When you think about hunting, you probably think of it as a challenge, a sport, or a primitive means of survival. But it’s also a crucial tool for protecting the habitats of endangered species and keeping the ecosystem balanced. Read ahead to discover why hunting is a form of conservation.
Consider the coyote. Once upon a time, it was limited to roaming the western states. Now, thanks to its ability to adapt, the coyote has invaded every one of the continental states. It’s hard to say just how many there are because they reproduce so rapidly. A female coyote can give birth to more than 120 babies in her lifetime. We can try to slow them down, but because they’re smart and will eat anything, their population is growing out of control.
The same goes for the feral hog. They were originally boars shipped to the American East for hunting practice. Now, they’ve escaped into at least 45 states and are outwitting the hunters. They travel in packs, and if provoked, all 300 pounds of ugly, angry hog will charge at you at 11 miles per hour. Hunters have taken to stalking them at night just to even the odds.
These animals are multiplying so quickly that they’re destroying the delicate balance of nature. Here are just a few of these fiends’ offenses:
- Spreading diseases and parasites to animals and humans
- Trampling entire harvests of crops
- Destroying fences and property
- Feasting on pets, baby deer, and pretty much anything they can get in their mouths
As they forage for food and expand their territory, these nuisance animals forge their own paths—right through the habitats of other wildlife, including endangered ones. Boars and coyotes even trundle through conservation areas meant to protect endangered plants and animals. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy taking aim at them because they’re a good way to keep their shooting skills sharp, but in the end, hunting is really a form of conservation.
Wildlife experts estimate that hunters must kill 70 percent of these animals just to maintain their populations. If you or anyone you know is looking for something to do, suggest that they take up hunting as a new hobby. We will all thank them—and they can keep the meat.