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Old August 22, 2013, 11:27 PM   #1
trg42wraglefragle
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Ethics of hunting for fun

Hi all.

Have recently been wondering about the ethics of hunting for fun.
Now when I was younger I used to love hunting what I'd now call vermin, for fun. I never new about crop damage and the trouble they cause, I used to shoot them because I liked shooting them.

I've been wondering about the ethics of shooting things for then fun of it.
Would I be considered a bad person if I just shot rabbits because I liked doing it? Or is that what anti-hunting/shooting groups want me to think.

What are some other users views on such matters?

(I'm not talking about hunting for food as that is a different matter.
Just the ethics of hunting animals for the fun of the hunt.)
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Old August 23, 2013, 12:10 AM   #2
okiewita40
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If you were just shooting prarie dogs or ground hogs I wouldn't have a problem at all. Rabbits are considered a game animal. Just shooting them for fun could land you in trouble with the game warden.

That and rabbits taste pretty good.

Check out your states game laws so you stay in good standing.
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Old August 23, 2013, 12:27 AM   #3
big al hunter
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If it wasn't fun we wouldn't do it.

Saving crop / property damage, controlling predator populations, or to get food is an extra bonus. I believe there are unethical ways to go about it. But the act of hunting for fun is not unethical in and of itself.

Ethical behavior, in my opinion, would include using the proper bullet to reduce suffering. Quickly dispatching a wounded animal. And not taking a shot that is not likely to kill quickly. And of course, obeying local laws regarding such hunting ( licenses, permits, permission to hunt on private land, legal methods and equipment ).

What laws are you aware of regarding this in your country?
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Old August 23, 2013, 12:33 AM   #4
JohnKSa
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Eliminating pest species is a worthy goal and doing so with minimum impact to other species is commendable. It happens that hunting is more challenging and therefore more entertaining than poison and traps and also has the benefit of being more selective/less likely to impact other animals in the area.

If the species is legal to hunt and is legitimately considered a pest species then I see no conflict of ethics in hunting them simply because the hunter finds it entertaining.

Shooting animals indiscriminately is an entirely different story.
Quote:
Rabbits are considered a game animal.
In some areas and countries. In others, they are considered to be a pest species. The OP is from New Zealand and I believe rabbits are virtually a plague in NZ.
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Old August 23, 2013, 04:04 AM   #5
shortwave
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Quote:
In some areas and countries. In others, they are considered to be a pest species. The OP is from New Zealand and I believe rabbits are virtually a plague in NZ.
Very good point John.
Rabbits may very well be on the 'pest' list in NZ.

IMO, Nothing wrong with enjoying shooting pest species same as nothing wrong with catching/killing known evasive/destructive fish or aquatic species. Long as it's within the law.

Last edited by shortwave; August 23, 2013 at 04:12 AM.
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Old August 23, 2013, 05:16 AM   #6
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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On this subject it becomes a matter conscience. As for myself I don't believe in "killing for fun." But to each their own.
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Old August 23, 2013, 06:30 AM   #7
twins
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Hunting for fun is the same as indiscriminate killing

Quote:
What are some other users views on such matters?
If it's legal in your area, no argument from me.

If it is not, then I would recommend you seek psychiatric help. Why kill innocent animals to get your thrill? Is it the act of killing or shooting? If shooting gives you the same thrill, go to a range and poke holes in paper.

Quote:
(I'm not talking about hunting for food as that is a different matter.
Just the ethics of hunting animals for the fun of the hunt.)
There's nothing ethical about hunting/shooting animals for the fun of the hunt. There are purposes to hunting (food, protection, disease control, etc.) and killing for fun isn't one. If one seek it, they're just a cold-blooded animal killer.
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Old August 23, 2013, 06:54 AM   #8
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Loaded question that could easily be interpreted negatively.

In the US, after you consider all the associated costs of hunting, few people hunt to "put food on the table". That is a bonus for for the enjoyment of hunting. Few people enjoy "killing an animal". That is one very small part of hunting that is necessary in order to get it on the table. Most people love hunting for the pursuit, the challenge, and the opportunity to become part of nature.

Varmint hunting, is shooting species that are considered pests, populate rapidly, and over populate easily, and can easily become destructive to habitat. Most are not particularly desireable to eat. In the US, killing animals classified as "varmints" contributes to population control tends to be beneficial to the environment, and improves the quality of life for other species by decreasing competition for food and habitat. Killing non-native invasive species is the game management duty of a hunter sportsman. I don't feel guilty for killing varmints any more than I feel guilty about setting mousetraps. Every groundhog I kill helps a deer get through the winter, and every coyote I kill leaves a few extra rabbits around that I can hunt and eat.

Since the OP is in NZ, I can only assume that while the list of varmint species may vary, the principle is the same.
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:08 AM   #9
shortwave
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Well put TimSr.

I just had a conversation last week with ODNR legal dept. about shooting coons out of season as they have been destroying my fruit tree's. When I say destroying..I mean stripping a whole tree(apple,peach,pear) in one night. Had five coon in an apple tree at the same time.
Needless to say, this place is over run with coons. Guess living in the middle of the woods has a few draw backs eh.

Now mind you, we have a coon season but it's not in right now. Found out that I can legally shoot them as long as I can show damages and furthermore can use a Red Dot laser on my .22 rifle/pistol for that purpose.

I don't like, and won't killing anything just for the sake of killing it but when it comes to pests like yotes, groundhogs and in this case coons, I don't hesitate.
Having said all that, the laser has made it fun...just don't like stayin up all night.

Last edited by shortwave; August 23, 2013 at 07:30 AM.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:25 AM   #10
Art Eatman
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Something that's been known for forty forevers about hunters, going back to the times before gunpowder:

Young hunters have a tendency to kill whatever is killable. With more maturity, this declines and what today we'd call "serious hunting" ensues. For food or pest control, that sort of behavior. Ethics becomes part of the deal.

With age, the urge to teach hunting skills becomes more important than the actual hunt. Last, you hunt the campfire and swap stories about how it used to be--and occasionally, the stories are true.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:39 AM   #11
manta49
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I us to hunt for fun when I was younger but not now. I would shoot animals if I needed it food but as I can go to the shop for food I don't. Also if I had to shoot something to protect my livestock if I had any I would. But not to protect someone elses livestock that is their problem. I think that animals have as much right to live on the planet as we have.
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Old August 23, 2013, 09:14 AM   #12
TimSr
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Shortwave, I too live in Ohio, and have seen an explosion in racoon overpopulations since the decline of the fur industry. I truly think its time to reclassify them, or at the very least, expand the season immensly.
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Old August 23, 2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
I think that animals have as much right to live on the planet as we have.
I don't think anybody questions an animal's right to live on the planet. Varmint hunting is about responsible management of animal populations that can be destructive to other species when left unchecked.
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Old August 23, 2013, 09:31 AM   #14
David13
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I think hunting has been a sport for maybe 50 or 100 years, for most of us.
It is totally ethical as long as reasonable rules are followed. And that includes safety, management, location, etc.
It's been a long time since anyone had to hunt to put food on the table.
But there will always be some nuts out there who think even thinking about hunting is "unethical".
Pay no attention to that.
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Old August 23, 2013, 09:55 AM   #15
bird_dog
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Hunting IS fun.

I've killed a few coyotes and foxes, with no intent to eat them. I don't any more, but don't care if others do.

I've deer hunted forever. Always use every bit of venison.

When I started bear hunting, I certainly wasn't doing it for meat. HOWEVER, I also love bear meat and utilize every bit of that as well.

I've had people say "I don't mind you hunting as long as you're not doing it for fun." When I was young, I tried to engage those people with rational discussion. I don't anymore. If what I'm doing is legal, ethical and has been an accepted version of "sporting" for hundreds of years? I really don't give a rat's ass if you don't like me enjoying it.

Quote:
I would shoot animals if I needed it food but as I can go to the shop for food I don't.
Never lose sight of the fact that those little packages of meat (unless you're vegan, then never mind) were once living, breathing animals. Just because the person who killed them was doing a job instead of having fun doesn't make it a morally superior choice.
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Old August 23, 2013, 10:16 AM   #16
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I know it's not common these days but I do hunt for meat to feed my family. It has nothing to do with $$$ but to provide good quality meat for my family to eat instead of meat from commercial operations. We also have poultry to provide fresh eggs and garden to provide fresh vegetables and fruits. It also keeps me connected to the life cycle we live in... an animal had to be killed to get meat.

I never pull the trigger on an animal without a purpose... to get meat, to eliminate varmint, to end an suffering of an animal, etc. All creatures large and small should be respected and admired and killing of them should never be an thoughtless act. Every time I walk upon an animal I had killed I have a small sense of guilt... and I think that shows I have a soul.

I remember many years ago when I was allowed to start hunting on my own, my father's friend told me that when a hunt results in killing an animal I should feel a little sadness and maybe even a little guilt as I would for any worthy adversary. That when I no longer have any feeling for a downed animal it becomes just a killing... not hunting.

We should all admire our hunted games, weather it's a small p. dog or the mighty elk.
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Old August 23, 2013, 10:20 AM   #17
g.willikers
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One rabbit in the back yard is cute.
Millions destroying food crops is not.
Before human populations exploded on the planet, there was predator and game population balance, just like Ma' Nature intended.
Now, with predator populations and their habitat so reduced, it's up to us to keep the varmints in check.
And provide lots of jobs in the process.

(Is there a season on little, irritating, neighborhood yappie dogs?
You know, the kind that raise heck with you in your own yard, when they're the trespasser)
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Last edited by g.willikers; August 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM.
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Old August 23, 2013, 10:20 AM   #18
tahunua001
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there is no such thing as universal ethics.
every individual decides what is right and wrong in his eyes and every individual will have a unique take on the matter.

I personally shoot squirrels. mostily it's for the fun of it but also it's a good way to test your marksmanship skills on moving targets at non standardized ranges, a necessary skill for hunting. I do not think of myself as an unethical hunter, I never kill so many as to threaten the population and I never do so without a hunting license so I am not breaking an laws and well within my rights to do so.

however there are a lot of hunters out there that were brought up to believe that hunting without the intention of eating what you kill is wrong and unethical in their eyes. my brother once went hunting rabbits with a friend and when they were done the friend made him take all the rabbits he killed home and helped field dress and cook them... not my idea of fine dining and waay too much trouble for the amount of meat you get but we respected the other guys beliefs and didn't leave anything to waste.
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Old August 23, 2013, 04:54 PM   #19
buck460XVR
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I'm bettin' 98% of hunters in the lower 48 hunt for the fun/pleasure of the sport. Very few folks outside of Alaska hunt solely for subsistence, regardless of what the T.V. show "Mountain Men" tries to display. Those that do hunt solely for food and simply to exterminate nuisance animals make up the other 2%. While many folks out there try and justify their hunting because of the meat they bring home, most times the meat is just a bonus. The cost of gas, licenses, ammo, guns/bows, gear, lease fees etc., makes most game meat pricier than quality store bought.

That said, if how you take game is legal in your area, you do you best to strive for clean quick kills, make every effort to retrieve you game, use the meat/hide to the fullest, leave minimal impact on the habitat and always exhibit a positive image while hunting, ethics will follow, and you have nuttin' to lose sleep over.
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Old August 23, 2013, 05:30 PM   #20
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We are all on Candid Camera with this thread............... Right ??
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Old August 23, 2013, 05:40 PM   #21
trg42wraglefragle
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As I expected there is lots of different opinions on this matter, and I think Tahunua001 summed it up well.

Quote:
there is no such thing as universal ethics.
every individual decides what is right and wrong in his eyes and every individual will have a unique take on the matter.
I know some people will say shooting for animals for food is fine, and pests is ok but you shouldn't enjoy it, and should just shoot paper.
But I don't mind target shooting, and recently have started a lot of steel target offhand shooting. But I wanted to do it to improve my skills whilst hunting.

But compared to hunting rabbits, or possums or other pests we have here it is incredibly boring. Given the choice it would be to go after live quarry than to shoot paper.

I think I put it down to how, and where you have grown up.
I grew up on a farm and in a farming community, where you see things die all the time. Whereas I talked to a guy who has never shot a gun before and grew up in a city, and he can't see how you could take any enjoyment out of killing something.
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Old August 23, 2013, 06:51 PM   #22
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One of the reasons for hunting is for the variety of food. Wild Ducks, Wild Geese, Ruffed Grouse, Pheasant and of course, deer are not generally accessible to working class people other than by hunting. The domestic equivalents do not taste the same.
As to enjoying the mere killing, I got over that when I matured and came to the realization that animals are not much different than I am...they feel pain and just want to be left alone to live their lives. Kill if you must, but just shooting them to shoot them, is the act of an insensitive and ignorant person. You inflict pain every time you shoot some living thing...you should at least have a good reason.
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Old August 23, 2013, 06:58 PM   #23
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Killing pest animals is fine by me where legal. Killing animals for food and sport is fine.

Killing animals for no other reason than its fun isn't fine by me.

I love to hunt, it's fun. Killing animals is part of hunting but I don't consider taking a life fun. To actually be a hunter, you need to respect your prey and killing them for no reason shows a lack of respect.

If you just like killng things just to kill them, you might have a problem.
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Old August 23, 2013, 07:35 PM   #24
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Quote:
he can't see how you could take any enjoyment out of killing something.
I take enjoyment out of it the same way I do any other difficult and necessary task, performed well.

Hunting is a skill. Skills are the very finest things to have.
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Old August 23, 2013, 08:01 PM   #25
Pahoo
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Pick one !!!

trg42wraglefragle
Please clarify and pick one;
1) Killing is fun?
2) Hunting can be fun?

Be Safe !!!
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