People's thoughts on duck hunting?

Personally, I think the duck hunting is cruel to ducks, and I don’t like it when refuges are closed so duck hunters can hunt. I understand that it makes funds for conservation groups, but still…


You can start a holy war here.) Fall hunts in fact don’t do much damage on population (unlike spring hunts), if hunters are responsible and now what they shoot hunting is a good thing and yes, in USA unlike most of countries hunters fund a lot of money for species’ conservation. If all of them could target Mallards only it’d be even better. Also it should be clear hunters and poachers are 2 different groups of people.
Personally I wouldn’t kill anything, I can and did, but hunting wild animals is against my hature as long as we have millions of chickens raised just to be eaten. But it’s not more cruel than any other killing, as long as shots are clear it’s an instant death and people pick up, m, don’t know an English word, but everything they shot but not killed at first try, those shouldn’t be just left there slowly dying in pain.


For me, when I think of the benefits of duck hunting, I think of these two figures from the big 3 billion birds paper for North America. See paper here and website here:

Since 1970, some of the only bird groups that increased in population were wetland birds and ducks and geese, in particular. In the US, duck hunting has meant resources allocated by federal and state governments for wetland and waterfowl conservation, in a way that hasn’t been true for grassland and forest conservation and we see it in which bird groups have done ok in the past 50 years, and which bird groups have really not.


As long as the hunting is ethical, legal, and takes care in watching population numbers and habitat, than I think its alright.
My major issue with hunting as a whole, is the use of lead shot and the amount of waste that hunting can leave behind.

Every fall/winter during the hunting season plastic shotgun wads and plastic canisters get left behind and littered, usually to wash up on public beaches and waterways here in the Washington lowlands. I really wish more people would bring light to this issue and outlaw the use of plastic single use shotgun waste.

The issue of lead shot is also another major issue, in many states (including WA) lead shot is outlawed for hunting certain species, but in my opinion I feel it should be discontinued entirely. In the northwest, every year we have had tragic mass lead poisoning events with our trumpeter swan populations. My heart breaks for the swans, I really wish there was more we could do statewide to protect them from such incidents.


Am vegan, so … if you need to hunt to eat healthily and fully, do it; if you don’t, don’t. I don’t appreciate killing things for fun, but if the choice is hunting in a sustainable manner that raises funds for conservation, or buying it from a factory farm, I’d prefer the former.


I suppose killing anything could be considered cruel to them, whether it be animals, plants, or otherwise :grinning: I understand your concerns, the way that I look at it is that everyone needs to compromise a little so that everyone can enjoy the outdoors in their preferred manner.

Hunting is responsible for tons of conservation dollars, land, and management in the US, so ultimately as long as people are hunting legally and bag limits are set appropriately it winds up being a really good thing for the flora and fauna. There are many places that I know and love that I feel like I get the privilege of visiting that were purchased with hunter dollars.

It’s nice to see how open and welcoming people are to hunters here. I don’t hunt because frankly I don’t have it in me to kill something, but I have a few friends that do and are great naturalists who have a deep love and appreciation for the outdoors


The benefits of duck hunting for conservation are quite large in my region–it incentivizes preserving wetlands and grasslands in a big way. I went to college in an area where virtually all land was devoted to agriculture except for waterfowl production areas, small parcels of prairie and marsh maintained by the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow ducks to breed. Obviously I would prefer it if the tallgrass prairie had been conserved on a bigger scale and with diversity more in mind, but that “bird” flew away many decades ago. So I really appreciate duck hunting and the government agencies it funds.


Thank you for saying this! You have echoed my thoughts exactly. Lead pollution is a big enough issue as it is, but the plastic wadding is another massive problem that needs addressing, and one that not many are aware of. It is not just an issue in wetlands either, but in uplands as well. Then there are some “hunters” who leave the whole casing where it falls; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked home from wild areas with my pockets stuffed full of shotgun shells and wadding. I do occasionally hunt with a shotgun, but it really bothers me when I’m unable to find the wadding. My thinking is that the small amount of plastic getting into the ecosystem from wadding is probably less than from an intensive (animal or plant) agricultural operation, and hunting doesn’t require the destruction and replacement of functioning ecological communities, but that isn’t to say this pollution doesn’t bother me.


I grew up duck hunting with my father, whose father was a commercial hunter back in the early 1900s when the game was sold in city markets. The practice devestated the waterfowl populations. The elimination of market hunting, the rise of conservation agencies, and wetlands reclamation practices have begun to restore waterfowl populations in remarkable numbers just within my lifetime.

I no longer hunt owing to a change in my person ethos. I continue to buy a Duck Stamp to help fund conservation efforts and hold no animosity toward those who choose to hunt, even though it does tug at my heart strings. The good modern practices have wrought outweighs the relatively small number of birds harvested in the grand scheme of things.


If I had the means I think I would prefer to eat hunted ducks and overpopulated deer than factory farmed chicken and beef.


I have no problem with hunting as long as it is done sustainably. Hunting also has great benefits to conservation - groups like Ducks Unlimited are some of the most important conservation organisations out there, and many of our most important wetlands wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for hunting.


Well, it’s relative, if bird doesn’t escape it dies pretty quickly aniway, wrongly shot deer can just run away quickly with very severe injuries and hunters often don’t or can’t follow it, so it can leave with broken jaws for weeks, slowly dying, I think dying from falling is nothing compared to this. Anyway, my concern in hunting will always be conservation (happens so world is not like NA in terms of it), not animal pain, it’s impossible to just feel for every dying bird, as long as it wasn’t premeditated by shooter it’s understandable.

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In most cases it’s still a faster death than being eaten alive by another animal.

People often talk about the cruelty of hunting, but forget to think about how other animals kill their prey.

There are, of course, bad hunters out there, but most of them try to be responsible and get as clean a kill as possible. Not only is that better over-all, it’s easier for the hunter, and it leads to better tasting meat as well.

From a conservation perspective there has been a long-standing problem with treating hunters like “the enemy” instead of potential allies. There is a huge overlap in goals, desires, and appreciation for nature and wildlife between conservationists and hunters and when you can get hunters on the side of conservation, and conservationists understanding the knowledge and potential benefits hunters can bring to the table, you can have far more effective conservation and far greater outreach into communities that conservationists otherwise can’t reach.

Are there changes that should take place to how hunting is done? Absolutely. Are there hunting techniques and animals that should not be used or hunted? Absolutely. Does the way we determine what the acceptable bag count is need to be rethought? Probably.

The only way to get those changes to happen is to engage with the hunting community and get them to understand and appreciate the concerns, environmental impact, and how a change can benefit them too. You can’t do that if the conservation community is viewing hunters as “the bad guys”.


That’s a really interesting family history! When I lived in DC, there were some pretty neat local museums on the Eastern Shore that had some interesting exhibits and artifacts about what this market hunting was like around the Chesapeake. A huge market for the big east coast cities.

For anyone that’s interested in modern market hunting and wild meat consumption globally, I would recommend

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How interesting to see that waterfowl have thrived but waterbirds have not. And that introduced species such as new world sparrows and starlings have declined as well! Do you know if similar research has been conducted in the rest of the world, particulary South America? Here it would seem that introduced birds are ever expanding their range, due to more and more land being destined to agriculture, but that is my personal perception. Regardless, thanks for the useful information!

A group of schoolkids undertaking beach surveys for plastic waste, literally found the waste, identified it, traced it back to source, and worked with the shooters to come up with a solution.


I get where you’re coming from with this, but be careful with over-trusting the sources of those messages. Not all commercial sources of food are bad for you, but it does pay to think hard about the choices we make. You can make healthy choices entirely within the commercially available options and (as you are obviously aware) you can make some devastatingly bad choices, but you do need to filter out a lot of the noise that is coming both from the sellers/advertisers and the “grow/kill your own” brigade. Each side is biased towards their own desired outcome… and so the side you should be siding with is… YOU!


A problem of levels of organization. Effects on the population and the individual are different.

There are some population-level problems (lead shot, plastic wadding) but overall, regulated hunting doesn’t harm waterfowl populations and actually results in helping them, though habitat conservation. Waterfowl have large clutches and can sustain moderate levels of hunting.

At the individual level, hunting kills, maims (and thus kills more slowly), causes pain.

I think the population level benefits (habitat) and lack of harm (population size) are worthwhile. If I were looking only at the individual level effects, I wouldn’t. Because of the basic issue of which level of organization we’re thinking about, we’re doomed to talk past each other, if we disagree.

In case it matters, I’ve never hunted, except trap lines for mice.


This note is for @jameson_nagle who said: " any food you can buy with money nowadays is toxic, poison and garbage and I would like to eat healthy."

If you buy a huge bag of organic dried beans, and a huge bag of organic brown rice, and then buy some organic onions and some organic greens, maybe some organic carrots, as well as some organic olive oil, you will be able to eat for a month or two – healthy food and cheap too.


When it comes to hunting in general, I think it’s fine. As LONG as we hunt only as much as we need, like the Native Americans