Ethics Of Hunting Essay, Research Paper
Philosophy of Sports
Hunting, as defined by Webster?s Dictionary, is the act of one that hunts, specifically in the pursuit of game. The major controversy about hunting is if it is ethical. Hunting ethics is a term that defines the true standards, conduct, and moral, judgement of a sportsman. I believe that hunting is ethical and should continue to be legal throughout the United States. As long as the hunters hunt legally, safely, and their intentions are good. Hunters should hunt during the right season and should kill and gather their game, not just shoot for fun. This is where the ethics of hunting come into play. What are the basic ethics of hunting? Each hunter has his own code of ethics he follows. In this paper I will try to explain the basic ethics of hunting that hunters follow, why we hunt, how hunting helps the economy, and why hunting is more dangerous for the anti-hunters than for the actual hunter.
Jim Posewitz defines the ethical hunter, in his book Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, as ?a person who knows and respects the animal hunted, follows the law, and behaves in a way that will satisfy what society expects of him or her as a hunter (Posewitz 53).? Every hunter develops a set of ethics that he or she hunts by. These are a set of rules in which he or she thinks that they should act in order to hunt fairly. Most hunters learn hunting ethics from watching other hunters or from their parents when they are introduced to hunting as children. That is if one hunter believes it is ethical to hunt using bait, then they are hunting their own ethical way. They are doing nothing illegal but some other hunters look upon this as unethical. They stick by the claim that anyone who baits is not a ?true hunter.? The problem with hunting comes when we try and push our ethics off on other hunters. Every hunter?s code if ethics is different. However, we each share the same basics. This is we want to hunt legally, safely, and we want to wait for the most human shot possible. Most hunters had a code of ethics drilled into them when they were young and now stick close by them. They are not going to hunt in a manner they find unethical. Hunters should practice personal ethics as a way of showing respect for his fellow sportsman and the animal. One of the most ethically irresponsible things a hunter can do is not follow up his shot. You must always do everything possible to retrieve a wounded animal, including spending the whole day looking for it. Hunting for sport is an improvement over hunting for food, in that there has been added to the test of skill an ethical code. Which the hunter formulates his or herself and must live up to without the moral support of bystanders. Ethics come from within and spring from respect. To know nature is to respect it and from this comes ethics.
Hunting is an undeniable part of our history and still plays a major role in the lives of many Americans. Back during the times of early colonization, people hunted because the animals were a good source of food, clothing, and barter to trade. The pioneers probably did not have any questions about ethics or sportsmanship while hunting. They harvested their game in the cheapest and most efficient way possible. I have little doubt that most of these early settlers enjoyed the hunt, but enjoyment wasn?t why they hunted. They did it to survive. However, since we are more efficient that our ancestor and since we?re more numerous as well, we must impose limitations on ourselves so we don?t take more animals that we can use and damage the wildlife populations by doing so. The hunting instinct is bred into the bone and blood of at least most of us and is one of the fundamental elements of human nature. Hunting can be labeled ?dominionistic? because hunting demonstrated their control over animals (?What?s the problem with hunting?? 26). Hunting offers one way to express this element of human nature and to experience first hand the role of predator in the food chain. Another reason we hunt is it provides a significant amount of food, often for families that could not afford to purchase the most common forms of commercial meats. The act of hunting preserves an experience that was central to our culture and indeed all-human culture, at one time.
How many sports bring in over a billion dollars each year? A lot of sports bring in excess of a billion dollars, but none get as much controversy as hunting. Hunters provide funds for wildlife management programs and support a significant sector of the economy with their purchases of equipment and services. Hunters contribute $3 million per day to wildlife conservation programs nationally, for an annual total in excess of $1.5 billion. Conservation funds come directly from license revenues, excise taxes on sporting equipment, and financial support from hunting advocacy groups. Also, hunters contribute $14 billion annually to the U.S. economy and support over 300,000 jobs. Yet with all these contributions, hunting still gives some a bad taste in their mouth. Without these contributions there is no way the government could protect endangered wildlife. Hunters are controlling the over populated woods and at the same time protecting the game that is on the verge of extinction.
Most arguments against hunting come from non-hunters who cite safety as being their leading cause of ending legalized hunting. However, the number of accidents remains small in proportion to the number of safely conducted hunts. Very few times do you ever hear about hunting accidents, this is because not many accidents ever occur. However, when one does happen the media hypes it up to make it sound as bas as possible. Other objections include hunting based on the treatment of animals, waste of meat, and the unnecessary killing of one type of game. Law can regulate specific practices, but hunter conduct is hard to regulate during or after a hunt. This is where the hunters? ethics come into play. People need to be taught basic, proper hunting ethics to insure hunting will be done ethically.
A major concern for hunters nowadays does not involve ethical hunting but it comes directly from anti-hunting organizations. Groups of anti-hunters will protests in fields by placing themselves between hunters and their game or use noise to drive the game away from hunters (www.outdoorsite.com). These demonstrations have led to hostile confrontations and drawn media attention. Most states have passed hunter harassment laws that make it a crime to prevent a legal hunt. Besides passing the hunter harassment law, the government has placed other restrictions on trying to keep hunting ethical. They have hired game wardens to make sure hunters enforce the basic hunting ethics and they also have hunting seasons. Emotional feelings for the animals are the only reason anti-hunters will not give up their cause. They need to understand that dying from a gunshot wound or an arrow is better than starving for weeks. Even though the animal does suffer when it is shot, it?s only for a few hours, maybe. However, being maimed by another animal or starving can last up to weeks.
We all have our ideas and beliefs on how everyone should hunt. And ideally, everyone would hunt like us. But this is not going to happen, so as long as hunters are hunting legally, I say leave him alone. In reality, if we wanted to be a ?true hunter,? we would have to take to the woods just like our ancestors the caveman. Wearing buckskins while hunting with a stick bow and arrowheads. The only way hunters can respond to the debate by anti-hunters is by improving the hunt and not engaging in violent confrontations. Ultimately, public opinion will decide whether hunting, as we know it, will continue. If you are able to win over the crowd, you will be able to win your freedom.
2.) Posewitz, Jim. Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. Falcon Press, 1994
3.) ?What?s the Problem with Hunting?? Orion: People and Nature. No. 15.1. Winter 1996
Garrett, Ben. ?The Thin Ethical