Hunting for Fallacies – Why Hunting is Bad for the Environment


Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

The Logic of HuntersI would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~E.B. White

A few years ago I boarded my horse at a really nice facility that happened to be adjacent to a property that was used as a weekend hunting camp.  Although we could quite literally ride into town on the abandoned railway tracks, the hunt camp itself was a beautiful site where you could ride for about an hour and have only a ½ km walk back to the barn afterwards.

Soon after I arrived at this boarding stable, I asked how it was possible that we were able to “trespass” on their property?  The barn owners explained that the property owner allowed us to ride there as a sort of compensation for the loud shooting that went on during weekends.  Shooting?  Right next to a facility with dozens of horses?  I briefly regretted my move and wondered if my horse would ever de-spook to the sounds of shotguns in the not-so-far-away distance.  After a few weeks,  I discovered that the hunters also gave us use of the property to “buy” our silence – they were hunting turkeys out-of-season and on days of the week when it was not permitted.

I rode a few times on the property, which was eerily silent except for turkeys fluttering in the brush.  The trail was beautiful and serene, uncharacteristic for

Brush and Rails

Brush and Rails

the activity for which the property was being used.  The “camp” also consisted of several chain-link “runs” for the dogs, and a few small outbuildings,  at least one of which was used for slaughtering and dressing the birds.  Apparently this town was noteworthy for turkey shooting, because one day a truck with several men boldly drove up the driveway and began asking for permission to shoot turkeys on the farm.  About a week or so after that, a locking gate went up on the driveway…..

I disagree with the philosophy of hunting and the premise that only a hunter can manage an ecosystem.

I’d never been that impressed with sport hunters, but these incidents started me on the path to believing that they were brazen, self-serving individuals who did whatever they liked without regard for bylaws or the safety of private citizens.  They truly believe that they are somehow “custodians” of nature whose culls were keeping animal populations strong and healthy.  And they considered anti-hunters to be hypocrites. Without their “custodianship,” wild animals will not simply wither away and die. While domesticated animals would have a tremendous struggle to survive,  if indeed they could at all, virtually all animals would flourish if we didn’t invade their habitat. And that would occur according to nature’s way and ideals – not ours. Many hunters seem to be very practiced at manipulating and manufacturing acceptance of hunting. I think that Noam Chomsky would be proud….

In Canada, the fur trade initially sustained Hudson’s Bay Company for a few hundred years, but ultimately birchbark canoes and beaver pelts gave way to an abundant newer and more broad commercial opportunity. I might also add that the greatest of the old growth white pines were cut to provide masts for the British Navy, which, at the time, was the dominate imperialistic force on the planet, protecting British economic interests worldwide so that the resources of the world could be converted into English wealth. The HBC was also initially a venture by the British imperialists.

Bear mom and cubsFast forward to modern times, where its estimated that anywhere from 5% – 17% of the general population hunts/fishes. Most of the higher percentages I’ve encountered were taken from data that originated from northern climes.  Herein lies the problem. Hunters assume that they are responsible for maintaining the ecosystem. You have your acknowledged 5 – 17% of the population supposedly maintaining the ecosystem – part time at that. That dog doesn’t hunt, sorry.

In my internet travels I came across the following stats, which I believe refutes the popularity of hunting. Despite the hunting propaganda which I have read on the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters website, the reality is that most modern families do not embrace hunting as either a pleasurable pastime or a family adventure. Despite claims made by hunting proponents that sport hunting is a popular, widely accepted traditional pastime, the number of hunters in the U.S. has declined over the past 20 years. In 1996, only 5.1% of Americans purchased hunting licenses, compared to 7.4% in 1991 and 9.9% in 1975, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  With young people having so many choices in their activities today, killing animals just doesn’t have much appeal. Compassion for the natural world is the new order. Gone are the days of the fur trade which launched the largest company in Canadian history. Statistics that depict the overall decline of hunting aren’t difficult to source. These are American stats.

Wildlife Watching

71 Million Participants
31% Of The Population
$40.5 Billion Spent
$7.65 Billion on Food & Lodging
Growing Business


12.5 Million Participants
5% Of The Population
$21.3 Billion Spent
$2.71 Billion on Food & Lodging
Mature Business

The hunters I’ve debated with usually claim that anti-hunters are hypocrites of some sort.  So why exactly are anti-hunters hypocrites? Why are we unethical?  The fact is that we are not; the hunting community often behave hypocritically and many of their statements about the benefits of hunting are not based on case-controlled, peer-reviewed science.  In fact, they often stretch the truth until it’s almost elliptical.

First of all, we don’t have to live in the forest in order to live ethically.

For whatever reason, it’s expected that anti-hunters would live in the forest and wipe their asses with leaves in order to live up to the hunter’s example of living off the land – which is what they think they do when they drive in from the suburbs in their SUVs to their hunting camp. Clearly, we’re not required to eat nuts and berries in order to have an opinion on the subject matter.

You need to hunt something that can shoot back at you to really classify yourself as a hunter. You need to understand the feeling of what it’s like to go into the field and know your opposition can take you out. Not just go out there and shoot Bambi ~ Jesse Ventura

I’ve also been told that we’re unethical because we feed our dogs and cats pet food made of meat, whilst complaining vocally about hunters.  They claim we

Donald Trump's Sons were strongly criticized for shooting a multitude of animals on holiday

Donald Trump’s Sons were strongly criticized for shooting a multitude of animals on holiday

don’t know where food comes from and that they are just trying to put food on their tables.

Pet food is primarily made from the waste by-products of the human food industry – stuff that you wouldn’t eat and would never pass inspection for humans.  Okay, well,  sometimes it does – just ask the CFIA about XL Foods. But typically, pet foods include some meats and other food refuse that has passed its expiration date, and what are called 4D livestock, right along with their ear tags, which are also all fodder for rendering plants. So by purchasing pet food, pet owners don’t really contribute much money to mass butchering other than purchasing the byproduct. Most pet food is made primarily from the foodstuffs that are not deemed appropriate for human consumption. Meat is their natural food, and there is little to no chance that slaughterhouses are going to go away, so it’s hardly hypocritical to own an animal that requires a meat-based pet food.

Next up is the hunter’s claim that we’re hypocrites since we own and therefore “exploit” other animals ourselves, in my case, a horse.  A hunter once told me I was cruel for having horse shoes on my horse.  At the time I had this conversation, I was driving my horse on the deserted country roads,  and she did wear borium driving shoes,  which I intensely disliked,  but really needed to save her feet on the roads.  I prefer my horse to go barefoot, but some owners do shoe horses feet if they have to traverse rough terrain.  The hoof is made of keratin, and there are no nerves running through that part of the hoof. It’s really quite comparable to the end of your fingernail.  Most horses aren’t “broken” in the manner depicted in Westerns either, and with a few cruel exceptions, they aren’t imprisoned in a stable. Finally, my horse was paid for and boarded using my own after-tax dollars. I don’t get supplementation from the government either, quite unlike the industry and government regulations that support hunting and hunters.

So here are some of the most unsupportable claims made by hunters.  I’ll start with one of the most obvious claims – that hunters help maintain an ecosystem.

The main problem with trophy hunters and hunting in general is that they do not cull the weaker animals from the herd.

Cheetah KillingTherefore, they do not replicate what nature does. When you kill a trophy buck, you are in all likelihood removing a HEALTHY STRONG ANIMAL from the population, a breeding animal with strong genetic influence. You accomplish the opposite effect of nature, therefore, your influence on nature is unnatural. When you choose only healthy animals to kill, inbreeding may result in a far higher expression of deleterious recessive genes within a population than would normally be expected. As a result, first-generation inbred individuals are more likely to show physical and health defects, including smaller adult size, loss of immune system function, lower birth rate, and increased genetic disorders.  Contrast this with predators such as wolves, who focus their hunts on the very young, the very old, and the weak or sick, thus strengthening the herd.

Clearly, inbreeding is bad.  Many species of animals give very little thought process to whom they mate with, thereby, when you have one buck mating with an unusual number of does in a season, you will have inbreeding. With sexual segregation, the dominant male reserves the right to mate with receptive does. Different individuals within a group form a status hierarchy in which higher-ranking animals get more access to food and more access to females in heat. While there are some exceptions to this rule, this is nevertheless, how it works.

Therefore, a hunter, by choosing superior specimens, has eliminated the gene pool of the bucks that would otherwise have contributed their genetic material and all the advantages that go with that. Therefore, these animals are wasting their resources producing individuals who may not survive in many cases. They are producing weak, inferior specimens. Hunting actually drives natural selection in reverse. Basically, you would eventually wind up with a stock of animals displaying the characteristics of those which were not killed in a hunt. In colloquial terminology – when you take them systematically out of the population for many years, you end up leaving essentially a bunch of losers doing the breeding. Unless hunters are habitually killing weaker animals, they are not capable of performing the same role that nature does.  They are not doing the animal a favour by “harvesting” them before they have the opportunity to die naturally either.

Hunting advocates like to claim that hunting is necessary as a means of population control and that they are in fact conservationists doing everybody, including the animal, a huge favour.

How many times have we read that in the absence of predators, an environments’ carrying capacity can be exceeded and animals will surely die a slow painful death from starvation, or so the justification goes. The problem is that hunters do

Canned Hunts are especially objectionable, and send the wrong message to youth

Canned Hunts are especially objectionable, and send the wrong message to youth. Animals used to routine,  return at regular times expecting to be fed,  instead,  they are shot.

not seek out and kill only those animals within the population most likely to die of starvation; in fact the opposite is true. This also disrupts the natural 1:1 male to female birth ratio of animals, leaving a disproportionate number of females, who will produce more in the subsequent years to the point of overpopulation.

It’s a fallacy that hunters often assume that they can manage nature better than nature herself can. An animal killed during predator/prey interactions is not wasted – it is used for food. Numerous animals rely only on carrion for food,  including bacteria, fungi, and worms. Everything alive is made from chemicals that are only borrowed from the earth. The mechanistic explanation of predator/prey relationships suggests that the machinery of nature functions without us quite well.  We know this via population modelling.

The Lotka-Volterra population model is composed of a pair of differential equations that describe predator-prey (or herbivore-plant, or parasitoid-host) dynamics in their simplest case (one predator population, one prey population). It was developed independently by Alfred Lotka and Vito Volterra, scientists with degrees in mathematics, population dynamics, energetics, and biology, in the 1920’s.  It is characterized by oscillations in the population size of both predator and prey, with the peak of the predator’s oscillation lagging slightly behind the peak of the prey’s oscillation.

The competitive Lotka–Volterra system plotted in phase space with the x4 value represented by the color.

The competitive Lotka–Volterra system plotted in phase space with the x4 value represented by the colour.

The theorem, which passes the acid test of any theoretical model, makes several simplifying assumptions: 1) the prey population will grow exponentially when the predator is absent; 2) the predator population will starve in the absence of the prey population (as opposed to switching to another type of prey); 3) predators can consume infinite quantities of prey; and 4) there is no environmental complexity (in other words, both populations are moving randomly through a homogeneous environment.

Predators and prey can influence each others’ evolution. Traits that enhance a predator’s ability to find and capture prey will be selected for in the predator, while traits that enhance the prey’s ability to avoid being eaten will be selected for in the prey. The “goals” of these traits are not compatible, and it is the interaction of these selective pressures that influences the dynamics of the predator and prey populations. Predicting the outcome of species interactions is also of interest to biologists trying to understand how communities are structured and sustained.

The equation already assumes that predator/prey populations are in a constant state of flux, which they are. A good example of this dis-equillibrium is what happened in Yellowstone Park after wolves were exterminated – this was done because wolves preyed upon elk, animals human hunters also wished to hunt. They believed that without wolves to prey on them, there would be more elk and so on for humans to hunt. This was a foolish and short-sighted view, however – the elk population exploded without natural predators to cull the weak and sick, leading to overgrazing and damage to the environment. The herbivores then starved. Fortunately, wolves have now been reintroduced, and the balance between predator and prey has been restored. Also, hunting over a 200-year period killed more than a million

An illustration of spatial structure in nature. The strength of the interaction between bee colonies is a function of their proximity. Colonies A and B interact, as do colonies B and C. A and C do not interact directly, but affect each other through colony B.

An illustration of spatial structure in nature. The strength of the interaction between bee colonies is a function of their proximity. Colonies A and B interact, as do colonies B and C. A and C do not interact directly, but affect each other through colony B.

otters and brought them to near-extinction in the 20th century. Yet, their numbers have recovered. The fact that we see animal populations, such as wolves, in dis-equillibrium with their natural prey, it is because hunters have designed it so.  If predators weren’t compromised by hunting, carrying capacity of the land would not be exceeded. To sum up, both predator and prey species are healthier when left to the devices of nature, whose mechanisms are far superior to anything man could devise.

Both hunters and governments argue that hunting is important economically when it is increasingly evident that many animals, grizzly bears in particular, are worth more to the economy living than dead. Therefore, what social or historical imperative is there to maintain the hunt? I specifically recall hearing that when the bear hunt was cancelled in Northern Ontario, the president of the Federation of Anglers and Hunters said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “bears are too precious a natural resource to treat that way.” That is surely one of the most unintentionally ridiculous remarks I’ve ever heard! They are so precious in fact, that we gotta shoot ’em now while there’s still time!  At least the cancellation of the bear hunt kept Ted Nugent and his loincloth in Michigan. You’d think he’d be the biggest advocate for gun control, what with him being shot in the head and all…….

Do hunters even replenish the grizzly supply? Are any grizzly bears poached for gall bladders? BC grizzlies are now classified as “Special Concern” (or vulnerable) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Despite this status and the ever increasing degradation and loss of their habitat, Canadian grizzlies continue to face the very real, completely unnecessary and terribly cruel threat of hunting.

In 2007, 430 grizzlies were killed in B.C., 363 of them by affluent, mostly American and European sport hunters, making last year the highest rate of hunter-caused mortality of this iconic bear since records have been kept. This sad statistic puts the lie to the provincial government’s own description of grizzlies as “perhaps the greatest symbol of the wilderness” whose “survival will be the greatest testimony to our environmental commitment. Conservationists and independent scientists have been saying for years that the continuation of the sport hunt in its current form reveals a provincial government sorely out of step with reality on three fronts – grizzly bear science, economics and public opinion. For decades management and regulation has been governed more by politics and received wisdom than by anything resembling sound scientific reasoning, despite the fact that COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada), the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre consider grizzlies a species of special concern.”

“Manipulating data collected from a single government study of grizzlies in southeastern B.C. in the late 1980s, the province extrapolated habitat Grizzly hunterscharacteristics from the Flathead Range onto other regions of the province to arrive at an arbitrary population estimate. In 2000, Dionys de Leeuw, a biologist with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, published a scathing report titled “Grizzly Overkill in British Columbia Bear Management,” in which he pointed out the absurdity of the province’s habitat-based population estimate methodology, saying that grizzly bears could be exterminated by 2034 while government habitat suitability measurements would continue to indicate a theoretical bear abundance and subsequent harvestable surplus.”

“Independent research poked serious holes in the government science. Where government biologists said that grizzly bears were at 93 per cent of their habitat potential in the Central Purcell Mountains, Proctor’s results indicated a much lower number at roughly 54 per cent, putting bears in this region of southeastern B.C. close to the 50 per cent mark – the threshold for threatened status. Clearly, there is a government bias against grizzlies, therefore it follows that they are willing to manipulate any numbers, whether consciously or not, achieve their means. The science behind the population estimates on which annual harvest rates are based is bogus, decried by independent biologists in B.C., Alberta and the United States.”

The COSEWIC and other independent scientists should have the final say on the designation of threatened species and not have its recommendations subject to Cabinet approval. The article on the grizzly bear is the single most credible source of real science done by real and impartial scientists, performing real peer-reviewed science. I realize that it’s conclusion does not concur with that of the hunters, so perhaps they’ll write it off entirely as having been created in a vacuum. Before anyone runs on at the keyboard about deer not being threatened species, you need to recall and extrapolate what is already known about the ineptitude of the government to calculate true animal populations. Neither the government nor the hunters ever really know how well or how poorly they are “controlling” the environment by hunting. Modern hunting is “Evolution in Reverse.” And that’s not natural.

Another rationale that hunters use for their hobby is that hunting controls disease,

despite the fact that Canada’s National Wildlife Disease strategy, does not even mention hunting as a method of reducing disease.  They believe that hunting maintains healthy animal populations and keeping population levels low avoids disease transmission.  While there is truth in the statement that any existent disease will travel faster though malnourished and densely populated herds of animals,  hunters acknowledge  that they don’t target sick animals.  In an ecosystem with the absence of hunting, an animal’s numbers will be reduced to the point where the animals are widely spread, they no longer pass on the disease, and the plague runs its course; leaving “enough” animals. Sometimes animals reproduce to the point of overpopulation; but nature reserves the right to correct the problem. Animals even follow certain inborn rules that cause them to become too plentiful. And that scenario exists without the intervention of hunters. Also, herbivores do not willingly travel in close proximity to predators, nor do predators of substantially different sizes normally mingle together: this situation inhibits viral transmission.  Again, hunters are attempting to parlay death into a bad or unnecessary thing which can only be relieved by hunters.

Likely a canned hunt, bow hunting is highly inaccurate and contributes to suffering

Likely a canned hunt, bow hunting is highly inaccurate and contributes to suffering

Further, just as a vector can introduce disease in the human body, hunting of wildlife by humans is known vector that carries a substantial risk for cross-species transmission. Despite cooking, the risk of zoonotic diseases emerging from hunting and eating wildlife is still of global importance because of increases global trade, and increased contact between humans and animals.

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness ~ Joseph Conrad

Chronic Wasting Disease can infect an animal for years before it becomes obviously apparent. Whenever there are deliberate culls of animals suspected of having CWD,  hunters kill as many deer as possible within an eradication zone. Therefore, I maintain that for the most part, hunters can not know whether they kill healthy or diseased animals until examination afterwards. It remains an open question whether such extreme culling programs are logistically feasible, particularly since CWD persists in the environment. Complete elimination of CWD from all deer herds is unlikely, despite the best efforts of humans. This is because, to some degree, it appears to be endemic.  Past research and experience has shown that herd eradication efforts failed to eliminate CWD in many states in the US. Therefore, I’m not convinced that any one group has special talents to rid deer herds of the disease. Hunters motivated by money (a bounty on deer suspected of having CWD) are often not safe hunters either. Furthermore, the presence of disease, any disease, for many years usually results in disease resistance as a result of natural selection. Natural immunity prevents entire species, and even entire species of plantlife, from mass extinction.

Far more needs to be known about this disease before engaging in all-out slaughter, if there is an expectation that wildlife management actions retain their “scientific” basis. I am for removing animals from the herd who are clearly suffering from disease, but hunting does not accomplish this. Otherwise, we would see fewer incidences of the disease and fewer calls for eradication of deer.

Nevertheless, if hunting could control CWD, we would not see rampant CWD in areas where exterministic hunting is promoted as a control mechanism. Even in states where exterministic hunting has been allowed, those clueless government biologists have been left scratching their heads wondering why they have a surge of CWD shortly thereafter.  The reason is that while massive culling of herds will remove infected animals, it also removes animals that have immunity to the disease. I do happen to know that health officials advise hunters not to shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick, as in the case of a chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis. So it follows that hunters would strive to avoid killing unhealthy animals. While there are exceptions to prey animal killings, generally speaking, prey animals have great difficulty culling healthy animals,  which is why they tend to remove older,  infirm or diseased animals from the population.

Hunters might like to use red herrings and other diversionary tactics to draw out attention away from the fact that wounded animals are a serious consequence of poor hunting skills. 

But precisely because the target is moving and because of the numerous variables contributing to the shot pattern, wounding is inevitable. Bow hunting Bow hunted moose (a common method used to hunt grizzlies) injures more animals than it kills. Dozens of scientific studies show that bow hunting yields more than a 50 percent wounding rate. Rates of wounding have been estimated in different ways. Spend any time watching waterfowl hunters at their sport and you will hear many shots for every duck or goose that is dropped to the water and retrieved. The proof of high wounding rates exists, in part, in the percentage of waterfowl who, when X-rayed, are found to be carrying shotgun pellets in their bodies. Those who were somewhat more severely wounded tend to die in the marsh or woods, unseen. Shotguns are meant for moving targets. You don’t “aim” a shotgun so much as point it. Dick Cheney is perfect proof of that fact. The fact that the target is moving contributes to the “sport.” The expression “a sitting duck,” meaning a person who is extremely vulnerable, derives from the “unsporting” act of shooting a duck sitting on the water. No skill is required to hit a sitting duck. (No hunter would admit to shooting a sitting duck, of course, but you have to wonder why so many decoys have pellet holes in them.)

Hunting is also not a “sport” that is economically viable,  at least,  not without significant government handouts. 

The Canadian government has granted charitable status to hunting groups and groups that actually promote anti-environmental agendas. According to the watchdog Charity Action Team, “many of these groups have adopted names that make them sound like pro-environmental groups. These anti-environmental groups cloak themselves in government-sanctioned subterfuge. A Charity Action Team report to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency named 13 pro-hunting organizations and fishing lodges that have been granted charitable status YET DO NOT COMPLY with the standards
detailed in their own applications.

• Alberta Fish and Game Association
• British Columbia Wildlife Federation
• Canadian Wildlife Federation
• Ducks Unlimited Canada
• Federation of Anglers and Hunters Ontario (OFAH)
• Manitoba Wildlife Federation
• New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, Inc.
• Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation
• Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation
• Ontario Wildlife Foundation
• Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation
• Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation
• Wildlife Habitat Canada

If you want to feel control and conquest, volunteer in the army, pick up a rifle , even don a bullet proof vest if you like, and patrol the streets of Fallujah, or Ramadi.

If you want to feel control and conquest, volunteer in the army, pick up a rifle, even don a bullet proof vest if you like, and patrol the streets of Fallujah, or Ramadi.

Charity annual reports and financial statements can conceal interesting realities even when impeccably prepared. The 1994 annual report published by Wildlife Habitat Canada ( a pro-hunting group, is a case in point. It is a model of excellent reporting and depicts a tightly run organization engaged in a number of excellent conservation projects across Canada. It lists its revenues as $2.1million from its “stamp program,” $600,000 from Environment Canada, $296,742 from project contributions and $231,449 from other sources. While I doubt there’s anything wrong with their financials,  upon closer look,  it becomes obvious how much hunters DO NOT contribute to the “upkeep” of the wilderness. In 1995 it was stated in the House of Commons that Wildlife Habitat Canada raised only $9,000 in tax receiptable donations in comparison to government grants totalling $2.7million. This means that the hunters themselves contributed $9,000, while the Canadian government donated the balance – $2.7 million. This doesn’t appear to be a self-sustaining charity, IMHO.

Although hunters certainly won’t agree, hunting and fishing organizations shouldn’t have charitable tax status. Hunting and fishing organizations are variously posing as wildlife conservation organizations while engaging in lobbying and partisan politics, which is strictly prohibited under the Income Tax Act for registered charities and non-profits. This is exactly what makes a group such as Wildlife Habitat Canada suspect – they could lose their charitable status as a result. Yet, despite undoubtedly knowing this, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters launched a campaign not so long ago to “fight the Liberals in the next election.” Furthermore, why should hunting organizations, who cater to a small percentage of the population, get money from the government when organizations like the Lions Club don’t have charitable status? Do you think the OFAH provides a wider benefit to society than the Lions Club? I don’t.  I can think of many ways to make use of the government money that is currently spent propping up the mature hunting industry in favour of new, developing industries.

Outdated conservation strategy based on pre-ecological thought and faulty science is still being practiced.

“Volunteer wildlife managers” aka hunters,  manipulate ecosystems and wildlife habitat for increased hunter success, while boosting hunting license sale revenues which support their salaries. Alterations of the environment intended to stimulate ever greater populations of target animals such as deer is not only bad science, but plain stupidity. In fact, hunters’ license fees are used to manipulate a comparatively few game species into overpopulation at the expense of a much larger number of non-game species, which includes the extermination of natural predators. This contributes to the loss of biological diversity, genetic integrity and ecological balance of wildlife. Hunters’ licenses pay for environmental degradation and not conservation as is claimed.

Nature has endowed man with a noble and excellent principle of compassion, which extends itself also to the dumb animals—whence this compassion has some resemblance to that of a prince toward his subjects. And it is certain that the noble souls are the most extensively compassionate, for narrow and degenerate minds think that compassion belongs not to them; but a great soul, the noblest part of creation, is ever compassionate. ~Francis Bacon

When it came time for the Government of Ontario to create new legislation to protect Provincial Parks, the Federation of Anglers and Hunters lobbied them turkeysnot to restrict fishing, hunting, trapping, motorized vehicles including snowmobiles and 4WD vehicles. And didn’t the Tories lower the hunting age to 12 years, under lobbying pressure, thereby promoting the use of guns by minors? This is further evidence that wildlife should not be managed by hunters for hunters, anymore than one person should be given complete care, custody and control over Fort Knox. As I’ve already pointed out – they lobby for self-interest relentlessly, which results in alterations to natural ecosystems. Rivers and streams etc, have been stocked with fish species not indigenous to those waters, such as salmon. Lakes have become reservoirs for fishers, which seems to imply that the industry is not sustainable otherwise.

Hunters manage our wildlands as game farms, not as sensitive ecosystems.

Furthermore, hunting charities who are registered as “Protection of Animals” groups have opposed improving animal cruelty laws, they’ve opposed new gun laws, they’ve opposed protection of animals such as the grizzly and wolves. Seems like the antithesis of an animal protection group to me.

Conservation lands should be exactly that – totally conserved.

Not “conserved” for the use of hunters and fishers. Not conserved so that someone can go ripping through on an all-terrain vehicle. If the populations weren’t hunted or fished, there would be little reason to restore them. I’m sure that when John Cabot landed off the coast of Newfoundland, he thought that the cod would last forever too. So, restoration, while an admirable venture otherwise, becomes a selfish and self-serving goal.

aerial wolf killingAnimal populations become decimated through such causations as invasive species, habitat destruction, disease, hunting, and the inbreeding and resultant overpopulation as an associated result of hunting. Where is the “management” that the hunters proclaim exists? The sentiment that an animal’s life seems to be best served by providing food for man is a very anthropomorphic centralism. The imbalance caused by the extinction of the dinosaurs took millions of years to correct – but – it did happen and it was a mass extinction of species, not just a few species of prey or predator. It affected many groups of organisms in many different environments, but it affected marine communities the most, causing the extinction of most of the marine invertebrates of the time. So, many people do underestimate the rebounding ability of life unaided by man.

Man is changing the world in an inherently dangerous fashion.

Anthropocentrism such as hunters and some others espouse, has been posited by many environmentalists as the underlying reason why humanity dominates and sees the need to “develop” most of the Earth. Anthropocentrism is a root cause of the ecological crisis, human overpopulation, and the extinctions of many non-human species.

We hunters don’t mind if the animal suffers a bit. Yes there will be painful deaths sometimes, especially when bow hunting. That sucks, but the awesomeness of hunting overpowers that pain. ~Hunter Tim Wilson

About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

43 responses »

  1. Pingback: Hunting for Fallacies – heatherclemenceau – Blog | Hunting Tips

  2. This article was very helpful for me. I live in North Carolina, USA. The hunting lobby at the NC General Assembly is very strong here. Your article has provided solid information for me to pass on to interested animal advocates in my state. I have saved your blog as one of my favorites!

    You brought out many good points I can use in my state. Thank you.

    • Wow! For you to say this was helpful on one person’s opinion. You should check out the facts in more detail before believing one persons opinion/article. Man and wolves can not live in harmony with each other. Humans have moved into their territory. The developers/developments are eradicating the wildlife’s territory. The monies from hunting licenses and the taxes go towards preservation of lands not for sale to developers to destroy. Wildlife in general has a better chance to survive in the wild then on a street corner. The anti-hunters and the hunting community should be on the same side. Not fight with each other. The goal is the same. Preservation of the wild. If we keep moving into their territory they can not keep going somewhere else. We need to preserve their land. Hunters are not the evil persons this article was meant to portray. Limits are placed on hunters so not to destroy every animal on four legs. The strongest are the most stealthy and harder to acquire. Hunters go many seasons without success due to that requirement. More animals are killed for leather seats in one’s car or wallet then to hunting. The same companies that do this are not so environmental friendly. One of the main reasons Elk thrive so well in the west is due to organizations like the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation that purchases land not to be eradicated. Statements like the article posted how hunting organizations should not get tax breaks are absurd. The same organization helped the reintroduction of Elk in NC. Heather Clemenceau forgot to mention that.The fact that there are bad apples in every bunch does not give one persons opinion to base their article on all the bad apples. The majority of the hunting community are ethical. Funny how people are so willing to take the rights away from someone who hunts when they themselves do not. How brave of “them”.

      • Did you overlook the fact that this is a 3,000 word essay citing FACTS for each of your points? You need to learn to read beyond the title. The only true statement you made here is that you spelled my name correctly.

      • Hi Heather – Tom Rogers here. I wrote a longer comment under your “Hunting for Fallicies” blog post. I just went back and re-read my comments and found myself to be terribly inarticulate and sloppy. I would love it if you wouldn’t mind removing my comments. Thanks very much Heather!


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  7. By coincidence I came across this article and all I can say is holy crap……

    Your bias has obviously hindered your objectivity. So much of what you’ve said doesn’t even make sense in the realm of opinion

    It’s beyond obvious that you have no interest in truly exploring both sides of this coin and that’s unfortunate for your readers. Feel free to drop a line if I am incorrect in making that assumption….

    A fellow horse owner/lover and ex vegetarian who ACTUALLY researched with an open mind and now is an avid bow hunter/conservationist…..who is nothing like you painted all hunters to be with a single colored broad stroke brush….

      • I’m not sure where to begin honestly. To respond to all of your misconceptions and all out fallicies I’d need to construct an article longer than yours. I can respond via email or here bit by bit. It’s completely up to you. I do appreciate you not just deleting my concern.

        Transparency is so important when it comes to fairly debating topics like this.

      • I thought you had researched it already? If you’re going to attempt to refute me, please ensure that you provide some reputable examples and citations, or peer-reviewed studies, if available. I get too much of “my opinion is better than yours” already.

  8. Not all hunters are sport hunters. Just as there is diversity in everything in life, there is diversity in hunting. Some people hunt for horns, some people hunt to survive, and in between those two extremes is usually where the vast majority of hunters fall.

    Where I live there are no wolves. Small coyotes can and do take fawns but in general the population doesn’t have much in the way of predators. Save for our winters there isn’t much to challenge their survival or cull them naturally. Land and resources are PLENTIFUL.

    Two years ago the MN DNR changed the amount of deer a hunter could harvest from two, to one, annually. As a result the amount of vehicles hitting deer on the roadways skyrocketed. We live rurally so there isn’t a tremendous amount of traffic, still, people getting seriously injured during these collisions and deer carcasses littering the ditches became a huge concern.

    The overpopulation here has NOTHING to do with the conservation efforts made by hunters and everything to do with the bountiful resources God blessed this area with. I’m not sure where you stand, but I’d much prefer to see people putting that excess in the freezer to feed their families naturally, as opposed to letting it rot in a ditch or suffer.


    • What point are you refuting? I never claimed that everyone was a sport hunter. Really, the whole blog post refutes the assertion that hunters can manage the environment. If you have no top level predators where you live then that is part of the problem. So there’s no wolves, are there also no cougars/mountain lions? And if you’re going to tell me that god created everything, well, that’s another subject entirely for this atheist. There’s no evidence of god either. Citing god is not going to directly refute anything I’ve written.

      • If you don’t think hunters can manage the environment you should check out my “backyard”……

        As well as the hundreds of thousands of QDMA members “backyards”……

        If we’re not helping to create and sustain healthier populations I’m not sure what you’d call it.

        We may harvest two deer off our property annually but what we invest physically and monetarily gets 100’s more through the hard winters here and keeps them off the roads. We know the biology of the species and respect what gender to harvest as well as when to best avoid inbreeding (which is insanely common amongst unmanaged areas)

        I resent your assertions that hunting is selfish and mindless. It is by far the greatest passion I hold in my heart outside of my family. My children watched a doe deliver a fawn just off of our actual backyard this spring and then they scouted it daily, watching it grow. Experiencing and respecting the life cycles in nature is an awesome gift to give future generations.

      • Jessica, I’ve already presented actual evidence to the contrary. I explain WHY hunters think they are managing an ecosystem and WHY the whole thing has to be subsidized by the government, which means that hunting is not self-sustainable nor ecological. If hunters truly wanted to get rid of overabundant animals and manage pests, they’d be down at the dump taking potshots at rats. If you’re just going to re-post and tell me how offended you are at not only my research, but that of actual biologists, then I think we’ve reached the end of our correspondence here.

    • Btw, I don’t need to research biased links…..I live in the culture itself and have seen both sides. Just as I couldn’t pretend to know European culture by simply reading what others have said about it, I wouldn’t be speaking about this topic unless I’d experienced it myself.

      To get an unbiased picture, one has to experience to truly know. That your opinion is sooo one sided tells me that it won’t matter what I link to, you’re not going to be open minded enough to consider it and based on your response I’m starting to wonder if you’re just looking to goad me into an internet pissing match.

      That you don’t know that it’s extremely common for hunters to ask property owners for access to their land, tells me you haven’t delved far enough. It has nothing to do with what’s available there, because for most hunters getting out into nature is worth far more to them than the actual harvest.

      That you believe that all hunters think they are the only solution to conservation concerns is incredibly odd to me. Nearly ever hunter I know believes it’s far more ethical to shoot an animal and take it’s life quickly, and with purpose, as opposed to allowing it to suffer and then ultimately go to waste.

      CWD is easily identifiable and those animals are culled. It’s not a choice a hunter has to make taking a sick individual over a healthy one. There are hunts held specifically to contain those affected, just as there are to handle EHD (which I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned here as it affects far more than CWD ever has).

      Jesse Ventura, despite your quoting him, is far from anti hunter lol. You took what he said completely our of context.

      I am a bow hunter. I am extremely accurate because I invest in my skill nearly every day year round. Every bow hunter I know does the same. The ultimate goal is to harvest the animal with as little suffering as possible. I take great offense at you calling what I do cruel. I can hit a target the size of a quarter at 60 yards although I rarely shoot a deer at more than 30. Why? Because it would crush me if an animal suffered at my hand. It’s as much about the respect of the animal as it is about me aiding my local populations and feeding my family a food that wasn’t grown cruelly in a factory farm that’s been pumped full of hormones and chemicals.

      The only time I’ll call someone a hypocrite is if they’re calling what I do cruel while eating animals that were deprived of ever seeing the light of day, walking in the grass or living a normal dignified life. Don’t preach to me if you eat McDonald’s or buy eggs from caged chickens you know? I think that’d be the definition of the word according to every dictionary on the planet.

      Nature observers needs to be clarified. Are we talking avid bird watchers that invest in the property around them for the birds sake? Or are people that don’t mind watching a pigeon waddle by included in those numbers?

      If you really want stats about how much hunters TRULY invest in the land you walk on I’ll dig them up later tonight.

      • That’d right. No wolves, cougars or mountain lions. I live in midwest Minnesota. Feel free to confirm that if you like.

        There really are very few even in the most northern part of the state.

        And that’s exactly what I’m talking about
        It seems as if you’ve taken a very small cross section of what those around you have experienced and declared that typical, as well as factual. It may very well be appropriate to peg things the way you have when referencing what is immediately surrounding you but by no means do you then have a right to peg everything and everyone that same way.
        You speak in many absolutes. You use “many” sometimes but otherwise use that broadstroke of just plain “hunters” or “bow hunters” as in all. That’s where I’m taking major offense, especially because souch of what you’re saying about such lathe groups of individuals is offensively incorrect.

      • If you intend to refute my scientifically based assertions by opinion only, I’m sorry but your argument fails. Yes, it may be common for hunters to ask permission to access land, but let’s face it, how many HORSE FARMS want shooting going on with horses in paddocks? Be reasonable! That is exactly the context I was referring to in both examples I gave of hunters venturing onto private property. In both instances it was obvious there were horses standing around, so I can only question the hunters’ judgement.

        I wrote a fair bit about anthropomorphization, which I think covers your commentary about “hunters believing they should end an animal’s life quickly.” You make my point very well for me. I don’t eat meat, so no worries about my eating at McDonalds LOL. And I didn’t personally preach to you – you found my blog and commented on it. Not the other way round. And it’s ridiculous to assert that hunters are removing animals so that they don’t suffer – hunters usually strive for the best example of an animal they can find, not the sickliest.

        And please re-read the section I wrote about CWD. I explained in detail why hunters (and government biologists) are often lulled into the suspicion that they can eradicate it.

        I worked as a government biologist for many years myself, doing some field work and also working with c.difficile and tuberculosis in a lab. I’m not merely speaking as a horse person who was offended when a hunter wandered on the property. I told you originally that if you had facts I would look at them, but anecdotal experiences are not facts.

  9. Thank you for a cited, scientifically based article. I tire of the banter between hunters & anti-hunters with no viable evidence outside of opinion. I oppose trophy hunting & get a lot of flack from hunter friends who quote the same inaccurate arguments listed above. I’ve shared it on my FB page & hope to educate some of my hunter friends.

  10. Whoa, sorry, I wrote that in my pajamas while I was still waking up on Saturday morning. Please forgive the many typos and grammatical errors in there! “…poaching rates WHEN down…” Seriously?? That’s pretty embarrassing! Sorry, I should have proofread before submitting.

  11. Hi Heather – any thoughts on these comments? I’ve been hoping you’d want to engage in a friendly discussion about this and I’ve been so curious what your thoughts are on it. Thanks!

      • Hi there Heather. Just wanted to check in again to see if you’ve had a chance to take a look at this and have any thoughts on my response. It seems like this is something that you’re very passionate about and you’ve clearly thought a lot about it, so I’m really interested to hear what you have to say!
        Happy New Year!

  12. Hi Heather – I thought you might enjoy taking a look at this article in the New York Times about a trophy hunt that supports rhino conservation in Namibia.

    It’s a difficult and messy situation, but Namibia seems to be doing well in conserving wildlife. There are a couple of great quotes that I like. One talking about the idea that if animals like cougars, wolves, or in this case rhinos, are a hunted trophy species, that it can actually decrease poaching rates: “The theory behind the conservancy idea was that tolerance for wildlife would increase and poaching would dwindle, because community ownership made the illegal killing feel like stealing from the neighbors. And it has worked.”

    The other that selling the rights to hunt a few individuals can be beneficial to the funding of conservation programs for the population: “Trophy hunting one rhino may thus save many others from being butchered.”

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  14. Very wonderful, detailed comment! You appear to have researched both sides and are not blindly attacking the opposing arguments. I think I have gotten more out of this then I have the article.

    Thank you for the food for thought.

    • Sorry, I forgot to mention one thing I noticed, I do love your argument but this part:

      “Agriculture now takes up 40% of the surface of the earth. Cities take up 3%. Towns, roads, lawns, suburban sprawl are probably another 10%.”

      Is inaccurate because you are saying that 53% of the earth’s surface is developed. The problem is 71% of the earth’s surface is water (


    • Thanks for the comments. I meant to write the that 53% of land area of the earth has been developed by humans, not the entire surface of the earth.

  15. People that hunt have a stupid mindset that says they control population of certain species that would otherwise without their interference over populate. These are the same illiterate people that try to use science and evolutionary biology to support their actions, when they don’t have a degree in any of these things, and most of them don’t even go to school. All I’m saying is that most animals population is already diminishing because of major human interferences (deforestation, habitat destruction, overfishing, invasive species…) so why on Earth do they think they need to ‘help’ control the population more? Honestly they’re so stupid. Thanks for this article.

  16. What you wrote deserves serious praise. It was so well done and your facts are indisputable!! Saved this as a favorite article/website. I hope these hunters read your work!!! Excellent writing. Thank you for doing this.

  17. Thank you for posting this. I too, as someone who knows the facts (the real facts) that hunting should be outlawed. Only natural predators should be doing the hunting, NOT humans. Those pictures make me sick, those people smiling about what theyve done. They literally dont get it. Theyre smiling out of ignorance. They just dont understand. Humans are not natural predators and it is not our role in the ecosystem to kill animals. All hunting should be Banned. Outlawed. Illegalized. Ended once and for all. It makes me sick to my stomach.

  18. Hunting has numerous positive effects on the environment. These include the large economic benefit to wild life conservation through hunting equipment taxes, hunting license sales, and usage fees not to mention all the money spent yearly by hunters on equipment, hunting trips, and guide services. Hunters also contribute to the making the environment better by contributing large amounts of time and money to hunter run conservation groups that work to increase wildlife habitat and population

  19. I stumbled across your article moments ago, sighed, read through your presentation, and I should have simply moved on about my evening. Saner heads did not prevail and here I am. My first critique of your work: You seemingly talk about hunters in general, as in all hunters collectively, yet your supporting data comes largely from Canadian sources. Had you simply made the distinction that your are only arguing the practices and claims of Canadian hunters, I would probably not be wasting my time with a response to this article. You didn’t, though, and for that reason your data is somewhat useless. Your facts, which come from sources whose reputations as being accurate and unbiased are questionable at best, are completely unrepresentative of the entire world’s population of hunters and their collective effects on nature, the economy, etc. I ultimately could stop here. Your article– your argument– is useless if you cannot present accurate, representative data of what you are disputing. Your ‘American stats’ on economic impact of hunting versus wildlife observation were: Strike one- from 2007 and out of date, Strike two- from a completely biased and non-peer reviewed source, and Strike 3 – not even accessible anymore. I plead with you, if you feel the need to argue with sound science, USE peer-reviewed legitimate sources. If so inclined, I could likely hand pick from a bevvy of websites and fire useless statistics back at you about the $60+ billion American hunters spent in 2011 on hunting alone. But it is ultimately as useless as the filler in your article. Why? Because it is not relevant. I do realize I am getting to this a couple of years since its creation, however my argument stands. Your research is sloppy and unrepresentative of the entire population you are trying to dispute. For a woman who boasts using science to prove points, your certainly chose your sources poorly. To end on a not so sour note, I wish you luck with future articles and attempts to seduce meat-eaters into converting to vegetarian lifestyles.

    • Joe, first off let me thank you for your link-checking validation. Unfortunately, since this article was written even before I started my blog, some of the links are older, and sadly, my link-checker doesn’t recognize when context has been changed by the owners of the pages as opposed to finding a true 404 error. I will make a point to rectify this in the near future, so that they are all reflective of the initial references.

      Secondly, I am quite used to the tactics employed by many hunters who make “drive-by commentaries” about the accuracy of links etc. etc. without actually refuting anything with their own, presumably better studies/knowledge. So that’s a big red herring, sorry. And of all my links, virtually all are suitably cross-referenced to other studies. Hunters spend money not for conservation, but to preserve conditions for their hunting. If they were true conservationists, they’d give money for true conservation efforts without being guaranteed the opportunity to hunt.

      What about the links to the Canadian government’s own stats? The various .edu references? The Lotka-Volterra equation, formulated by mathematicians, rather than hunters. Somehow, they are insufficient for your purposes? And really, at what point do statistics become irrelevant? If statistics, which capture information at a point in time are irrelevant, we should wipe all older information from the internet as well, perhaps only the last decade’s worth of data is suitable for most people’s purposes……because the rest of the archival information is just, well, old.

      I am Canadian, so the majority of my references are Canadian. I don’t see a problem. Why do Americans think everything they read on the internet must have been written by and for another Americans? Perhaps American hunters can stay in their own country, and then they will not be subject to criticism on Canadian blogs.

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