Defending hunting has always been part of the NRA mission. The NRA fights to preserve and promote America’s rich hunting heritage at the federal, state and local levels, including Right to Hunt and Fish state constitutional amendments, policies assuring no net loss of public land open to hunting, mentoring programs for new hunters, hunter safety training programs, range development programs, the use of firearm sound suppressors, and the repeal of laws that prohibit hunting on Sunday.
What services does the NRA provide for hunters?
In addition to continually fighting for hunters rights, the NRA has established several programs to support hunters, such as the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, NRA Outdoors, and the Women’s Wilderness Escape. Click here to learn more.
Response to PETA's “9 Things No One Told You about Hunting”
The true facts that invalidate common anti-hunting arguments
1. REAL sports involve competition between consenting parties and don’t end with the deliberate death of one unwilling participant.
Prey animals have instincts and senses that are far superior to those of humans. It requires skill and patience to outwit an animal that is biologically tuned to sense predators. Furthermore, hunters are not always successful. A recent study in Indiana showed a 20-22% “harvest per effort” rate in state parks for firearm hunters and 8-10% for bow hunters. (Indiana State Parks, Resource Management & Research Report). Hunting is clearly a competition. Furthermore, we have been hunting since the dawn of mankind, and other predators have been hunting to survive for far longer. Prey is never a “consenting party” to the predator, because that is not how the natural world works. Denying fundamental truths of nature is irrational.
2. Wildlife departments often cull majestic predators, such as wolves, bears, and coyotes, to prevent predation on elk, caribou, and deer so that hunters will have more animals to gun down.
This statement is a complete lie. Wildlife departments use predator control to keep the ecosystem healthy, preserve low populations of prey animals, and protect livestock. The North American Wildlife Conservation Model was pioneered by hunters and sportsmen, and is based on science based management for the conservation of wildlife. The return of once scarce wildlife populations prove it is an extremely effective model. According to the Wildlife Society; “the success of the Model is in no small measure indebted to hunter- and angler-conservationists and visionary industry leaders” (The Wildlife Society, The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation).
3. Natural phenomena such as predators, starvation, and disease kill primarily the sickest and weakest individuals. Hunters, on the other hand, strive to kill the larger, stronger animals because they want to hang their heads on a wall, and this weakens the remaining population.
Hunters primarily take male animals well past breeding age. In fact, the most valued trophies are those that display an animal’s old age. Hunting a part of heavily regulated, science backed game management strategies, and therefore does not hurt animal populations. For example, research has shown that a healthy white-tailed deer herd, reasonably sized to make the most of available habitat, can be reduced each year by as much as 40 percent with no ill effect on the future population. Hunters in most states rarely take more than 15 percent of the herd. (NSSF, The Hunter and Conservation)
4. Most hunting occurs on private land, where laws that protect wildlife are often ignored or difficult to enforce.
If hunting was not allowed on private land, landowners would have far less incentive to maintain the habitat and preserve natural animal populations, and wildlife would be in a far worse state than it is now. For example, after Kenya banned hunting in 1977, wildlife populations were decimated, decreasing by over 60% (Joseph Ogutu, Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What Are the Causes?). Much of Kenya’s natural habitat that was once private land preserved for hunting has now been converted into farming and livestock operations (Joseph Ogutu, Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What Are the Causes?). Hunting on private land protects, rather than endangers, wildlife populations.
5. When animals are killed, families are broken up, often leaving young animals to perish of starvation or attacks by other animals. For animals such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities.
Hunting seasons and bag limits are carefully regulated by professional conservationists to ensure hunters take only surplus of wildlife populations. Despite PETA’s emotional appeal, there is no credible scientific evidence that hunting poses a threat to wolf populations. In fact, in 2017 Wyoming allowed 43 wolves to be hunted for the first time in years, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Reported that the wolf population; “continues to be healthy and exceed all criteria established to show that the species is recovered.” (Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Gray Wolf Monitoring And Management 2017 Annual Report)
6. Hunters often accidentally injure and kill animals other than the ones who are being hunted, including horses, cows, dogs, and cats. Sometimes hunters even injure or kill themselves or other humans, such as hikers and other hunters.
Hunting with firearms is one of the safest recreational activities in America. A person is 11 times more likely to be injured playing volleyball, 34 times more likely to be injured playing soccer, and 105 times more likely to be injured playing tackle football. Fewer than 1,000 people in the US and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters per year and of these fewer than 75 are fatalities. (International Hunter Education Association). In every state, hunters are required to take some form of hunter safety training, including gun safety. In order to succeed at hunting, one must be a competent marksman. There is no evidence to indicate that hunters “often” accidentally injure and kill animals.
7. Dogs used for hunting are often kept chained or penned and are denied routine veterinary care. Some dogs are lost during hunts, and others are turned loose at the end of hunting season to fend for themselves.
Hunting dogs are usually rigorously trained and carefully bred, and can cost thousands of dollars. It would be completely illogical for hunters to mistreat, neglect, or abandon their hunting dogs, considering their worth. Furthermore, most hunters form deep bonds with their dogs in the field. There is absolutely no data that suggests hunters “often” mistreat their dogs.
8. Hunted animals often don’t die painlessly or quickly. Many animals must be shot multiple times. A British study found that some wounded deer suffered for more than 15 minutes before dying.
The majority of hunters are extremely careful to follow hunting ethics. These include taking shots at a reasonable range, where the hunter is more certain they can take the animal with one shot. Hunter education courses, required in all states, also emphasize this principle. While wounding can happen, it is hardly common. In a study on deer hunting, 93% of deer were killed outright (Nicholas J Aebischer, “Factors Associated with Shooting Accuracy and Wounding Rate of Four Managed Wild Deer Species in the UK”) . Furthermore, in the study PETA cited, only 7% of animals took more than 2 minutes to die (Bradshaw, “Welfare Implications of Culling Red Deer”). Even the data that PETA misleadingly presented indicates that the statement “Hunted animals often don’t die painlessly or quickly. Many animals must be shot multiple times” is categorically false.
9. When injured animals escape from hunters, they usually endure prolonged, painful deaths as a result of predation, shock, or exposure.
Very few animals who are shot escape from hunters. Hunting ethics dictate the necessity of tracking down wounded animals. In the previously discussed study, only 2% of deer escaped wounded, (Bradshaw, “Welfare Implications of Culling Red Deer”), and the percentage of larger game is likely far less. Most animals that are successfully hunted die quickly and painlessly. Furthermore, in the wild, animals mainly die of starvation, disease, or they are killed by predators. When animals become old, they are often abandoned by others to starve and die. For example, when elephants reach their sixties, they lose their last set of molars and starve to death, but few live long enough to die of old age (Ozy Brennan, Euthanizing Elderly Elephants: An Impact Analysis). Animals that are not hunted are far more likely to “endure prolonged, painful deaths”.
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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.