Is Hunting Ethical? NWTF Representatives Weigh In

Read what seven different hunting personalities say to the question, "Would you consider hunting ethical? Why or why not?" To most, their answers are not surprising, but definitely thought provoking.

Dr. James Earl Kennamer, Ph. D., NWTF Development Advisor

“By all means, yes. If you look at the evolution of mankind, hunting was necessary to obtain food for the early humans. Through history, the hunter refined his tools to be more efficient at taking the animals he hunted, including wild turkeys. As a result, which is evident in today’s grocery stores, customers are willing to pay someone else to kill, clean and package their meat for the table. But, there is still hundreds of tons of meat taken by hunters that reaches the dinner table for food every day. Some people of today enjoy the chase of hunting to obtain meat that is organically grown, sanitarily cleaned, butchered and prepared for the table by their own hands, for their families. Hunting is ethical, provided it is by fair chase in the modern world.”

Brenda Valentine, NWTF Spokesperson, writer and TV personality

“I absolutely consider hunting an ethical means of obtaining consumptive protein, and also, as a management tool when needed. However, as ethical and necessary to good wildlife conservation as hunting is, there will always be a tiny percentage of unethical people that call themselves hunters casting a shadow on this most basic act of providing sustenance. Thankfully, these few do not represent the majority of sincere men and women that contribute to the future of wildlife through the purchase of hunting licenses, supporting conservation and hunting organizations, as well as conducting themselves in an exemplary manner when afield.”

Michael Waddell, NWTF Spokesperson and host of Bone Collector

“In every aspect of it, I see hunting as ethical. How could it be judged any other way? Biblical reference even says that man and woman were given dominion over wildlife and fisheries, which means these renewable resources are here for us to use and protect, for our existence. We are talking about wild animals that run in the presence of humans. We don’t just walk out the door, shoot and kill them. It takes skill and understanding to be successful when shopping in God’s grocery store! So many times hunting gets lost in today’s society, but without the hunter or hunting in general, society itself would have never existed. The bottom line is: There haven’t always been super markets for us to get our meat and vegetables at, and back straps don’t grow on trees like apples or pears. If grocery stores go away, how could anyone answer this question about hunting ethics as they looked for a way to feed their family? By understanding this, I think it’s completely acceptable, and even respectable, for us to enjoy the hunt and kill no different than a farmer who enjoys watching and harvesting his crops. We should be proud of our accomplishments as we meet the challenge of hunting wild game. Even the trophy hunter can’t be disputed, because they are contributing to conservation. We are managing wildlife populations and constantly breaking records, which only means our herds, flocks and fisheries are getting healthier and stronger every year because of the hunter.”

Jana Waller, NWTF Spokesperson and host of Skull Bound TV

“I would assume the answer will greatly vary depending on who is answering. It is my opinion that hunting, in the general sense of the act ‘to hunt,’ is not only ethical, but necessary; necessary for many reasons, but primarily for the purpose of consumption and its ecological impact on wildlife. I, first and foremost, believe that we, as a human species, were meant to hunt both for food, and to help manage the predator-prey relationship. There are many arguments made by anti-hunters that hunting is not necessary to survive in today’s day and age, but it is my opinion that just because we can buy boxed pop tarts and mac n’ cheese, doesn’t mean that we have to. I believe all animals, birds and fish are beautiful creatures, put here to help sustain our bodies and our souls through the process of hunting and fishing. I prefer to have a connection to my food, know where it comes from, eat organic and lean proteins, as well as help manage wild game populations.”

Steven Rinella, New York Times best selling Author and host of MeatEater

“If you are going to eat meat and use animal by products, hunting is absolutely ethical. My only gripe is with people who believe their lifestyle of eating meat is okay, but believe you are somehow morally compromised if you hunt for your own, as though being involved in the production of your own meat is somehow more vicious than being a step or two removed from it. If someone comes to me and is an honest-to-goodness vegan and they do not believe in harming animals under any circumstance, I have no argument with them. I’m not interested in trying to talk them out of their perspective, because I’m not going to move them one way or the other, and they probably won’t move me either. It is just a peaceful truce. We all have different worldviews.”

Julie McQueen, Co-host of Til Death Do Us Part

“If we didn’t think that hunting was ethical, then we wouldn’t participate in it. The act of hunting in itself is not unethical. It’s a tradition and a heritage that has been passed down from the beginning of time. It’s a God-given right and it’s our love of nature and wildlife that keeps us practicing and working on our skills to make a quick and ethical harvest. Many different methods of hunting are not just ethical but completely necessary for the future of wildlife. However, I believe that the question of ethics comes into play when people begin to experiment with different methods of taking an animal. If someone decides they want to experiment with a new method that’s never been used before and it doesn’t result in a clean kill, then it may be unethical.”

Daniel Lee, Co-host of Til Death Do Us Part

“I have always believed that hunting is ethical. Many people believe that it’s unethical because the animal may be caused pain or harm prior to death. But, that doesn’t make it unethical, it’s part of the process of hunting. Ethical hunters practice every day with their bows or firearms to ensure that when a shot opportunity presents itself, they can take the animal as quickly as possible. We, as hunters, also are animal lovers. We don’t want to cause any pain for the animal during the process of hunting them. That’s not what it’s about. We believe it’s ethical because our intention is to make a quick and clean kill. We know, in our hearts, that hunting and harvesting animals is necessary for population control and management. When it’s all said and done, the main reason we hunt is for our food. When your groceries come from the field, as ours do, it is ethical.”

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