from equations in the natural world even when they may be the single most influential species in an area. If we do not step in as the natural predator after removing such creatures as wolves and coyotes, then the prey animals will become overpopulated and overwhelm the habitat. Eventually, all will die from starvation and disease that spreads easily in an overcrowded area.
In this aspect of hunting, it is especially important to remember that nature is not everything except that which is human. As animals ourselves – albeit ones that function much differently from most other species – our activities can be just as important or harmful as those of any other species. We produce large-scale farms and urban sprawl, and responsible hunting is one way to help balance out the consequences.
Deer hunting for improving human health
The opportunity to get out into the wild and enjoy unspoiled nature is a huge draw for hunting enthusiasts. You get fresh air, boundless opportunities for exercise, and hopefully some very lean and healthy meat at the end of the outing. Wild animals do not have accumulated excess fat. Like many domesticated animals do, and they are not given steroids and antibiotics to control their growth and muscle mass. Because of this, few types of meat are considered as healthy for human consumption as wild venison or elk.
Promote overall wildlife health with responsible hunting
Contrary to some opinions, hunting is not detrimental to the hunted animals. Irresponsible hunting can lead to injuries, poaching of non-surplus animals, and undue animal stress. Good wildlife management and adherence to hunting licenses ensure that the population stays healthy. The number of animals remains stable, while the larger, older unproductive animals are most likely to be culled through hunting. These animals will no longer deplete much-needed food sources for younger and healthier animals that have a better chance of surviving the winter. In addition, the chances of diseases with long incubation periods expressing themselves significantly declines with responsible hunting practices.
The residual effects in an area that is not responsibly hunted can be detrimental to the entire ecosystem. Overpopulation is even more deadly than hunting, and the death much more excruciating. Well regulated hunting is potentially the most effective way to preserve a healthy ecosystem in limited habitats.