Contrary to what some people think, hunters do a lot of good for wildlife. For eons, hunters have served as a check against overpopulation of various species. In our modern era, hunting has the potential to wipe out entire species (theoretically), but game laws tend to exist precisely to prevent that. Instead, hunters tend to be the primary funders of countless conservation efforts.
Well, it doesn’t stop some anti-hunting activists from still acting like hunters are pure evil.
A social media group formed around an anti-grizzly hunting movement is claiming a victory of sorts after one of its members announced he drew a coveted grizzly tag with zero intention of harvesting a bear.
The group, Shoot ’em With a Camera, was created around the time the hunt was originally announced. Their main goal: encourage those opposed to Wyoming’s scheduled grizzly bear hunt to apply for one of the limited (22) tags and then let it go to waste.
Grizzlies aren’t a threatened species anymore, so this isn’t about saving an endangered species. This is just anti-hunting activism. In a free country, I suppose that’s fine.
However, how would Mr. Mangelsen feel if and when some of his cohorts pull similar stunts, and then we find out that the grizzly bear population is being ravaged by starvation and disease? I mean, that’s what happens when an animal species get overpopulated, and overpopulation happens when there’s insufficient predatory activity in a given area.
And let’s be honest, how many animals really hunt grizzly? They’re basically apex predators. They’re no one’s prey, except for ours.
Hunting manages to keep the numbers to manageable levels by culling them down just a bit. There aren’t a lot of grizzly tags in Wyoming because there aren’t enough grizzlies to allow a lot of hunting… yet.
However, there are enough to allow hunters to start culling a few here and there. This won’t have a detrimental impact on the species but will help fund various efforts designed to help the animals as a whole. While Mangelsen won’t use his tag, he’s at least funding that, so there is a minor win for the grizzlies.
But he’s just one guy. His refusal to use his tag is no different than understanding that not everyone who has a tag will get the chance to harvest a grizzly. In the end, his virtue signaling won’t do much of anything except make him feel good about himself.
Other hunters will pick up his slack and help the grizzly population remain strong.
It’s just too bad that anti-hunting activists like this don’t recognize the role humanity plays in the natural cycle of wildlife. We actually do fill an ecological niche, after all. It’s not like people are alien invaders from another planet who just dropped here and have taken over. We are part of this planet’s ecosystem too, and our hunting of game–both typical prey animals and predators–plays a role in the natural order of things as well.