- Why Deer Hunting is Important | Conservation, Overpopulation Control & Land Protection
Why Deer Hunting is Important | Conservation, Overpopulation Control & Land Protection
By: Dylan Hayward
You’ll often hear from animal rights groups, vegans, and all anti-hunters alike that deer hunting is a cruel excuse for murder, or that we’re carelessly harming innocent animals, but at the risk of sounding harsh, this is absolute bullcrap.
Even taking the conservation aspect out of the argument, we as humans have always relied on meat as a large part of our diet.
In fact, in a way it would almost be taboo for humans to not hunt, and to not eat the meat that we harvested, since we have done so for thousands of years.
Aldo Leopold states in A Sand County Almanac, “For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun.” Not only does hunting play a crucial role in our history as humans, and an incredible way that we connect with our ancestors, but it is also the best way to contribute to conservation.
Hunting is Conservation
In the late 1800s, vastly all hunting was completely unregulated, and there was a large amount of habitat destruction, and wildlife loss. This pushed several animals close to extinction, such as the North American turkey, as well as whitetail deer.
With the help of congress as well as fellow hunters, there were many programs passed that had a massive role in the conservation of wildlife.
Many people attribute the rise in conservation efforts only to the US government, but in fact it was largely through hunter support that these programs were passed.
This hunter support led to the Pittman-Robertson Act, which was passed by congress in 1937, and now provides the funding for wildlife management, habitat conservation and wildlife research through the purchase of licenses, tags, firearms, ammo, etc.
This isn’t only true from a historical measure.
Last year alone, nearly 2 billion dollars in revenue was generated from the sale of hunting licenses, as well as other hunting and shooting purchases.
Hunting Controls Overpopulation
Everyone knows that in order for an ecosystem to be stable, there must be a focus on population control.
While it might sound contradictory, the harvesting of deer is actually critical in maintaining a healthy deer herd balance. There have been numerous research studies done and the results couldn’t be more clear.
Overpopulation of deer results in over feeding, which leads to habitat loss, increased population of predators such as coyotes or wolves, which can have a detrimental effect on the ecosystem as a whole.
Not only does hunting actually protect the overall population of deer, but it also protects humans.
We have seen throughout history that when hunter participation is low, thus the harvest rates decline, this causes an overpopulation of deer, which causes them to wander away from their natural environments and into places such as roads and highways, causing car wrecks, and even human fatalities.
Hunting Protects Our Land
This point almost needs no explanation, especially if you happen to know a farmer.
Deer, as well as other hunted wildlife, cause a massive amount of harm to agriculture and farmland. This goes far beyond farmers losing a few dollars due to their crop yield, particularly if you look more in depth about the statistics.
When there is an overpopulation of deer that are taking a massive toll on farmland, this results in a need for the creation of new tillable ground, which is generally only able to be done through deforestation efforts.
Low crop yield also has a dramatic impact on the livestock industry as a whole, which is also crucial to our country. This is one of the reasons that farmers will generously lease out their farmland to hunters, in order to protect their businesses, which also provide consumers with the food they need.
Whether certain groups would like to admit it or not, hunting is possibly the greatest contributor to conservation efforts in the United States.
Through the use of funds, protection of our land, as well as managing wildlife populations, without hunting, our wildlife and natural resources would be threatened significantly.
If you are an ethical hunter, you are a valuable part of conservation.