Hunting: The Debate of Ethicality, Morality, and Science
By Noah Brawley
A Times Outdoors Op/Ed You have probably heard many of the arguments proposed against hunting, or at least arguments against certain aspects of hunting, but I am going to list and explain some that are, in my opinion, the most shocking and persuasive to non-hunters.
• Trophy hunting: the idea that hunters are killing for nothing more than a trophy to hang on the wall. Almost as a serial killer would keep a memento from each victim to relive the moment of death whenever looking at it.
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of people do not hunt for, as antihunters would say, “trophies.” There is an inherent joy in overcoming anything difficult, and my fellow hunters will understand this when I say, hunting, no matter what species, is a difficult pursuit. The sometimes grueling time and work spent scouting and hanging stands to kill a deer is where the true joy originates. It is the idea that working hard for something makes it that much better when you achieve that goal. To have the antlers of a deer, or a duck hanging on the wall is not a psychopath’s memento, but a reminder of the hard work, time, and cumulative skill that it took to reach that goal.
• Psychopathy: The notion that people who are willing to harm animals have a lower threshold to harm other humans when compared to the average person.
The scientific studies that have been presented as references (that I have seen) show a link between children who have harmed animals, and later violent crimes against other people. This may sound like rock solid evidence to show that hunting creates psychopaths, however this study was not done on children who were exposed to ethical hunting practices, but on prison inmates who had already committed a violent crime. Not only that, but an overwhelming majority of the animals that the study participants admitted to abusing were a pet or other type of domesticated animal. This notion that hunters are bloodthirsty psychopaths is so absurd that it is almost comical. This study being used as an arguing point against hunting is a distortion of scientific research and really does an injustice to the scientists who published it.
• People have no right to interfere with the natural process: The basic idea behind this is that we as human beings have no right to insert ourselves into the process of natural selection. This, in my opinion, is one of the biggest issues that I see concerning people in general, not just anti or pro hunters. We as humans have a problem with the way we perceive ourselves. We see how we are able to manipulate our environment for better or for worse, and sometimes forget that we are ourselves biological organisms who live on the planet, within the same parameters as all other life. Essentially, anything we as humans do is part of the natural process, but is also subjected to the scrutiny of the laws which govern the natural sciences.
Many believe that wildlife management is dictated by a philosophy which manages game species for the benefit of the hunter. This is not true. Wildlife management utilizes hunters to keep a healthy balance within the ecosystem, making our woods a more habitable place for game species and non-game species alike. The Arkansas Game and Fish does an excellent job at managing our wildlife and fisheries, giving us countless opportunities to explore and utilize the outdoors.
Noah Brawley is an accomplished hunter ana fishermen. His favorite fishing is for bass, but he is proficient at catching ah species offish. Noah lives at Horseshoe Lake ana knows where the big fish live. He recently graduate a from Lyons University where he had a scholarship on the trap shooting team.