Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, and state parks and on other public lands.(40 Almost 40 percent of hunters slaughter and maim millions of animals on public land every year, and by some estimates, poachers kill just as many animals illegally.(5,6)
Pain and Suffering
Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed by hunters. A study of 80 radio-collared white-tailed deer found that of the 22 deer who had been shot with “traditional archery equipment,” 11 were wounded but not recovered by hunters.(7) Twenty percent of foxes who have been wounded by hunters are shot again. Just 10 percent manage to escape, but “starvation is a likely fate” for them, according to one veterinarian.(8) A South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks biologist estimates that more than 3 million wounded ducks go “unretrieved” every year.(9) A British study of deer hunting found that 11 percent of deer who’d been killed by hunters died only after being shot two or more times and that some wounded deer suffered for more than 15 minutes before dying.(10)
Hunting disrupts migration and hibernation patterns and destroys families. For animals such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. The stress that hunted animals suff...
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What You Can Do
Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on hunting. Groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League, the Wilderness Society, and the World Wildlife Fund are pro–sport-hunting, or at the very least, they do not oppose it.
To combat hunting in your area, post “no hunting” signs on your land, join or form an anti-hunting organization, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops) near hunting areas. Call 1-800-628-7275 to report poachers in national parks to the National Parks and Conservation Association. Educate others about hunting. Encourage your legislators to enact or enforce wildlife-protection laws, and insist that nonhunters be equally represented on the staffs of wildlife agencies.
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