• 57°

Hunting is good for us and the animals

By Joseph L. Bass

A recent Suffolk News-Herald article reported a decline in hunting in the Great Dismal Swamp.

As more Americans move into urban areas and fewer are introduced to harvesting organically grown meat, there has been a decline in numbers of hunters in the fields.

There has also been a concerted effort by the mainstream media to attempt to portray hunting as politically incorrect. This is typical of the media in reporting anything related to firearms. Notice there isn’t such an effort portraying fishing as a negative activity.

As with most media coverage dealing with firearms, only selected issues are covered. Reporting focuses on trophy hunters who are only interested in hanging something on the wall.

Other types of negative coverage involve children’s movies such as the 1942 movie Bambi with the animals being presented with human characteristics. Hunters are portrayed as heartless killers that devalue wild animals and conservation.

But positives exist regarding hunting that are not reported. Any information on the value of hunting to people and animals is rare. Consider the following.

The Izaak Walton League, founded in 1922, was the first wildlife and habitat conservation organization in the United States. It was formed by people who participated in fishing and hunting. Prior to this time, wildlife populations had declined dramatically because of the “success” of market hunters who sold their game on the open market and because of deforestation through unregulated lumbering and urban growth.

When I was a child in Oklahoma not much big game existed in the state because of attempts to farm land that should have been used for grazing. Now this practice has been curtailed, and large game animals, such as deer, elk, bear and turkey, have rebounded.

Doctors recommend people with heart disease eat meat acquired from hunting. All meat purchased in grocery stores is high in fat, because it is farm raised, including venison and bison.

Hunting and fishing is a good and inexpensive source of protein. Although I have met a few that might be considered trophy hunters, nearly all the hunters I know do so for the food.

When I was a child, my family had a self-organized “hunters for the hungry” program. We were both the hunters and the hungry. I know families today that gain considerable amounts of protein for their tables from hunting.

And finally, game populations that haven’t been thinned from hunting can develop diseases, causing its numbers to decline.

At one time, hunting was prohibited in the Great Dismal Swamp. Hunting became necessary to protect the existing animals. Today the animal population has rebounded and is healthy, but the negative conditions will return if the area is not hunted by an adequate number of people interested in supplementing their family’s refrigerators and dinner tables.

People should consider this information and not be taken in by mainstream negative propaganda dealing with firearms. Effective application of an inexpensive single-barreled shotgun can result in your family being well fed with healthier food than that found in stores.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.