Stro Hastings, a student of Becky Langerman at Mountain Sun Community School in Brevard, NC, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "What's the Harm in Hunting," by Alyssa Johnson. He is our middle school winner for the Winter 2012 writing competition.
Writing prompt: "Is hunting moral?"
No More Bear Skin Rugs
Imagine riding along in a bumpy jeep with a high caliber rifle and a shotgun in the backseat. It's a beautiful day for hunting and there’s plenty of ammo to last a good long while. This is what hundreds of people do every day for food and money. Some people even do it for a living. The question is: Is hunting moral? Hunting is moral, because animal populations are growing rapidly and without any hunters there would be too many to live with!
The YES! Magazine article “What's the Harm in Hunting?” expressed the morality of hunting very well. Alyssa Johnson told how they followed fair chase rules just like Tom Lewis, an almost lifelong hunter. He hunted, stopped for over ten years, and then started again. He supports hunting and thinks that it should be allowed as long as people are following fair chase rules. This means that people cannot go out and kill as many deer as they want. They have to leave some for other hunters. They also cannot trick the animals, such as shine a bright light in a deer's eye to make him stand still.
Another problem is poaching. Poaching is when people illegally hunt an animal. An example of poaching is the hunting of African elephants, which are illegal to hunt because they are an endangered species. Yet, people still continue to hunt them because they are rare, and hunters can get a lot of money for just one of them.
Commercial hunting is a big issue because it means animals are only being killed for money. For example, many people want bear skin rugs, or rabbit fur mittens. It's terrible, but the worst part is that most people just throw away the rest of the animal—they don’t even eat it!
However, some varieties of hunting are moral. There’s an invasive rodent species in Louisiana that’s destroying an ecosystem. There is also a bounty on this small animal because its population is wiping out the environment. Some people might be against this, but others probably support it because this animal is destroying a habitat for native species. In most cases people don't need to hunt, but in this case they do.
The point is, hunting is moral. Is commercial hunting moral? No, because making bear skin rugs is just wrong, and should not be supported. But hunting for food is moral, as long as everybody is hunting with fair chase rules. In the future I hope to go on a hunting adventure with Tom Lewis. I think it would be fun and exciting, but we would definitely have to hunt with fair chase rules.