Kathy S. Lane
Biology 352–Wildlife Management
January 16, 2010
The Pros and Cons of Deer Hunting
Hunting, since the beginning of human civilization had been responsible for providing protein sources, as well as an important stimulus for social activities. Hunting remained to be a major food gathering activity until about 10,000 years ago when the agricultural revolution provided alternative means of obtaining food sources (Hummel, 1994, p.3). Still, harvesting deer, birds or beaver was part of the agrarian life, as much as planting crops (Dizard, 2003, p.21). Hunting, according to Dizard (2003) was one of the activities that the human body is designed to do such as “[performing] the activities of chasing, running, jumping, throwing, aiming and prey-killing in pursuit of its daily bread” (p.10). The adrenalin rush of hunting game and killing prey continued to sustain arguments for making hunting a new sport even after pressures from groups expressing concern over hunting activities because it disrupts the natural environment. Instead, Dizard (2003) see this as an opportunity to restrict hunting to an elite few in most societies. Efforts to keep the mass majority from access, sustaining prey populations, as well as the right to keep weapons for hunting were exclusively reserved for the elite few. In some European societies, owning hunting rights was a privilege (pp.10-11). When the European colonists landed in the North American continent, this provided them opportunity and access to wild game paradise. However, hunting was more of an economic necessity than for leisure. The colonists avoided applying the same European restrictions on hunting game and felt the sources for game was inexhaustible. This also presented an opportunity for those barred from hunting because of the lack of social status to engage in hunting activities. The abundant sources were declared as public domain and the prevailing idea at that time was “Take what you need and use it as you will, because there is no danger of exhausting the supplies” (Hummel, 1994, p.11). The Puritans, Calvinists and Protestants strongly influenced the North American colonists. In principle, these denominations encouraged people to express their faith through hard work. Hard work was to tame the wilderness, thus obeying a Biblical command of “[exercising] dominion over the earth and over all its living things” (pp.11-12). For them, hunting for food was work but hunting for leisure was a “sinful waste of time” (p.12). Resources were undisputedly abundant and the danger of exhausting the said resources was nil until the introduction of the railway system. This facilitated the development of the hunting market as a major economic activity. Previously, the lack of means to transport hunting stock before it spoiled limited the development of the hunting market. With the railroad system connecting even the most remote communities, it made the transport of hunting stock possible (p.12). However, with the increasing market demand for game threatened game stock, it alarmed hunting enthusiasts in the 1870s prompting prominent groups such as the Audubon Society calling for a halt in game stock trading and the practice of destructive hunting methods (p.12). It was also at this time that the notion of ethical sportsman code was introduced. Where middle and upper class members of English society did not have the opportunity to purchase land and offer hunting as a sport activity, they found new opportunities to hunt in foreign lands such as Africa, China, India and Canada, which were colonies of the British Empire (p.13). The moral crusade against indiscriminate hunting also impacted on the conduct of hunting activities in the United States. In the effort to preserve dwindling American Bison stocks, the Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872 as a game reserve (p.14). By the 20th...