A recent survey of hunters shows that the biggest motivating factors for hunting are spending time outdoors and being close to nature.
The study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison surveyed hunters in Wisconsin about their motivations for hunting and found that 98% rated “spending time outdoors” as either very or extremely motivating, and 92% gave the same rating to “being close to nature”.
Fairly low on the list were “obtaining meat” with 60% rating it either very or extremely motivating, and only 19% listed “getting trophy animals” as a major motivator.
The study itself was part of a larger research project for hunting groups to use for recruitment and retention of members, which likely means these groups will focus on those motivators ranked highest as recruitment tools.
There is a dangerous irony in the characterization of hunters as lovers of the outdoors. Hunting does incalculable damage to the environment, not just by the number of animals it kills, but by hunting advocacy groups’ heavy-handed dictation of “conservation” and “wildlife” policies.
Hunters and their organizations like to champion themselves as conservationists who love nature and the outdoors because fees and taxes on guns and hunting licenses go toward government conservation and wildlife agencies. However these organizations’ primary goals are not to maintain biodiversity or advocate in the best interests of parks and animals, but rather to ensure game populations for the benefit of hunters.
The money contributed by hunters doesn’t help the environment, it simply gives hunting groups more bargaining power to dictate wildlife policy. Hunting practices like introducing non-native species, canned hunts, and “buck only” deer seasons, which throw off the natural gender balance in deer populations, are all obvious contradictions to the lofty aims espoused by hunting groups of conservation and population maintenance.
Hunters cannot call themselves environmentalists or conservationists simply by virtue of paying hunting fees that fund a bureaucracy in place to protect their own interests over the interests of animals and the environment.
Marching into the woods armed to the teeth carrying rifles with long-distance scopes to kill animals from hundreds of feet sounds more like premeditated murder than the bucolic naturewalk that hunting groups would like you to imagine.
Hunting is just like any other bloodsport, which is just like any slaughterhouse or factory farm. It’s one more exploitation of the animal population that endorses merciless killing. Take a stand against murder, go vegan. Boycott all industries that profit from animal exploitation and if you want to be close to nature, go on a hike.