The (Hypocritical) Bias Against Hunting

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on September 29, 2008 at 12:20 am
LearnAboutGuns.com > Pro Gun Rights Articles > The (Hypocritical) Bias Against Hunting

I’ve noticed a rather hypocritical bias against hunting, and though I would take a moment to address it, from the perspective of someone who has never gone hunting but respects the hunting rights of others:

First, my lack of bias on this issue
I would like to start out by saying that I am not a hunter.  I have never been hunting, and don’t really have the desire to go hunting.  The guns I own are ones primarily suitable for self defense rather than suitable for hunting, although I do enjoy trapshooting and target practice.

They hypocrisy I’ve noticed
I was recently eating lunch with an anti gun relative, and discussing politics.  This relative of mine was calling Sarah Palin a cruel animal abuser for hunting moose, as she ate her brazed beef.  I replied that while I don’t hunt, I fail to see who anyone who eats meat or dairy products can take issue with hunting.  After she finished chewing a bite of beef, she said that it is more humane to raise animals for food than to hunt wild animals.  I disagreed, and pointed to the abuses of livestock that occur, and the deplorable conditions under which many dairy cows are kept.  I then asked which seems better: (1) a cow that is taken from its mother shortly after being born, made to live in poor conditions, and then slaughtered by an illegal immigrant that is tired after working a 17 hour shift, and therefore takes a few tries to kill the cow, or (2) a moose that born in the wild, grew up with its mother, lived a normal life, and was then dropped dead in its tracks by a hunter’s bullet that it never saw coming.  I also pointed out that at least those who hunt are willing to do the “dirty work” themselves, rather than going to the supermarket to pick up a neatly packaged piece of beef.  My relative agreed that the moose had a better life, but also maintained her dislike of hunters and hunting, and the conversation moved on to other matters.

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My conclusions about hunting
Hunting seems to me to be a good thing, although I personally don’t have the desire to go hunting.  Hunting prevents overpopulation that leads to starvation, and allows animals to lead natural and happier lives than those that are raised on factory farms.  Unlike slaughter houses, in which the animal can see/hear their fellows being killed, game that is killed by hunters don’t see the bullet coming.  Unlike slaughter houses, in which workers are tired and often sloppy, hunters take pride in humanely killing their prey with as few shots as possible (usually 1 shot), which prevents or greatly reduces suffering.  Finally, hunters are willing to do the “dirty work” of killing and cleaning their prey, instead of delegating that to others.  It is also worth noting that eating meat was essential for human evolution.

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  • Muhammad

    I agree with what you about the whole “livestock vs. wild” thing. As far as the overpopulation business goes, however, the reason for that is a lack of the deer’s natural predators, the mountain lion and the wolf, which have been hunted out of existence in much of North America. Without the natural check that these great predators would provide, the deer population has exploded, and this could in turn lead to the starvation you mentioned. The crazy thing is, many deer hunters believe that there can never be too many deer, and are adamantly opposed to management efforts to reduce the deer population in places like Pennsylvania, which I believe has the largest herds of deer in the Eastern US.

  • Muhammad

    I should mention that I am not against hunting, provided that it is done for food. Hunting moose, deer, elk, bison, and any other animal that is used for food is fine, provided that it is not overdone. But the hunting of the great predators for pleasure or for their fur is a nonsense, especially since these animals do not reproduce prodigiously, and it does not take much killing to reduce their numbers drastically. The wolf, mountain lion, and grizzly bear all roamed over extensive bits of the lower 48 states. Even the jaguar was a denizen of the lower states. Trophy hunting, however, saw to it that the jaguar is now largely confined to South America, with a tiny population holding out in a mountainous bit of Mexico, rather like the tenous hold of the 100 or so Florida panthers. The wolf and mountain lion are beginning to make comebacks, but a great many people, among them many hunters, are making a lot of noise about the need to start hunting these ‘dangerous’ beasts. It is all rather depressing, I think.

  • DJ Sarver

    Hello again. And thanks for giving me another chance to debate with you. While it is impossible to decide who is right and wrong on issues such as these, is always good to exercise our minds and to hear the opposing viewpoints of others :-) And I agree when you say there tends to be a lot of hypocrisy regarding this subject. That being said, being a vegan, I am obviously opposed to hunting, as well as factory farming. One arguement I would like to make is that although animals are overpopulated, that alone does not give us the right to pick them off one by one. Nature will take its course. I would also like to point out the fact that humans are overpopulated and many are starving and living without shelter, and so forth, yet that would never be an adequate argument for hunting humans (and not just hunting, but genocide, etc.). People are always quick to pick on deer, whether they've been involved in a car accident or just find them a nuisance, but not many people know that deer were brought here for game, and eventually became overpopulated. And whether or not humans evolved primarily on a meat-based diet, I haven't done my research on that, but like everything else that has evolved, I know meat is no longer required for a healthy diet and we can get protiens and other vitamins and nutrients from plants and many other products. I believe that meat eating is a primitive means of survival and at this day in age we have the technology to find alternative ways. Anyway, that's all I have to say for now. Thanks again :-)

    • vpm

      Yes, nature will take its course. I can give three examples:
      1) Deer starving when there are not enough predators
      2) Deer population being controlled by wolves that tear deer apart slowly and painfully, only eating a small fraction of what they kill
      3) Deer population being controlled by humans that kill deer in a matter of seconds using their guns, eating or otherwise using almost everything they can.

      How is man, Homo Sapiens, not part of nature? He is bound to be a part of the food chain no matter what he eats.

      You mentioned the deer not being a native species. I believe that's a non-argument, and remind you that where you live is not synonymous to the whole world. They are native somewhere, where they are hunted too. What has been said on deer also applies to many other species such as the buffalo or the moose. Even boars and seals.

      Contrary to popular belief, humans rarely hunt "for fun", and when they do it's frowned upon by most hunters. For many other predators it is customary to as much as they can and only eat very little, say, 5%.

  • http://www.learnaboutguns.com LearnAboutGuns.com

    DJ Sarver:

    Glad to see you’ve commented again, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future as well :)

    I think it is unreasonable to compare the shooting of overpopulated deer with the murder of humans on the street. Humans are not deer, but are instead the only sentient animals on the planet. I could dedicate a whole site like this to that topic, but lack the time to do so. Instead, I’ll leave the rest of vegetarian debate to those who have put more time into arguing it.

    Regarding the idea of letting nature take it course to solve deer overpopulation, I think that is a virtual impossibility. Humans have had a pervasive impact upon the environment, which included the destruction of habitat and reduction of natural predators. We have also introduced species that were not native to an area and therefore had no natural predators. We have modified this world greatly, and cannot just expect it to attend to itself – especially since there is no end in sight to our modifications. If we stop controlling the deer population, it will expand greatly, leading to deer starvation and other problems addressed above.

    Regarding the assertion that meat is no longer necessary to live a healthy life, you may be correct in the abstract, but in practice I don’t think this is the case. First, it is harder to get all the essential nutrients through a vegan diet. It can be done, but it is more expensive and more difficult. We can’t manage to properly feed most of the world’s population, so I doubt that the added cost of providing vegan diets to everyone would be a prudent decision. Also see http://www.ucalgary.ca/~powlesla/personal/hunting/rights/meat.txt

    Even if we could do away with meat consumption, it doesn’t therefore follow that we should. For example, we could do away with sexual intercourse, and reproduce solely through in vitro fertilization. I doubt that many people would support that option. Just because our advances in science have made something possible does not mean that it is the best course of action. I eat meat because it is delicious, and because I see nothing wrong with doing so, just as our ancestors and a great many other animals do. For better or worse, we are a species that evolved to eat meat. I see it as a part of being human, and embrace that humanity.

    But most importantly, I want to say that I respect your decision to be a vegan. It is your right to chose that lifestyle, and I would never wish to interfere with your right to make that choice. I only hope that you will refrain from trying to impose your views on hunting, meat eating, self defense, etc. on those who feel the opposite way.

    [one note: I’m about as pro-science as it gets, so don’t take my above comment as opposition to the advancement of science and technology.]

  • Jaybuck

    I am a 66 year old man that has hunted since I was big enough to follow my dad through the woods long before I was old enough to carry a clip fed .22 bolt action Winchester loaded with six hollow points with which I later often used to put Rabbit & squirell on our dinner table. Sometimes we had no other meat but I was richer than some because my dad had taken the time to teach me the responsiblity I needed about firearms while I learned about the art of hunting as well as dressing & caring for game. Today I use the same tools to accomplish the same thing but I have never lost the respect I have for mother nature & the role she plays by providing this food in her own sacred way. Guns & hunters today are pronounced in the same phrase & with a bad rap mostly from anti gun groups & many politicians but not all of them. Guns are tools & have so many uses but we all know that as we continue hanging around this excellent site. As for hunting I live to climb up in an elevated stand in the early fall & just watch nature quietly unfold around me with her sights sounds & smells engulfing me which one can usually find by sitting quietly in the woods & best when alone.

    See A fox sneaking around a ground hog den or watch some turkeys scratching up acorns or a doe placing her fawn safely into a hidden draw while she feeds away on the forage. All this while staying unobserved is a big part of hunting for me and seldom do I discharge my gun or bow. The mere observation & studying of wild game remains priceless in a successful hunting enviroment & it provides for your soul as well anytime you need it. Hunting you see can mean different things to different people. Watching game is top notch entertainment to me. I kill a few deer in the winter for steaks & summer sausage. I do not enjoy the actual kill but it should be instant if possible & it for sure has to be done. The deer herd is now becoming diseased in many states. A 74 yr old friend has a deer herd he feeds & maintains just as a farmer would a heard of Angus. He killed 24 deer with a bow last season & field dressed & got them to the locker plant alone. He donated them all to elderly people that can no longer hunt & to needy families that have come to depend on him. His cost of the license & tags alone was astronomical but he enjoys hunting he maintains a healthy deer herd & also he made 24 families happy to have some meat. One other aspect of hunting I enjoy is the good Beagle dog work I have in the rabbit fields. A pleasure it is to see the time you invested in these little hounds rewarding you when they do what they do so well. I have learned with age to listen to them closely & to shoot less often. I know many people in the cities across our great country may judge me or others like my friend for being hunters but they can be assured that they are missing out on a big part of life when they choose not to shoot and not to hunt. They are entitled however to their thoughts & their opinions the same as I am but I have to defend the fact that there are many good reasons to hunt. An elderly man said one time about his dieing in the woods while hunting would be a testament to his having lived life. A good day to all