Hunting for the Truth
Since the dawn of mankind, hunters have been around. Evidence shows that even primitive Neanderthal, man’s ancient ancestors, would track down and kill wild prey for food, clothing, tools and much more. In American culture hunting has always been a way of life. The Indians and America’s forefathers hunted to survive. Now in the twenty-first century it is not viewed as a way of life, but as a thirst for blood. Is it necessary, or as stated before, a thirst for blood? What most people do not know is that without it, the ever increasing population of deer and other animals could be environmentally devastating. Hunting is beneficial to sustaining animal populations and controlling the problems that overpopulation creates. Is hunting really necessary to control wildlife populations? That is one of the many questions asked by environmentalists and animal rights activists all over the world. In an article in The Sciences, author Wendy Marston talks about the decrease in hunters across the nation. She found that only six percent of Americans hunt today, down four percent from a decade ago. She says, "From an environmental point of view, unfortunately that change has done more harm than good” (Marston 12). Animal overpopulation in some areas is destroying nature. In many areas of overpopulation, food is becoming scarce and animals have started to eat endangered plants and other vegetation that they would normally not. Animals also cause many problems along the nation's freeways and for many farmers. In an article in the U.S. News and World Report, author Stephen Budiansky tells of a similar situation in Wisconsin. He says, "Rare orchids and the hardwood and hemlock forests have failed to reproduce for fifty years” (Budiansky 85). He tells about botanist, William Alverson of the University of Wisconsin who has studied old growth forests in Wisconsin for many years. In his studies, Alverson found that many of the trees failed to reproduce. When asked what was causing the problem he stated, "The deer simply eat up all the seedlings that emerge. The changes due to deer are so slow that it's not obvious to someone driving by in a car, but at the regional level, hemlock forests are becoming rarer and rarer” (Budiansky 85). An example of what hunting can do for this type of situation is shown by looking at the Menominee Indian reservation in northern Wisconsin. It boasts of an extensive hunting program. They allow hunting in and out of season which has held the deer population to about eight deer per square mile, compared to twenty per square mile in other forests and as much as 200 in some suburbs (Budiansky 85). Budiansky also talks about the cornfields in Gettysburg National Military Park where they have tried to re-grow the cornfields. The problem is that the cornfields never make it past six inches tall (Budiansky 85). The deer have become so numerous in that area, that as soon as the newly grown corn starts to appear out of the ground, hundreds of deer are in the field enjoying a meal. Michael Tennessen, a writer for National Parks, tells about the increasing number of elk in several of these national parks. Elk used to be spread throughout North America. When the European explorers came to North America they slaughtered the elk for food, leather, and sport. The elk were wiped out in the area of Rocky National Park. Tennessen tells how the elk populations have grown to what they are today. In 1913, twenty eight elk were transported there from Yellowstone National Park. Now in Rocky Mountain National Park, the elk herd has grown from about 1,000 in the sixties to nearly 3,200 today. In Yellowstone National Park the elk herd has grown to nearly 30,000 elk (Tennessen 24). In his article, Tennessen explains the cause of the dramatic increase in elk populations. In 1963, biologist A. Starker Leopold, recommended that park wildlife be controlled by natural forces. Now one of the biggest issues is whether elk...
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