Hunting Hits the Mainstream

More animals, more problems

News Outside Online

A brown bear attacks.     Photo: Aleksey Krylov/Thinkstock

With an outbreak of disease and deer-related car accidents, Durham, N.C., has authorized bow hunting within city limits, reports TIME Magazine. America's Pest Problem: It's Time to Cull the Herd argues that rising deer and animal populations across the country are creating more dangerous human-animcal encouters, proposing that new, less-restrictive hunting rules may be the answer.

Fifty years ago, many animal populations were in grave danger. Today, communities are dealing with too many deer, wild pigs, raccoons, bears, and beavers across the country. New Jersey is a prime example where the bear population was a mere 50 in 1970, it has since skyrocketed to nearly 4,000, according to TIME. Certainly saving the bear population is a great triumph, but regulating it raises other questions. 

"The fact that New Jersey is teeming with bears (and all other manner of urban and suburban wildlife) has relatively little to do with Mother Nature and far more to do with you and me. In the state of nature, a burgeoning bear population would be handled efficiently and unsentimentally by a dry-eyed tyranny of starvation and disease."

Antihunting activists say to bear-proof trash cans, lock up sheds, and hide pet food. But will this really work? Call in the hunters. "If we don't do it, who will?" explains TIME. Many states are already putting this school of thought into place by expanding hunting seasons, or even opening new ones for species like wolf.

"But whether we hoist the gun or draw the bowstring--or simply acknowledge the facts of nature that require these things to be done--it's time to shake off sentimentality and see responsible hunting through 21st century eyes."

For more on the rise of wolf hunting seasons, see "Wolf Season Opens in Michigan."

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