Aishwarya Kasaju, Staff Writer
As we enter into the chilliness of December, hunting season is coming to a close. The period of time in which regular firearms are allowed to be used in Michigan for deer hunting is until December 15. At the turn of the 20th century, deer populations were hitting an all time low but organizations were able to maintain these numbers thanks to the creation of hunting seasons. At one point in time, hunting was necessary for people’s survival in the 21st century, it’s mainly for sport and that’s the problem.
One of the main goals of hunting is to track down the buck with the best looking antlers. “Hunters kill about 300,000 deer annually, most of them bucks” (Kelly House). This is a negative for the deer population because humans are enforcing their own version of survival of the fittest which is actually harming the population as these bucks will no longer be able to reproduce to create more bucks with flashy antlers. “Killing the stronger members of the species leaves a permanent consequence for the species as a whole” (Robert J. Knell and Carlos Martinez-Ruiz).
As well as disrupting the genetics of the population, hunting disrupts the balance of nature. “The delicate balance of ecosystems ensures their survival—if they are left unaltered” (PETA). In the late 19th and early 20th century, the DNR called for the removal of wolves in Michigan because of the disturbance they caused amongst farmers and other civilians. For this reason, hunters try to justify their practice by saying they’re maintaining the deer population when, in reality, deer overpopulation is a man-made problem.
Hunters will also justify their actions by saying that deer interfere with the human population and cause harm in that matter. Over 50,000 motor vehicle-deer crashes have been reported in the last year, 10 of those resulting in death. However, “studies show that car/deer collisions increase during hunting season because hunters frighten the deer out of the woods” (Insurance Information Institute). On top of that, hunters often injure other hunters, civilians, livestock, and domestic animals that get caught in their crossfire. “Hundreds of people have died in hunting accidents in the past decade” (Randall T. Loder and Neil Farren).
A concept that people seem to lack understanding of is the fact that animals have feelings, families, and lives of their own. Hunters often don’t kill their target but simply wound them and are unfit to finish the job, leaving the deer to suffer. “Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed by hunters” (PETA). Even when deer are killed, these losses have impacts amongst their herd which change their actions. Behavioral characteristics are genetic and get passed down, changing future populations.
Although there are still people that rely on hunting deer for their livelihood, most only take up this pastime for personal enjoyment and entertainment. Lives are destroyed and communities disturbed while the hunter gets a new piece of decoration for his wall. We all know about the YellowStone National Park where 5 wolves were reintroduced which eventually changed the entire ecosystem. Always remember to maintain the equilibrium of the nature and have a great Hunting Season!