Editorial: Hunting balances life

By Logan Stark
Co-editor (Fall 2012)

It’s fall! The time of year to experience the vibrant colors of the trees. And the perfect time of year to sit in a tree stand with a loaded gun or bow. The perfect time of year—for hunting!

Now, there are many people who protest hunting. Why would anyone want to kill Bambi’s mother? However, hunting as not as bad is its negative reputation makes it appear to be. The sport of hunting is wisely regulated, prevents over population of animals, provides protection of property, supplies food to hungry families and teaches more about nature through observation.

First, hunting is not a barbaric sport that anyone can shoot any animal on site and kill any creature that he wants. Just like any sport—basketball, soccer, baseball—hunting has rules, for example: according to Missouri Department of Conservation.gov (mdc.mo.gov), a person is only allowed to take one, antlered deer during the firearm season.

Also, not just any “average Joe” who picks up a gun is allowed to hunt. According to mdc.mo.gov, a person who wishes to hunt must take the hunter-education program to earn his hunter-education card that he needs in order to purchase game licenses. These two hunting precautions are only a couple examples of this regulated sport. More can be found at http://mdc.mo.gov/.

Greg Howard, chemistry and physical science instructor, said he liked how hunting is used to keep the population of animals balanced, which is another benefactor of hunting. According to txtwriter.com, “There are more deer today in Missouri (an estimated 900,000) and Illinois (an estimated 750,000) than at any time in our nation’s history.” Not only do over populated animals compete for their specific niches for their explicit needs that are essential for their survival, but over population provides an easy means for diseases to be spread, because there are more animals of the same species that can come into contact with each other, such as the chronic wasting disease that affects the deer family.

Wild animals also tend to damage people’s property: rabbits ravaging gardens, armadillos digging holes in lawns and coyotes teaming in packs to kill calves. According to Ozarks Farms and Neighbors.com, feral hogs caused an estimated damage to agriculture of $58 million in 2009, and $10 million was spent trying to control them! Hunting is a prime way to protect prize positions, and prevent further damage to personal property.

Hunting is also used as a vital food source for some. This may be weird to hear in our day of age, but it’s true. Poverty is still a problem that we face today, and with it comes a hunger for food. That’s why hunters can partake in such programs as Share the Harvest, which is a program headed by the Conservation Department, and distributes venison donated by hunters to needy families.

“[Hunting] can be a good thing if done responsibly,” said Kami Renkoski, education major, who used deer meat on a regular basis while she was with her ex-husband, “which made a huge difference in our food bill,” Renkoski added.

Lastly, those who hunt tend to learn more about the world around them. If you didn’t sit in a tree stand for hours, observing the creation around you, how else would you know that armadillos can hop? Or that squirrels can bark? Or that deer, when they don’t think anyone is watching, wag their tails like dogs, and use their back leg to scratch behind their ear like canines, (I learned all of this from hunter Tye Zola, husband to Karina Zola, nursing major).

Hunting, though usually frowned upon, is not as bad as people think it is. Hunting is a regulated sport with rules of procedure, it helps to keep the balance in animal populations, provides a means of protection for personal property, supplies the much needed food that many poor families desperately need in order to survive and is a great sensei in the ways of nature.

Hunting, a sport that is crucial for the balance of life.