First of all, a misconception, by definition, is a false or mistaken view, opinion, or attitude1. Equally important, misconceptions exist across a wide variety of topics, from whether or not coffee is made from a bean to the true meaning of the word sushi, and even whether or not sugar makes children hyper2. Dr. Marianne Betkowski of the University of Northern Florida concluded how these misconceptions begin. Especially relevant, it is from personal experience, lack of example, or media representation, just to name a few3. Hunting is one of the most controversial topics that exists, mostly due to the misconceptions surrounding it. Typically, common hunting misconceptions include hunting is harmful to the environment, hunting puts the animal population at a higher risk of extinction, and hunting is a form of animal cruelty.
Is Hunting Harmful to the Environment?
No. In fact, it is quite the opposite. First, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Agency, the sales of various hunting licenses, tags, and stamps are the primary source of funding for wildlife management programs, as well as hunter education and safety classes4. Consequently, hunting creates $796 Million annually for conservation efforts. Furthermore, add the 11% tax included on the purchase of every gun, bow, or ammunition sale and that number increases to nearly $9 Billion5, annually.
Are Hunted Animals at a Higher Risk of Extinction?
No. Actually, the number of tags issued and limitations on harvests per year, per hunter, are adjusted each year6. In reality, these adjustments are made according to collected data, such as current population, the amount the environment can sustain, and previous year’s harvest numbers. For instance, the benefits of such adjustments can be seen in the population increases of the Elk. Once considered to be on the verge of extinction, the Elk population in Montana now hits over population objectives in 80 of the state’s 138 wildlife management units7.
Is Hunting Animal Cruelty?
No. Unnecessary animal suffering during the harvest is the misconception here8. In fact, each and every hunter can aid in dispelling this myth by following the three p’s (patience, persistence, and placement).
Dispelling the Misconception
Like most things in life, people are going to question what they don’t understand. The facts are, hunting dollars aid in conservation programs, successful harvests assist in population control, and proper shot placement eliminates animal suffering. Now, do your part; get out there and hunt.