Sport Hunting and Fishing
Sport hunters desperately want people to believe that sport hunting is both subsistence hunting for food and a ‘tradition’. The reality is that most sport hunters are well-heeled and well feed and have plenty of options to feed themselves and their families.
The history of sport hunting tells a different story. Sport hunting is associated with nobles, those having the most leisure and wealth, and became widespread with the rise of the middle class - a class of worker that was wealthier and had more leisure time.
While sport hunters romantically associate sport hunting with the history and tradition of the early North American settlers and the making or backbone of modern societies, sport hunting always was and remains a recreational killing activity and should not be confused with subsistence hunting for food.
Its history in North America proves this. In the second half of the 20th century, with species extinction being a concern of conservationists, hunting was no longer feasible in some places. The 19th- century extermination of the passenger pigeon and virtual extermination of the bison in North America and the prospect of overhunting, both commercial and sport, led to laws protecting game and game birds. Governments established kill limits and required licenses, thus raising revenue for government agencies. Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
This relationship remains to this day, and is the primary problem with wildlife management. Revenue raised by the sale of sport hunting and fishing licenses focuses wildlife protection on of those species that have monetary value at the detriment of other species including species at risk and the preservation of ecological systems.
The worse example of government agencies working for sport hunters:
When Doves Cry
In 2013, the Canadian federal govt. introduced a hunt of Mourning Doves, not because doves were causing some sort of ecological or commercial damage or harming human health. It was introduced because sport hunters demanded it and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) benefitted from the additional revenue. The CWS is a federal agency that manages the hunt of migratory birds including waterfowl. The number of hunters engaging in waterfowl hunting has dropped dramatically over the last 25 years and introducing a new sport would offset financial losses for the CWS.
The hunt for Mourning Doves is the most disturbing. For those that may be confused, Mourning Doves are the softly-feathered, gentle birds that will visit backyard bird feeders and sit cooing with their life-long mate on wires. The Mourning Dove hunt is the first migratory bird hunt to open each September – not because Mourning Doves migrate very far or that the bird makes for good table fare, possessing about as much edible meat, by weight, as your thumb. Rather because it is a docile gentle bird, but fast flying – perfect for sharpening one’s shooting skills before the real action begins later in the season when duck and geese hunting starts.
Mourning Doves are good for target practice and young hunters are encouraged to take part in a ‘pigeon shoot’. Eighteen thousand doves were killed in the first year in Ontario and showing only a slight decline since the hunt was introduced. It is important to note, these numbers are only estimates gathered from volunteered hunter surveys.
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