The Benefits of Hunting for Wildlife
Wildlife populations are regulated via hunting.
Hunting is a crucial technique for managing animals. It maintains a healthy equilibrium in nature that the ecosystem can support (carrying capacity). Hunting also aids in keeping populations of many wildlife species at levels that are appropriate for land use and human activity.
(For Africa Bow Hunting, Burchell-Wolf Safaris)
How Hunting Benefits the Environment
Hunting is one of the most popular sports in the US and a major benefit of it is protecting plant species. Smaller herbaceous species are threatened by deer, which are both economically and ecologically important. In the forest, hunters protect these plants by removing deer from them. Controlling herbivores is important for the preservation of our natural environment, but a well-balanced population of plants cannot be maintained without hunting.
Overpopulation of Deer
There are several ways to protect the environment, including regulating the amount of deer harvested. Overpopulation of deer is a problem because it increases the risk of car accidents. These animals can cross highways and residential yards, and these interactions can lead to injury or even death. Deer populations are controlled through regulated harvesting, which helps ensure there’s enough food for animals on the range. Balanced harvesting helps deer grow their antlers and bodies at a rate that is sustainable for their genetic potential.
While this problem is important, addressing deer population issues will require engaging society. It is difficult to change a society that has deeply rooted values on how deer should be managed. In places such as Hawaii and California, the eradication of wild pigs was difficult to accomplish. People have strongly held views about the way deer should be managed. Change won’t come quickly, but it’s essential.
Increased Number of Predators
Large predators help maintain native plant communities and reduce stream bank erosion. In addition, they help maintain the health of local wildlife. Hunting is important to the environment, but its impacts are limited and do not compare with the benefits provided by large carnivores. As such, hunters must comply with strict regulations and should only practice hunting for sport or to control the population of a specific species. In fact, a new study published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research found that human-hunting does not significantly reduce the number of big carnivores that live in the wild.
Predators help the environment by helping prey species survive by reducing the risk of becoming prey. This process occurs over multiple generations and helps the environment by improving the genetic diversity of prey species. When the number of predators increases, the amount of prey that survives is higher, thereby improving the quality of the environment. However, in some areas, predators may outnumber their prey, resulting in a greater number of prey species.
Retention of Biomass
Retention of biomass from hunting has both economic and aesthetic value. Retaining harvested trees prevents soil rutting, which affects aesthetics and recreational use. In Fennoscandia, for example, biomass harvesting intensity was positively correlated with visual quality. Whole-tree thinning improved stand openness. Stumping had negative effects on visual quality immediately after extraction, but these impacts declined as vegetation increased. Almost all guidelines recommend leaving some biomass on the site.
These guidelines vary in strength and the amount of biomass to retain. In Finland and Norway, it is illegal to cut dead trees and leave them lying in the forest. Retaining these trees, as well as the other parts of the forest, can help the environment. However, this does not guarantee that the harvested trees are not healthy or have a high level of C content.
Preventing spread of Disease
When you’re hunting, you run the risk of contracting a disease if you get bitten by a tick. Ticks transmit diseases to people through skin contact with their internal fluids. Some of these diseases are fatal, and their symptoms are vague and difficult to diagnose. Because hunters spend so much time in tick-infested environments, they are particularly susceptible to them. The best way to prevent the spread of these diseases is to avoid contact with ticks.
One of the most common diseases in zoonotic animals is avian influenza. While there are numerous strains of avian influenza, H5N1 has received the most attention due to its high pathogenicity. H5N1 is also highly contagious and can infect humans who come into contact with an infected bird. While the H5N1 strain has not yet been identified in wild birds in North America, hunters should still take precautions to minimize the risk of contracting the disease from the game.