For centuries, man has been hunting wild animals. It started off as a means to survive; our ancestors needed food, so this was the only way to get it. Since then, we’ve evolved and hunting has no longer become an essential skill required to survive. And yet, people still hunt for entertainment.
Many people see game shooting as a fun hobby – something to do with friends, a sport you can make a day out of. At the same time, there are all sorts of ethical and moral issues surrounding this hobby. It leads to the question: can hunting ever be truly ethical?
To answer this, you have to look at two other questions:
Why are you hunting?
What is the purpose of your hunt? It’s a hobby, yes, but why are you doing it? Is this something you’re just doing for fun, or are you looking for trophies? This is where things drift to the side of unethical. You’ve got your gun, a red dot sight, and you’re basically just hunting for the sake of killing something.
It can easily be argued that this is immoral and unethical. There is no reason to hunt for this reason because it is completely selfish. You’re doing it just for the thrill or to feel big and important.
On the other hand, you could argue that a hunt is more ethical if you do it for different reasons. As an example, you hunt for food. Is this not more ethical than farming? You’re letting animals roam in their natural habitat before stalking them as any predator would. It’s hard to argue that keeping animals in enclosed settings and dictating what they eat before eventually slaughtering them is more ethical than this. If you live off-grid or you don’t want to buy into the meat trade, you can make the argument for hunting is a very ethical practice.
What are you stalking?
Alongside the first question, ask yourself what you are hunting.
Certain animals – like endangered species – should never be hunted, even for food. If you ever try to hunt something because it’s exotic or unique, then that’s wildly unethical. The only way you can really say hunting is ethical is when you target animals that are okay to hunt. We’re talking about ones that have a large population and the population never dwindles – like game birds, rabbits, etc.
This way, your hunt won’t have a negative effect on the surrounding area. The ecosystem remains intact – but it’s up to you to ensure this is the case.
In conclusion, you can make arguments for an ethical hunt being genuinely possible. If you hunt for food and only hunt animals that aren’t endangered, it’s hard to say this is unethical. Sure, people will still argue against it, but it’s no different from having a farm. In fact, for people living off-grid, shooting becomes a key way of life to remain self-sustainable. It’s not for everyone, but if you are thinking about hunting as a hobby, ensure you know how to do it ethically.