A farmer wants to harvest more corn from a field so he grows more plants. But he doesn’t get more corn. Why?
More plants diminished the nutrients that each received, lessening production.
In other words, he couldn’t grow more corn because his field had a finite carrying capacity.
Farmers understand this.
So do wildlife managers. That’s why we have hunting seasons for deer, turkey, and other game. That’s also one of the main reasons that big game hunting is allowed in Africa.
I mention this for two reasons:
1. The furor that Kendall Jones has created recently among “animal lovers” by posting photos of her big game kills in Africa.
2. These same people, who know nothing about wildlife management and ecological balance, would like nothing better than to prohibit both hunting and recreational fishing worldwide.
And they are hateful, malicious, and unrelenting in their zeal and ignorance.
A tweet (now deleted) from singer Diane Warren: “I wish someone would hunt that texas cheerleader bitch animal murderer and hang her head in a lions den. But what do I really think…— Diane Warren”
A petition at Change.org to ban Jones from Africa collected more than 100,000 signatures with this incredibly naïve concept of wildlife management:
“Kendall Jones is an American-born hunter who has entered the continent and has been hunting African wildlife under the facade of conservation. She has publicly stated that she hopes to have a television hunting show and she is using endangered and helpless African animals as a stepping stone to further her popularity on social media platforms . . .
“With enough support globally we can take a step in the right direction with regards to animal conservation, and help put an end to practices such as these, in hopes of conserving what precious little is left of our natural world.”
And a caption of Jones with an elephant in the International Business Times said this: “African elephants are being hunted to extinction and are now critically endangered.”
That’s not true. In some countries, they were nearly poached to extinction. In others, their numbers must be reduced regularly. Jones did not kill a “critically endangered” elephant.
This post, however, is not about Kendall Jones, her character, or her motivation. It’s about hunting in the 21st century.
The truth is that we cannot have healthy and sustainable populations of many wildlife species without management. That’s because we share this planet with them, and, with our cities and farms, have diminished the habitat available for them. Just as a field can’t grow an infinite amount of corn, a forest can’t sustain an infinite number of deer.
What happens when wildlife aren’t harvested by hunters to manage their numbers? Conflicts increase, often with harm occurring to both animals and people, as well as property. Also, more animals are likely to die of disease and starvation when their numbers reach unsustainable levels.
Additionally, as hunters and anglers already know, they are the real conservationists because they put their money where their mouth is. What they spend to hunt and fish goes directly for management, betterment, and, yes, even protection of wildlife, whether in the United States or Africa. In this country, hundreds of millions of dollars annually are collected through excise taxes on hunting gear and fishing tackle and then distributed to the states through the Wildlife and Fish Restoration Program.
In many countries of Africa, meanwhile, the huge fees that big game hunters pay to shoot individual animals go to overall protection of the species. And they do not shoot “endangered” species, as Change.org alleged.
Also, animals shot legally are worth much more to local economies than those that are illegally poached. And as hunters keep numbers to what is sustainable for the habitat available, they reduce wildlife damage to crops and villages.
But facts mean little to the millions of people like Diane Warren who know nothing about ecological balance and what we must do if we want to continue sharing the finite resources of this planet with a multitude of wildlife species.
They don’t want us to hunt and fish, and, as I’ve said before, they are unrelenting. While we are out enjoying a day in the woods or on the water, they are working actively to soil our image, and, ultimately, prohibit us from enjoying those pastimes that define us as a nation of sportsmen and conservationists.
And if we aren’t ever vigilant in promoting hunting and fishing, and the many benefits that they provide both to us as a society and to wildlife in general, we will lose.