Just about every time I travel, I seem to wind up in a conversation with an anti-hunter, or someone who doesn’t think hunting is “politically correct”. And that’s OK. It’s a free country, and people are entitled to their opinions. So let’s step back for a moment, take the emotion out of the issue, and analyze the validity of just one area of hunting on a purely economic basis.
The whitetail deer; the most prevalent big game species in the North America. Everyone agrees we have done a great job of managing the species back from the population lows of the early 1900’s. But this conservation success has come with a price.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this year whitetail deer will be responsible for over 1 million automobile accidents in the United States. A million car wrecks. That’s 150 people dead, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and well over 1 billion dollars in property damage. We have so many deer in some areas, they are the creating a tangible economic loss to the community. So imagine what would happen if hunting were lost as a wildlife management tool. Sounds ridiculous, but that’s what the folks at PETA and the Humane Society would like to see. They advocate a complete abolition of hunting. OK, so let’s think this one through: abolish hunting; whitetail deer populations would spike, property damage, human deaths and injuries would skyrocket, deer habit would be destroyed, and eventually, as is nature’s way, millions of deer would suffer a slow, agonizing death due to starvation and disease; and all this grizzly unnecessary carnage, carried out in the name of “saving the animals”.
So what is the truth? Hunter’s have paid, and continue to pay, for the vast majority of wildlife conservation projects. We put billions of dollars into the national and local economies. We feed millions of needy people with donated venison, and oh yes, the economics of the situation: we as hunters have prevented millions of unnecessary human injuries and billions of dollars in property damage by keeping the deer population in check. Yes, no matter what our detractors say, sport hunting is the best and most effective tool we have to manage our wildlife today.
So the next time someone asks why you hunt, tell them it’s just another way of serving your community.