What Are the Pros and Cons of Hunting?

Positive aspects of hunting include that it can control wildlife populations, is enjoyable for some people, can serve as a means of food, and encourages exercise. It also helps people gain a better understanding of the outdoors. On the other hand, it causes suffering to animals, can lead to extinction, places humans at a greater risk of injury and death, and unnecessarily destroys life.

Often cited as the most significant benefit, hunting helps manage wildlife populations. Without hunting, certain groups of animals would likely overpopulate, ultimately leading to food scarcity and starvation. The animals, most notably deer, might wander into neighborhoods and then be a threat to themselves, other animals or people. Hunting is a relatively safe and regulated way to manage this.

However, wildlife agencies have other, non-fatal, means to help regulate where animals migrate, including deterrents, repellents, and carefully placed fencing that prevents animals from seeking easy food sources. When food is scarce, deer avoid breeding, resulting in lower populations naturally. While starvation is tragic, it does ensure the well-being of the most healthy, strong animals to continue a herd. Hunters throw off the normal cycle of life by targeting the largest, strongest animals in a herd and leaving the sickest animals to live.

The foundation of hunting is that it gives a new purpose to animals, as the animal is used for its flesh, fur and skin to eat, wear and comfort. Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation asserts that thousands of human injuries come as a result of hunting every year. Hunters accidentally hurt one another, animals hurt humans when they feel threatened, and the dogs used to assist with hunts are often left untended.