Hunters Are Not Environmentalists

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.

Photo: swanksalot


William C
William C1 years ago


W. C
W. C1 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Hairyman B.
Hairyman B.5 years ago

So hunters spend time in the outdoors and enjoy it.... Only to be told by a city dwelling ideology that they're doing it wrong.... Spend some time around a disturbed habitat then we can talk about "nature".

Colin Wright
Past Member 5 years ago

There are TONS of ways to keep animal populations in check but do you really expect anyone to write a post on this page with thousands of characters explaining even one way to do so? If you really want to debate people on whether killing is a valid form of conservationism, I suggest that this is not the right venue.

For the record, my opinion is that killing is NEVER the right answer, in part because if you allow one instance of killing as the right answer it opens up the "slippery slope". There is no arbitrary line that can be drawn in the sand. Pretty soon every individual will be crying "you let ____ kill, then why not me?" This is the same argument against other forms of killing as well.

As long as people are allowed to kill for any reason, animals will never be safe from any form of cruelty.

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Michael J.
Michael J.6 years ago

I am a hunter and a very active Enviromentalist. I am not going to agrue that yes their are hunters out there for the kill. I ask everyone though have we forgotten our true enviromentalist? The native americans worshiped our beautiful earth and loved and prayed to the animal that gave their life. I grew up around native americans and took alot of their beliefs.
Just because someone hunts does not mean that they do not love their enviroment or respect and love the animals that they harvest. Thats a very one sided artical. As long as the animals hHave had a full life I do not kill a animal that has not lived a full life. I dont kill many animals because of that but thats ok. Where i grew up we didnt have stores that were not a long drive away so we lived off of the land. So really common and wake up

Marie B.
Past Member 7 years ago

People who RESPECT nature do NOT destroy it. Murdering animals isn't "getting back to nature" it is a despicable blood lust that has no place in 2011. There is no need to mass murder free living animals.
Hunting is a MULTI BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY that profits from the maiming, mutilating and murder of wildlife..Hunting is nothing more than 'legalized' animal cruelty. Each year, apologists for hunting are pressed to justify their violent, unethical deer-killing schemes bolstered by state wildlife agencies which profit from hunting.
Hunting is on the decline, and has been for years. It's no longer acceptable to call hunting "recreation" or "sport". Hunters invent social benefits to excuse their killings: "protecting" deer from "over-population" or people from disease, or feeding the hungry (people who genuinely CARE about feeding the hungry will work directly with the needy and supply them with a VARIETY of nutritious food--NOT spend time and money stalking and seeking murder victims and drop a corpse off just to get rid of their "trash" and then act like they've done a charitable thing).

Hunters are NOT environmentalists. They are mass murderers.

Laurita Walters
Laurita Walters7 years ago

I hunt, I kill, I eat meat. I am an environmentalist. I know hunters who are and hunters who are not. Much of what I learned about preservation and conservation, I learned in hunting camp from other hunters. It is a way to get back to nature. There are right ways and wrong ways of doing a thing, including hunting. Crossing "No Hunting" borders is always wrong. Always. Always! --but hunting is not always wrong. Rather than demonize, educate.

Thank you.

Kathleen D.
Kathleen D7 years ago

Diane; you query as to who I was referring to was Colleen because there is never a commnon sense answer how to keep wildlife from suffering due to herds growing out of control, drought, wild fire, culling, diesease, etc. There are also pat answers but those pat answers do not change the perils facing these animals if herds are not kept in check. No; birth control for wildlife, selling cookies, etc., are not common sense approaches to keeping the numbers within reason or keeping lands safe from fires, or, drought. Anyone can come up with a 'pat' answer but it is tirng hearing the same old 'hunting, eating meat, killing for one's own pleasure' has gotten really old and all vegans who've posted in this forum have proposed nothing that would make sense long term.

Diane L.
Diane L7 years ago

Kathleen, I hope your comments about asking questons about where I stand were meant for Colleen, and not me? I thought I'd explained where I stood very well, but wouldn't be the first time I was misunderstood,I guess. If it was meant for me, send me a memo and I'll try to explain better. If it was meant for Colleen, then it will have to be her that explains.

I can't speak for Colleen, as I said before. I "took" her original comment,the one you find "snarky" as meaning something different than you did, that's all. I was more or less trying to defuse another situation from escalating that might be from a mere misunderstanding. Trust me, I have a bit of trouble understanding what Colleen means a lot, and she even told me in a private message that she was glad that somebody "got it" as to what she meant, which was after I had sent her a "green star" for a comment she made in the "Cat" discusson which I took for being supportive of those of us not favoring a vegan diet for cats.

Yes, our experiences with hunters is vastly different. For example, I know people who have posted their property with signs exactly as depicted in the photo for this discussion and on "Opening Day", been awakened by gunfire and found a bunch of idiots wearing orange vests walking thru their pastures! When asked what they were doing there, did they NOT see the signs, the answer was, "Sure, we saw 'em! Didn't think that meant US! We have permits!".