Predator Hunting is Necessary

Predator Hunting is Necessary

They need us whether they realize it or not. Who are “they?” They are everyone from the general population to wildlife managers. Predator hunters have an important role in wildlife management, and it is something about which we can and should be proud.

Suburban soccer moms don’t like it a bit when Wile E. Coyote kills their pet dogs and cats, nor do farmers and ranchers like it when feral pigs tear up the countryside and destroy fencing as they maraud across the land. Most folks in society are removed enough from the wilds that they neither understand nor appreciate where hunting in general and predator hunting in particular fit into the bigger picture.

As predator hunters, we are not merely voyeurs who go out and ogle wildlife and nature. We are an active and integral part of it. Hunting is a necessary part of wildlife management. In fact, it is crucial in the sustainable use conservation of countless species around the world. The funds generated by hunters and hunting in many parts of the world are the only difference between having thriving wildlife populations or no wildlife at all. This is because when wildlife has no perceived value in and of itself, it suffers from things as disparate as human development and other land uses such as intense farming.

That’s a noble outcome of hunting when it comes to species that are in danger. For example, hunting and the funds it has provided has even been responsible for the return of viable populations of species here in the United States — wild turkeys and pronghorns to name just two. These conservation successes have happened because of regulated hunting that has provided the funds necessary for game agencies to conduct the programs necessary to assure a bright future for wildlife.

Part of that kind of effort involves the setting of both hunting seasons and quotas/bag limits to assure that the numbers of animals either increases or, at worst, maintains acceptable levels. That’s what’s known as sustainable use wildlife conservation. But there are some species that are considered invasive, such as feral pigs, or those that adapt well enough that there is no need for seasons or quotas in many places, such as coyotes.

It is humorous when folks talk about the “balance of nature.” Nature actually is a study of imbalance. And since various species exist in the same places at the same time, wildlife managers must do what they can to assure that one doesn’t cause declines in others. For them, it is a balancing act. Historically, the answer to that challenge by wildlife managers and property owners was the use of poison to cut down the overpopulation of some species. Poison is a very effective tool, but it also is indiscriminate and can kill unintended species. Hence, it is not used as widely as it once was.

More and more wildlife agencies are battling budget challenges, due to everything from overall inflation to the whims of political decisions that are made to get votes rather than to help wildlife. So, what are they to do? Where applicable, they can and do establish that there are no seasons or bag limits for specific species. Think wild pigs, coyotes and even Eurasian doves.

Here is where predator hunters come into the picture because we are out there, thinning the overpopulated numbers as a result of what we do. We are not the only answer, but we are a necessary part of the overall answer and for that we should be commended. When we hunt those kinds of predators, we are performing a public service.

Historically, some states used to hire professional shooters to cull problem animals. They did this because they wanted to control specific groups of animals and it was very expensive — money that many of these agencies no longer have. And in some instances, government agencies find themselves having to waste precious wildlife management money on frivolous lawsuits filed by anti-hunters. Or they find themselves being responsible for overall management that has been confounded as a result of ballot box interference where political decisions by the uninformed public further the whims of the antis while simultaneously making it difficult, if not impossible, for there to be meaningful wildlife management.

We’re talking about critters such as wolves and grizzly bears here, among other species. Wildlife management needs to be done scientifically and not politically. However, when the science doesn’t fit their perverted view of nature, the antis waste no time going to court or to the ballot box to force their will on everyone else.

So, to the extent that predator hunters help keep the populations of species such as wild pigs and coyotes in check, we are truly the good guys because we help solve a social problem while pursuing our passions. In fact, I insist that being a hunter in general and predator hunter in particular goes DNA deep. Heck, if the playing field was level, we would be eligible for protections just like some other demographic groups in society. But don’t hold your breath thinking that the political structure is about to do that.

 However, every overpopulated predator that we take is one that wildlife managers will not have to worry about. We pay for licenses and provide money via the Pittman-Robertson program when we buy guns, ammo and that sort of thing that helps fund wildlife agencies. And then on top of that, we spend the time and money it takes to hunt and bag predators — especially those that otherwise would overpopulate and have adverse effects on other plant and animal species.

From a state funding perspective, there can be no better solution since we pay to do exactly what they would have to pay to have done if we weren’t doing it. It’s a win/win situation. But more than that, by being a part of nature rather than outsiders looking in, we represent a necessary link in the chain that ties everything around us together. “They” need us whether they realize it or not.



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