A mature oak can produce twenty-nine thousand acorns a year. Each has the chance to sustain our people, heal the world some, and spread where it can.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Environmentalists Need to Hunt

After reading Sean's great piece about reasons for eating meat, it occurred to me that in many places, hunting isn't just an environmentally sound way to get meat, it's a social and environmental responsibility.

In many places certain species are so over-populated that they are an environmental blight themselves. In some parts of Connecticut, for example, I've heard that there are around 65 white tail deer per square mile. That's immense. Without moderate predation, species like deer can explode in population, and an animal as large as deer can defoliate quite a bit of brush and forest. The massive population, when faced with the effects of the defoliation, tends to develop diseases and experience mass starvation. The only responsible thing to do is respectful and conscious hunting of deer.

There are also the considerations of feeding hungry mouths. Not only does wild meat prove to be a highly nutritious way to feed people of all socio-economic backgrounds, and one that can be procured with minimal cost (as most rural poor have known for a long time), but eating from one's landbase means less dependence on and contribution to multinational corporations. It means less demand for monocropping, and more resources being preserved for those living in the Third World.

Now, this doesn't address the root cause of the overpopulation, at least not entirely. I wouldn't claim that it does. Issues of natural balance and environmental degradation also need to be addressed. But it still needs to be done to preserve the forests now, just as much as wild and feral polycrops need to be cultivated. Indeed, one can simply see this hunting as an extension of polycrops.

It would probably be more accurate to say that environmentalists need to be involved in hunting somehow. We can be involved in other ways than killing, encouraging respectful hunting culture in our communities. We don't all need to actually hunt, but can help in the preparation, butchering, etc.

The same goes for fishing. How about those invasive carp everyone is worried will make it to the Great Lakes? I hear they're not very good eating, but when the health of your entire ecosystem depends on killing them, kill them you will (I hope). I'd say we also need to catch as many rainbow trout as possible to help the brook trout, but the damned DEM people keep putting more in (idiots).

As always, observation and keeping of balance is what is needed, not dogmatic consumer lifestylism or purist moralities. Listen to what your landbase needs. Mine needs me to go hunting.

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At January 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may, I will add another point in favor of hunting, which is that when you buy licenses and tags, the money goes back to the division of wildlife. Here in Ohio, hunters' money has been keeping our state parks and forests on their feet, even growing and improving. In turn this helps hunters, because they have these public lands as places to hunt in the future.
Anyway, I just randomly found your site here and I was glad to see someone who recognizes the value of respectful and responsible hunting.

At May 31, 2011 at 7:41 PM , Anonymous Greg Clark said...

Richard Nelson, "Heart and Blood: Living With Deer in America" argues a convincing case on this.

At July 9, 2011 at 7:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am from vermont and have always had a hard time with PETA types (i do like some of what PETA does though) who are anti-hunting. i say i am anti-DEER STARVING. all their natural predators are gone. i would perfer if their predators were restored, people live din small housing cmommunities and let the animals and plants and waters and trees etc do their thing, but hi, reality! that ain't happening. i saw deer so skinny growing up it broke my heart. as someone who loves animals i am pro-hunting in this situation. the fucking hunting rec centers where i am now trying to bring in boars and other animals for rec hunters - GROSS. there are times and places for different things - every situation is in a time and place, so a total moral blanket judgment isn't very worthwhile. areial shootings of wolves - awful. hunting an explosion of deer - helpful.

i only ever had venison when my exboyfriend hit a deer and took it to the creek and skinned it and had some ritual and we ate it for four days. we had no electric or water, we were very poor and i was a vegetarian then (20 years ago) but i ate the venison! yum. oh wait i had it at a gormet resteraunt in northern ireland, yummy. heather awen adventures in animism


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