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Hunting

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Hunting refers to the tracking and killing of wild animals, genarally by means of a weapon. It does not include trapping (ie by using snares, pitfall traps, ...). The killing or trapping of animals that are a protected species, or are out of the hunting season, or are located on other people's land (see "Where to hunt ?"), ... is referred to as poaching. Poaching is becoming a considerable problem in developing countries (see bush meat and wildlife trade).[1][2]

In history[edit]

If the human may be considered one of the great apes [3] then we may be able to approximate an idea of the original natural diet and lifestyle of the early humans by an observation of the nearest animal relatives.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

It seems likely that human diet has developed through stages from early hominid plant-based food sources (see raw foodism) through the scavenger and hunter-gatherer stage to the agricultural model and then to the modern industrial society with multiple forms of processed foodstuffs. The practice of hunting animals for food or other purposes may hence not have been the original behaviour but does go back a long way into prehistory and may be considered as a link in that chain of human development.

Today, hunting is conducted only at a small scale, ie mainly by indiginous people for attaining food and by the wealthy, as a sport. Questions can be asked with the latter, as the animals killed are not always eaten. At the same time though, natural areas need to be created so as to allow the wealthy of conducting their sport which in turn also benefits wildlife (see "Where to hunt?"). Thus we need to assess how much animals are killed and compare it against the amount of animals that are given the ability to prosper.

By changing the effectiveness of the weapon of the hunter, more animals could possibly be saved, while maintaining or even improving the joy of the sport for the wealthy (this needs to be maintained to ensure the areas are not sold and urbanized). Semi-automatic (with a small magazine) or single shot compressed air weapons and black powder weapons as well as blowguns, bows, spears, ... are thus preferred.

Similarly, the weapons used by hunters in indiginous communities can also be decreased in effectiveness mainly to ensure that they will mix hunting with food gathering (this may however allready be the case). Mix hunting with food gathering is known as "hunting ang gathering" and means that men and women (thus an entire party) go on trips together. While the women gather, the men hunt.[11]

Other reasons for hunting[edit]

Hunting may be appropriate in certain other situations.[verification needed] An overview:

Pest control[edit]

In areas such as airfields, wildlife such as birds, rabbits, ... could cause problems for incoming/outgoing aircraft and are thus killed as a safety measure. Although it is best to catch/sedate the animals and transport them, in some situations, it seems unlikely that this is a viable option. Any killed animals are best eaten to prevent the wasting of food.[verification needed]

Emergency situation[edit]

In the unlikely event of a emergency situation (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_skills ), hunting may be a good solution to obtain food, although it should be noted that food in these situations has a relatively low priority.[verification needed]

Intermediate solution[edit]

Hunting may be useful as an intermediate solution. Ie in situations where a village has just been established, repopulated, ... food production may not yet have been set up. Plants, ... may require quite some time before they (or their produce; ie fruit, ...) can be eaten. In such situations, hunting may be a good solution (or partial solution) to provide in food until the main food production is up and running.[verification needed]

Where to hunt ?[edit]

Hunting is done on private properties, often designed and maintained in such a way that they attract and provide residence for wildlife. In some cases, they are also set up near a wildlife corridor, parcs, ... These properties may be owned by the hunter, or you may be invited to the property by a hunter.

It is illegal to hunt (or even walk) on other people's property without permission by the owner. Public area's too can not (generally) be used for hunting.

Spotting prey[edit]

Avoiding detection[edit]

This means avoiding to walk downwind, keeping silent, keeping out of sight, ...

In order to keep out of sight, you can use a hunter's cabin. Note that when using firearms from your position, you should never fire towards areas that have population (atleast in a 3 to 5 km radius).

Analyzing the prey[edit]

Once you have detected animals, you must quickly analyze whether the animals are

  • an unprotected species
  • are of a suitable age (only fire on old male animals; old female animals too can be shot, if they have no young)
  • in season (some animal species can not be shot at certain times of the year

Attaining weapons and licenses[edit]

In most countries, you require a firearms license or even a hunter's license to hunt using firearms. Surprisingly, older types of firearms (that use blackpowder and ball rather than bullets) may sometimes not fall under this category and could be used without a license. Alternatively, you could use other ranged weapons as:

Besides the fact that all of these weapons do not require a permit at all, they can also be made traditionally, using local natural resources (ie from local tree species, natural fibre plants, ...). This supports small-scale craftsmen (in the event you buy them rather than make them DIY) and has a much lower negative impact on the environment than modern firearms.

Black powder weapons[edit]

Black powder can be made DIY and flintlock weapons can be used to propell a projectile (metal ball or dart). The weapon may be smoothbore or rifled, and several flintlock designs exist (including some repeating rifles).[verification needed] Flintlock weapons can also be used for lighting a fire.[13]

Black powder weapons can be made with a simple 3-groove rifling (or alternatively a smoothbore rifle -no rifling-, but this is not preferred) for easy construction. In the latter case, a better balanced projectile (ie metal flechette, ...) must then be used to have atleast some degree of accuracy and range.

Arguments relating to hunting[edit]

There are ongoing arguments in different countries around the world hotly disputing various issues of hunting and hunting practices.

Pro[edit]

  • The food aspect of hunting is considered by some to healthy and natural
  • Various medical and environmental statistics and opinions.
  • In some philosophies hunting may be considered useful as a way of keeping animal populations from over population and thus protecting the ecosystem.
  • Indiginous hunting communities act as obstacles to development projects but at the same time allow them to attain food and so can be considered as a method of sustainable community development

Contra[edit]

  • Others believe meat eating to be injurious to health.
  • Various medical and environmental statistics and opinions.
  • Not all philosophies would agree that hunting to keep animal from overpopulating is either effective or even needed at all.
  • For hunting purposes, animals are often bred to act as prey. These animals however are not always indigenous to the area. Commonly bred animal species include: cottontail rabbit, wild boar, pheasant, fox, ... [14][15]

Jurisdiction[edit]

There have been many opinionated arguments on these subjects and this has produced political protests, heated emotions and physical conflicts. Some instances of hunting are considered a sport and may not necessarily even eat or make use of the animal killed. Different countries have attempted to resolve these conflicts in their own ways and various articles of legislation have been enacted addressing the issues of animal welfare, human health and environmental sustainability.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

References[edit]

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]