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Is Hunting A Sport? Let’s talk about it!

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Yes. Let me tell you why.

A lot of people, especially city dwellers who rarely take the time to think about where the supermarket food comes from, love to claim hunting as this massive, unethical pastime.

If you’re even just remotely familiar with hunting, however, you know that’s not true.

It’s pretty much the complete opposite.

Hunting is incredibly ethical, and not only that, is the reason that conservation efforts in the United States are as great as they are today. You can read more about why ethics is not only ethical but good right here.

This article is not about the ethics of hunting. But whether you can qualify it as a sport.

Let’s dig in a little bit as to why you can call it a sport, in case you ever need to defend yourself against someone who doesn’t quite understand how modern hunting works.

is hunting a sport?

Defining What a Sport Is

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a sport is defined as:

a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for the enjoyment or as a job.

Essentially, any activity involving physical exertion, skill, and often competition, where individuals (or teams) compete against each other or themselves.

The key elements of what defines a sport surround a display of physical capabilities, adherence to specific rules or standards, and of course a sense of competition.

There is no doubt that hunting fits into this category, as it not only requires significant physical skill and mental acuity, but hunting also often involves a form of competition, either against other hunters in a shared environment or against the animal itself.

Additionally, all hunters have to adhere to a very strict set of rules to ensure the ethical harvesting of the wildlife or game they go after.

So although you can’t compare hunting to things like football or baseball, it is still a sport because it perfectly fits the definition of what true sportsmanship is.

Hunting is physical, it is mental, it is competition, and it follows rules.

I mean, there’s a reason prey is called “game” after all (“gamen” actually meant “sport” in old English)

American football offensive player, NFL

Let’s look at Hunting in the Historical Context

Now that we’ve gotten the definition out of the way, let me school you on the historical context real quick. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief.

Historically, hunting has always been a skill of survival. Since the dawn of humanity, it’s been crucial for human sustenance and survival. Over time, however, as societies evolved, hunting sort of transcended this role as a mere survival tactic.

Instead of having to go out in the wild and track each animal for the tribe, we could now farm them. Massive pastures were created, shepherds could hold on to great amounts of meat for hundreds of years, and the need to go after predators and birds was diminished because of the easy access we had to pasture like chicken, cows, sheep and pigs.

Hunting could therefore transcend into a more structured activity with set rules of customs, which laid the groundwork for the modern hunting we have today that is recognized as a sport.

In ancient times, hunting was a widespread leisure activity among the aristocracy, even for scholars and nobles who didn’t rely on it for sustenance. It served as a means for men to showcase their skill, bravery, and sportsmanship. In numerous cultures, hunting was associated with the rite of passage for young men and establishing social status.

As the world became more populated, and colonialism took over lots of areas that were not meant to be hunted as much as they were (such as what has now become the United States), overhunting managed to screw over a lot of wildlife populations.

This is what led to the strict conservation efforts we have today, such as hunting regulations that include bag limits, limitations on the guns you can use, the age of the animal and hunting seasons.

Thank God!

Depositphotos 95981606 S

Skill and Sportsmanship

I’m not going to lie, as someone who lives in Seattle, I frequently argue with peers about the topic of hunting. Few other places in the world are people as hesitant to embrace the nature of the sport as in cities where tech is king.

However, I not only refer to the definition of what a sport is, which quite literally includes everything under the umbrella term of hunting on its own but also how the sport operates.

A lot of people are uninformed about how the process of tracking down an animal works.

They picture this grotesque scene of us just walking into the forest, ready to pummel down anything in our way.

If you’re a hunter, you know this is not the case. Hunting demands a high level of not just physical fitness, but mental acuity, and patience. You need to understand everything about your prey’s behavior, and then use that knowledge to track the animal through challenging terrain.

The hunter then takes a shot at the animal in ways that adhere to ethical hunting practices. Clean kills that align with regulations, respect the wildlife and turn into a quick and humane harvest.

Not to mention, it is a game.

You’re competing against your prey and mother nature.

Not every hunting expedition is going to be successful.

A lot of the time you lose the game.

Large white-tailed deer buck in a frost covered meadow with autumn

The Bad Apples

There are of course hunters out there that do not adhere to the ethics of hunting and have poor sportsmanship. But that is a very, very small percentage of hunters.

A majority of people who partake in the sport, especially in the United States, are great at ensuring sportsmanlike and ethical harvesting of their prey.

Every state requires pretty much everyone to get a hunter’s license, where they learn all of this stuff, as well as a requirement to report their kills.

There are criminals in all sports. People dope, people cheat. That does not mean that the rest cannot claim it as a sport.

Just ensure that you’re one of the good ones!

So Is Hunting A Sport? Absolutely!!

Hunting goes way beyond just being an outdoor activity.

It embodies the very essence of what a sport is.

Not only that, you can easily claim it as the “first” sport, since people have been hunting way before we invented any other form of entertainment.

Hunting requires physical and mental exertion, mental strategy, and competition, and follows a strict set of rules to ensure ethical harvest.

There is, therefore, no argument against calling hunting a sport, and if someone tries to pull the “but some people are bad card”, they are simply blaming a few people for something the rest of us cannot control – and that’s not fair in any sport.

Happy Hunting!

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