The Truth About Hunting
By Anthony P Mauro, Sr (c) 2011
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- I am a hunter.
There, I have put it in writing for all posterity. To use a popular idiom, I have come out of the closet.
Even in this day, a time when the public prides itself on being open minded, there are those with prejudice against hunters. I twist another common word to symbolize such bias: huntophobia. Huntophobia is an intense disgust of people that hunt and is manifest in the loathing of the hunting culture.
Aside from huntophobia, the second leading cause of prejudice against hunters is ignorance, particularly in the media and the radical element of the environmental and animal rights movements. It is well documented that societies are filled with those naturally afraid of the unknown and the misunderstood. Their fears have proven to be one of the most common causes of huntophobia. This is especially true about society's attitudes towards huntsmen and huntswomen. However, hunters perform an important environmental service to society on many levels.
To become fully aware of these environmental merits it is first necessary to understand that the omnipotent force that has sustained life on earth since the dawning of time, and the designer and steward of ecosystems that maintains all earthly organisms, is Mother Nature. This grand lady has created and executed a formula that has successfully perpetuated the existence of life on our planet for four billion years. It would seem that humankind would be wise to study her formula and employ it to the best of its ability if it wants to be harmonious with the ways of nature and ecosystem health.
The way that Mother Nature sustains life on earth, and balances populations of living things with available habitat, is by means of predator and prey relationships. It is the never ending pursuit of the hunter hunting and catching the hunted (predator and prey) that is the essence of Mother Nature’s formula that provides the ebb and flow for balance in the world’s ecosystems.
We may ask ourselves why it is that nearly every living thing on our planet survives by consuming another living thing, from stealthy micro fauna to the most ungainly beast. The simple answer is that from the time of birth until the moment of death living things must consume energy in order to sustain their lives and the source of energy is found in other living things.
The huntophobe is often lulled by modern conveniences into to believing he or she does not participate in this formula. But, the huntophobe works to earn money in lieu of hunting and trades their hard earned currency with the food purveyor who in return performs the butchery.
Butchery has become an industrialized process with the food market as the end distribution point. The fact that the dirty work is often hidden from view conveniently anesthetizes the mind of the huntophobe from understanding that their own role in bloodshed is equal to that of the hunter. Additionally, the huntophobe imposes environmental damage that the hunter does not lay claim to.
The industrialization of food distribution has its origins in the farming of domesticated livestock and agriculture. In order to create farms forests are razed and in the process habitats are destroyed and wildlife is displaced or killed. Non-indigenous grasses are planted to feed animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, sheep and more. These animals may even pollute our air with methane gasses or cause further collateral environmental damage. The livestock is then slaughtered and distributed along highways and flyways in pollution-generating vehicles with final destinations being food markets. These businesses have also razed forests for their buildings and paved surfaces.
The huntsman or huntswoman leaves no such scarring on the landscape. They enter the fields and forests and leave it as it was found, perhaps with a deer or other wild animal that is the quarry that will feed their families. The hunter does not support or perpetuate the industrial engine we call food manufacturing and distribution. This seems to me to be a good thing for our environment and society.
There are additional benefits to society that comes from the practicing hunter. One of these advantages is that hunters consume a prey that is not fed with adulterated products or treated with drugs that have been shown to compromise human health over the long term. Hunting does not add to the growing list of ailments caused by processed foods, which swells the cost of providing health care and burdens an already overstressed health care delivery system.
Yes, hunters perform important environmental services to society. The benefits include culling overabundant game populations in a way that follows Mother Nature’s predator/prey formula for ecosystem balance while at the same time obtaining healthy, lean game meat as a way to obtain the energy that all things need to survive.
Yes, I’m a hunter. I’m also at ease at being out of the closet.
Anthony P. Mauro, Sr, (also known as “Ant” to friends and associates) is Chairman and co-founder of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance.
In addition to NJOA, Ant's commitment to the principles of sustainable use of natural resources and stewardship for the environment helped to found the New Jersey Angling & Hunting Conservation Caucus. The NJAHC is the first outdoor caucus of its kind in New Jersey and is designed to educate opinion leaders and policy makers of the principles of conservation and the benefits that confer to the state's wildlife and ecology.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Ant is an international big game hunter and avid conservationist. He has authored two books on conservation and hunting, including “Color The Green Movement Blue“.