hunting for a sport

hunting for sport


In the past hunting for a sport was always part of rural Irish culture and up to twenty years ago it seemed very popular for a lot of households to at least have a shotgun. My family were never interested in hunting as we always seemed to be much too busy for a pass time like that.

Although I never owned a gun or went hunting I knew a lot of people who did and the 1st of November was a big day in the calendar for them as that’s when pheasant season opened and when the air at times seemed to be full of the sound of distant gun fire. I was at times lucky enough to get a gift of a pheasant or two for a meal afterwards if the right fellow I knew had a good day out.

The reason I am writing this is to discuss the move away from hunting in resent years and not just the decline in people hunting which could be put down to busier lives and less free time but it seems that for more and more of the population hunting animals seems completely unethical

More people seem to be completely offended buy the thought of hunters shooting wild animals, foxhunting for many people now seems to be completely wrong but when I was younger I would be woken some nights by a bright light to look out and see men lamping foxes from cars along the roadway. It was also not unheard-of men hunting foxes with terriers or rabbits with ferrets or snares.

By Ken Billington - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Ken Billington – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Drag hunting

In more resent times around these parts anyway some people have gotten more into drag hunts with hounds and horses where they follow an artificial laid scent but it seems this is unethical now too for some people because they feel that it might be cruel on the dogs and horses or they possibly could pick up the scent of a real fox and follow that. Some groups known as Hunt sabs have started following drag hunts in order to disrupt or stop the hunt.

It seems like a lot of things in our society that were once normal every day occurrences are now unethical which make me wonder will normal everyday things we do today be offending people in another 20 years time.

Another example was there was a bit of controversy about some hunting tourists paying to come to Killarney to shoot deer which seemed to cause complete outrage for some people. Yet deer have been roaming a long ways from Killarney national park for a good few years now and when deer break down farm fences eats farmers grass that’s needed for cattle, causes road traffic accidents or starves to death on an island nobody seems to take any notice.

hunting for a sport
Red deer in killarney national park

Reintroducing wolves

Yet instead of having a cull to keep the population under control even by trained marksmen that would pay and bring money into the local economy people talk of reintroducing wolves as an apex predator. While I am not an expert on the subject and maybe l lack understanding but what’s so wrong with having man as the apex predator.

I like wolves and think they are a beautiful looking animal but surely man would have a better understanding than a pack of wolves what animals should be culled, I would think that a lamb, sheep or calf would be a more appealing target for a pack of hungry wolves than chasing down a herd of wild deer or whatever other wild animal they might hunt. Another thing I don’t get is why is it unethical for a man to kill an animal quickly with a single shot but its perfectly OK for wolves or a fox to savage another animal to death.

lamb taken by a fox
young lamb taken by a fox


I like foxes too but are the feelings of chickens and rabbits or young lambs not as important as the fox, A fox can also take chicks of endangered ground nesting birds like the curlew or hen harrier. Or is it just that man should be more civilized and not take the life of another animal. In my view all life is taken at some stage whether by a hunter with a gun another hungry animal or the elements of nature. Overpopulation of wild animals is usually kept in check by starvation and weather eventually anyway but I think human intervention through gun clubs etc. can sometimes be far kinder.

grey seals

Culling seals

Another controversial topic recently were fishermen in Kerry looking for a cull in seal population which is a topic I know very little about but I was inclined to believe the fishermen when I saw them pulling in ripped nets on the news that the seals were affecting their livelihoods and while its not the seals fault that the big boats out at sea have decreased the fish stocks to the extent they are trying to eat the fish out of the nets what will happen them when they run out of fish to eat.

I am not stating there should be a seal cull because quite frankly I don’t know enough about it but I am of the opinion that unless something is done to increase fish stocks nature will take its course in the end. I know that I could be thinking about this completely the wrong way but it sometimes seems to me that a lot of people are so far removed from nature today that they have forgotten how it works.

Humans have been an apex predator on this planet for thousands of years and up until the recent emergence of supermarkets and cheap food hunting was seen as a normal way of putting food on the table. Just because now we no longer have to hunt for our food doesn’t mean that its wrong to do so and it doesn’t mean that its wrong to intervene with over population of certain animals if it prevents starvation and other problems.

I am neither for nor against hunting but simply speaking my mind, if you have an opinion you would like to add leave a comment in the box below as its something people have a lot of different opinions on.

4 thoughts on “hunting for a sport

  1. A friend of mine was sharing about a month a go his experience when his hounds cough the scent of a real fox. 

    But maybe because I have been hanging out with these guys I have begun to find Drag hunting very interesting. I personally don’t think it’s unethical. Thank for this post!

  2. I believe I am in agreement with what your article states, if you are hunting for food then why would anybody have a problem with that? On the other hand, if you are hunting just for the sport of it and waste the meat from the animal then I don’t understand the point of it. You bring up good points about other predatory animals, they do similar things, it is part of nature. Yet as you say they are not as picky and will kill just about any animal that they are able to, including livestock and pets. Unfortunately there will always be people that are offended these days, and that will only get worse I believe in the future. As long as it is legal though there’s really not much they can do about it fortunately. 

  3. I like the objectivity in your opinion. A lot of things done some years back sure have become offensive these days and I believe it’s because of the evolving of the human race. A whole lot has changed in the way we see and perceive things from the easy it was before. However, common sense needs to be introduced to bring balance. Nice write up

  4. Hello DJ – Your article brings out some good fuel for thought.  People fail to realize what the origin of hunting is…for food.  I think society has become so conditioned by the supermarket that they fail to realize where the food came from.  Pigs, cows, lamb, veal, and fish all have to be killed in order to be placed in our grocers.  Also, if any species, wolves or whatever is allowed to become the apex predator, they will eventually take us over; if not directly, indirectly.  They will destroy our crops, livestock and even pets. After all, we have to eat! I don’t believe in animal cruelty and killing animals for the fun of it, but we’re giving animals more rights than we have.  According to divine order, man is the original apex predator and he should remain so or ultimately be destroyed.  Tolerance is good to a point but there is such a thing as over correction.  We are living in a society that is becoming so tolerant, so super sensitive to every wind that blows that we’re doing ourselves more harm than good.

    History has proven that superpowers are destroyed—not from without but from within.  we must be mindful of this and mitigate confusion.

    Thanks for this opportunity!

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