Misconceptions about Hunting
Have you ever heard this? “Why would they hunt animals that are going extinct?” You look over your shoulder and you see its two men having a heated debate about hunting. After this morning’s news story about the Rhino Horn that was confiscated in South Africa, everyone’s been talking about it. Ricky Gervais even commented on it. But you know there’s something inherently wrong with that question. It implies that these poachers are in fact being associated with hunters. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is just one of so many misconceptions surrounding Hunting. The worst thing is that these misconceptions are shaping people’s opinions about hunting and are causing it to be a very controversial subject. Let’s look at some of these misconceptions and why they are so far removed from the truth.
1. Hunting is harmful to the Environment
A common opinion is that hunting hurts the natural order of the food chain and in that way, it is destroying ecosystems. For one, hunting helps control the overpopulation of species in certain regions where there is a lack of natural predators. Regulated hunting that removes a certain amount of certain species a year cannot be alone the blame for the decline in animal populations or destruction of habitats. Trophy hunting only removes a very small percentage (0.6-2%) of an animal population. Regulated trophy hunting is, therefore, more advantageous for the protection of habitats and has no negative ecological implications.
2. Hunting exterminates the wildlife population
Another misconception closely related to point number 1 is that hunting exterminates the wildlife population or that endangered species are not protected against hunting. In reality, if a hunter is hunting an animal LEGALLY that animal is not endangered. There are many laws in place to ensure that hunting is done in a controlled way and does not threaten the environment. It is important to draw a distinction here between hunting and poaching. Poaching is totally illegal and only motivated by the value of an animal’s horns, antlers, hide, etc… Regulated hunting, on the other hand, aims to improve the ecosystem and benefit the population of wildlife.
3. Hunting is cruel and inhumane
Some think that hunting is extremely cruel and hunters take joy in an animal’s suffering. This simply is not the case. Hunters take great pride in being as efficient as possible when taking an animal’s life. Wounding without killing an animal is generally frowned upon by the hunting community at large. They are extremely focused on landing their shot on the right place to put the animal down as quickly as possible. It is easy to have a more romantic idea of how an animal dies in the wild, but the alternative to hunting is a much more morbid one. Starvation due to overpopulation, disease, fatal wounds sustained in a fight, etc… all these are a much more accurate description of “cruelty”.
4. Hunting is just for men
Although many believe hunting is reserved for men alone, in recent years it has gained more and more popularity among women and youth also. It is not uncommon to see a Father and Son duo booking an African Safari here at Leopard Legend. Likewise, we also see plenty of couples and family units enjoying their hunting experience here. It is an activity that can bring families closer together, teaching children an element of discipline, patience, survival and respect for wildlife.
5. Hunters are selfish and wasteful
Another myth many believe about hunting is that it is wasteful. This is probably another problem with associating hunters with the poachers you see on the news.
The Namibian government initiated the Communal Conservancy Program. This program is aimed at helping rural communities who have minimal job opportunities but have an abundance of natural resources such as wildlife. This abundance of wildlife aids job-creation creates additional incomes and provides incentives for practical nature conservation. By placing a financial value on wildlife, it lends support to conservation efforts and tolerance of those wild animals. This is precisely why Namibia’s government announced in March 2016 that it opposes any call to ban or restrict hunting and the export of wildlife products from Namibia. The country’s economic stability is dependent on the wildlife business. However, all hunting in Namibia is based on game counts and a management plan, which has to be approved by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism via strict quotas. Trophy hunting is of critical importance for the financial sustainability of the Communal Conservancy Program. It can be concluded that this Program has dramatically contributed to social upliftment and economic empowerment of the Namibian people.