"Sport" hunting is a violent form of recreation that has left countless animals maimed, and orphaned animals vulnerable to starvation, exposure, and predation. This activity disrupts natural animal population dynamics and has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger and the great auk.(1,2) Although less than 5 percent of the U.S. population hunts, hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, and state parks and on other public lands3 where almost half of all hunters slaughter and maim millions of animals every year (by some estimates, poachers kill just as many animals illegally).(4,5) The vast majority of hunters do not kill for subsistence.(6) Municipalities and other entities often resort to hunting in an attempt to reduce urban animal populations, but lethal methods never work in the long run and often backfire. When animals are killed or removed, a spike in the food supply results.(7) This causes survivors and newcomers to breed at an accelerated rate—and populations actually increase.(8) The result is a pointless, never-ending, and expensive killing cycle. Pain and Suffering
Many animals suffer prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured by hunters. Bowhunters often spend hours tracking the blood trails of animals before finding them. Many are never found by hunters.(9) Our office routinely receives reports from upset residents who spot animals wandering around with gunshot wounds or protruding arrows. In cases in which euthanasia is not feasible, weeks can elapse before victims succumb to their injuries. It is also not uncommon for us to hear of wounded animals running wildly onto highways, posing grave risks to commuters. An estimated 20 percent of foxes who have been wounded by hunters must be shot again to be killed. Ten percent manage to escape, but "starvation is a likely fate" for them, according to one veterinarian.(10) A South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks biologist estimates that more than 3 million wounded ducks go "unretrieved" every year.(11) A British study of deer hunting found that 11 percent of deer who'd been killed by hunters died only after being shot two or more times and that some wounded deer suffered for more than 15 minutes before dying.(12) A member of the Maine Bowhunters Alliance estimates that 50 percent of animals who are shot with crossbows are wounded but not killed.(13) A study of 80 radio-collared white-tailed deer found that of the 22 deer who had been shot with "traditional archery equipment," 11 were wounded but not recovered by hunters.(14) Hunting disrupts migration and hibernation patterns and destroys families. For animals such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. The stress from which hunted animals suffer can severely compromise their normal eating habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need in order to survive the winter. Stress can also cause animals to bound onto roadways, abandon their young, or become weak and succumb to parasites and disease. Blood-Thirsty and Profit-Driven
To attract more hunters (and their money), federal and state agencies implement programs—often called "wildlife management" or "conservation" programs—that are designed to boost the numbers of "game" species (since killing individuals will prompt surviving animals to breed at an accelerated rate, resulting in more animals in the long run). These programs help to ensure that there are plenty of animals for hunters to kill and, consequently, plenty of revenue from the sale of hunting licenses. Duck hunters in Louisiana persuaded the state wildlife agency to direct $100,000 a year toward "reduced predator impact," which involved trapping foxes and raccoons so that more duck eggs would hatch, giving hunters more birds to kill.(15) The Ohio Division of Wildlife teamed up with a hunter-organized society to push...
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