Hunting is not conservation. Protecting wildlife and their habitat is.
The Truth about Conservation
The hunting community and special interests associated with it, such as the gun lobby, state and federal wildlife agencies and the trophy hunting industry promote the notion that killing animals for sport is an essential part of wildlife management. It’s vital to population control and to protect ranching interests and the public, they contend. But this isn’t true.
The reality is that wildlife management officials in the United States cater to hunters because their salaries are paid by hunting and trapping license fees. In addition, the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, provides revenues from excise taxes on the sale of guns and ammunition to wildlife agencies.
And U.S. trophy hunters claim that without their money, African governments would have no money for conservation. But the newest data reveals that trophy hunting is economically useless and that legalized hunting fuels illegal poaching. Hunting removes the stigma associated with killing wildlife, and provides means for poachers to smuggle animals and their parts into the market.
At Friends of Animals we believe that free-living animals all over the world deserve protection and have rights—the most important being the right not to be managed and to flourish in their own way. Far from conservation, hunting, we believe, is a crime against nature.
Hunting advocates contend that they help keep species from becoming overpopulated. But they neglect to mention natural mortality, such as starvation, illness, accidents and predators. Available food and habitat control all bird and animal populations.
From a human perspective, these various forms of mortality may seem cruel. In actuality, they are the most important means of maintaining a species population.
Some people say that birth control is needed to control populations of species such as deer and wild horses. From an animal-rights perspective, controlling free-living animals through birth control is inappropriate. Several studies demonstrate that fertility control treatments in the wild horse population cause irreversible sterility in mares as well as out of season births, band instability and general decline in immune function.
Fear the Hunter, Not the Hunted
While the hunting and gun lobby insist that killing animals helps keeps humans safe, what they don’t tell you is the number of humans killed or injured in hunting accidents. Hunting is not without risk.
Since 2010, there have been 8,500 shooting incidents across the country handled by U.S. Forest Service officers and dozens of humans have been shot to death in hunting accidents. In six major hunting states alone – Wisconsin, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut, more than 60 people were killed in hunting accidents between 2011-2016 and almost 500 were injured.
First, a few facts. Deer do not cause deforestation. Deer eat only plants within about two yards from the ground. The major cause of deforestation is the human population, particularly agribusiness.
Deer also do not transmit Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged tick that carry the disease on smaller host animals than deer. Additionally, killing deer will also not help reduce car accidents. In fact, shooting deer exacerbates the movement of deer during the mating season. When hunts are in process, data reported by car insurance companies show that the number of car accidents increase as deer are chased out of the woods onto roads.
There are steps you can take to avoid car accidents involving deer.
· Request that your community obtain reflector lights to alert deer to traffic
· Keep speed limits down
· Install fencing
· Keep extra vigilant when driving at dawn and dusk during autumn and winter months.
· Use high beams if there is no oncoming traffic
· If you spot deer near the road, be alert that not only that deer but others may be trying to cross the road. Blink your lights at oncoming traffic to warns other drivers and honk your horn to warn the deer away
Stoked by exaggerated bear sightings, wildlife managers and hunters in bear territory will push their states for hunts to cull the population. But in actuality, there is a weak correlation between the population of black bears and black bear attacks, according to a study in The Journal of Wildlife Management. Black bears are actually shy and bear-human conflicts are more closely correlated with human behavior. To minimize negative encounters, residents who live near bear habitats should:
· Bring in bird feeders from March through November
· Utilize bear-resistant garbage cans
· Never feed bears
· Clean outdoor grills
· Use secure screens and don’t leave doors open
· Carry bear bells while hiking as well as bear spray
In pioneer days, coyotes roamed the sagebrush lands, mountains and open prairies of the American West. But today they have expanded into urban and suburban communities. But killing them is not a solution. Coyotes are transient and play a vital role in our ecosystem as predators. Removing one means new coyotes are likely to replace the previous ones. However, there are peaceable ways to coexist with this important species.
· Never feed coyotes
· Steer clear of coyote pups as their parents will become protective and aggressive
· Secure all garbage cans and lids with ropes, chains, cords or weights
· Install motion sensitive lighting
· Keep fruit trees and compost piles fenced in
· Feed your pets indoors and never leave their food outside
· Secure bird feeders and keep them clear of food overflows to prevent rodents that coyotes prey on from coming near them.
· Clear out weedy and shrubby areas
· Keep cats and dogs indoors between dusk and dawn when coyotes hunt
· Build a coyote-proof fence, which is a five-foot woven-wire fence with extenders facing outward at the top of each post that is at least eight inches in the ground.
Waterfowl can often be the target of complaints from humans concerned about their population, sustaining vegetation, or cleaning up after them. But as with other wildlife, there are steps humans can take to live in harmony with swans, ducks and geese. First, humans should understand the conduct of nesting birds rather than target birds for activity that comes naturally to them. Here are a few tips:
· Steer clear of nests, never touching eggs
· Don’t feed waterfowl
· Encourage communities to use goose excrement removal machines
· Limit Canada goose grazing to special tolerance areas containing “lure” crops such as shortly mowed grass.
· Install tall trees, wildflowers or shrubs to help deter geese from walking on lawns.
· Avoid lawns made of Kentucky bluegrass