The Ethics of Hunting for Sport

I just can’t understand the ethics of hunting for sport. How can one get joy out of killing one of these animals for thrill or fun? I know there are a lot of good people who do hunt but I can’t understand any rationale for why it is okay. Can someone please explain this?

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  1. As a teacher in a rural area the vast majority of my students war raised in families where hunting is a family tradition. It is difficult for anyone who has never hunted to understand why it is such a time honored past time.

    I was raised in the country and now still live in a rural community where deer, turkeys, and other game are plentiful. I do not rely upon harvesting game for my food and fiber needs. I am a hunter and sportsman because it is what I enjoy. Never do I want someone to paint me as a camp-clad, unshaven, gun-slinging guy with a beat up old pickup truck who spends countless hours in the field in pursuit of game. Rather, I am what many people might refer to as not being the “typical” hunter. Hunting is an honorable sport with a treasured past. Could I go to a local grocery store and purchase meat? Of course I could, and often do. However, the time I spend afield is above and beyond the harvest. I impress upon this around me that our image as hunters is often portrayed with negativity. We are our own worst enemies. However, most would not set eyes upon me and realize that I was headed out for the hunt. My outer clothing (camouflaged pants, jacket, orange vest, hat, backpack, firearms, and necessary components) are tastefully stored in my family vehicle and taken out only when I have entered the field. When my hunt is over, it is stored back away and I would look as though I am any other person stopping for milk in the evening at the local corner store.

    I hunt for pleasure. I hunt to sit in the majesty of nature that has evolved over the years. I observe wildly and dream without limits. I have seen nature at her worst and at her best. I have had more days afield NOT harvesting that I ever have taking an animal. I feel remorse when I harvest an animal and prepare it for the table while at the same time giving thanks for the premium quality meat that it provides for my family. I enjoy that my harvest is a carefully calculated management tool that a keeps game populations healthy. I am an ethical and responsible firearm owner who commits his time, talent, and treasures to educating future generations of outdoor enthusiasts by teaching (voluntarily and without remuneration of any kind) hunter education and safe firearm handling courses. This takes time away from my passion for the outdoors and my family, but allows me to give back that which I have taken. I raise trout from eggs in my classroom to stock into local streams for people to enjoy in the spring and summer seasons. To date I have released nearly 4,500 trout into local waters and have been fortunate enough to harvest some of them myself. I have ended my hunting season prematurely by harvesting an animal that others would not deem a “trophy” because they were injured by cars, the most non-selective of methods of killing an animal. Nothing goes to waste.

    The meat feeds my family, the organs fuel my classroom demonstrations, and the bones and body are cleaned by a beetle colony in my classroom and reassembled as we talk about anatomy. I donate my animal hides to local charities that tan them and use them for therapy for disabled veterans to make leather products. No animal dies in vain when I harvest it. Feathers from my turkeys and geese make fishing flies or are used in art classrooms. After filleting I take fish carcasses to nourish the soil in my garden. I feel that if I borrowed it from the land it is my responsibility to return it for maximum gain and good.

    I am not a fan of hunting some animals, but I also do not have the financial means to fly to Africa and take a lion, giraffe, cheetah, or plains game. I hunt local and do good deeds locally.

    That is why.

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