Hunting and the War on Wildlife


Hunting and the War on Wildlife

Today, over 200 million animals are killed, maimed and injured by hunters every year in the U.S., many dying a slow, painful death. Animal families are destroyed, cubs and baby animals are abandoned and orphaned, animals often suffer painful deaths, and none can defend themselves from today’s military style weapons and killing devices. Bow hunting exacerbates the level of suffering animals experience, with a 50 percent wounding and crippling rate, causing even more suffering.

Hunting Is Not Conservation; Hunting is Not Population Control

The leading argument from hunters to support sport hunting, is that hunting reduces the overpopulation of certain species and is good for conservation. This reasoning for killing animals is reinforced time and again by pro-hunting organizations, gun clubs and political hunting lobby groups in order to frame and support their argument to kill for “sport.”

HUNTING AND THE WAR ON WILDLIFEAccording to best public policy, scientific research and wildlife biology, hunting is not considered a viable nor effective solution for controlling wildlife or keeping nature in balance. And wildlife biologists affirm that hunting wildlife does far more damage than good. Wildlife biologists and scientific research studies support that hunting throws entire ecosystems completely out of balance for both prey and predator animals. Hunting can cause the destruction and decimation of animal species as well as can cause the overpopulation of species—both leading to ecological disruption, population imbalances, and the destruction of wildlife families. To justify sport hunting, hunters must ignore the numerous constructive solutions advanced by scientists and wildlife biologists reinforcing best and effective conservation and wildlife practices. Professional research-based studies uphold that killing a species either destroys and endangers that particular species; causes a significant rise in another species—throwing one or more species’ balance off causing disorder; can decimate an entire species hurting reproduction rates; and can cause a deep imbalance in whole ecosystems between and including all species that live within it. Not to mention, that hunting causes unnecessary injury, suffering and deep cruelty to all the animals in its cross-hairs.

Anti-Predator Hunting Rhetoric


Wildlife killing contests for hunters sanctioned by the U.S. Fish & Game, Dept. of Natural Resources, BLM, Dept. of Agriculture and U.S. Wildlife Services Department

Hunting has become a hot political issue supported by the NRA (National Rifle Association) and Safari Club International, firearm and gun clubs, hunting organizations, and sport hunting lobby groups. And state wildlife agencies are partially funded by hunters and wildlife killing groups whose mission is to intentionally increase and build up “game” populations like deer, while disregarding non-game species, so there are more to kill. Under the guise of game, habitat and wildlife conservation, federal and state agencies like U.S. Wildlife Services and U.S. Fish & Game, manipulate and control prey species like deer, elk, and moose to support sport hunters and gun and hunting groups giving them more to hunt, while also supporting livestock ranchers by killing predator species. Federal and state legislation to kill large numbers of predator animals to bolster the population of prey or “game” animals such as deer, create bigger herds for sport hunters to kill. This legislation is also enacted to protect free-range and grazing livestock and cattle ranchers, even though according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, less than 5 percent of livestock are attacked by predator animals. Nationwide, predators of all types account for just 5.5 percent of cattle and calf losses.

Because hunters and federal and state legislation together have sought to destroy predator animals, prey animals like deer are overpopulated in many areas across the U.S. And predators such as coyotes, mountain lions, wolves and bears, are being endangered and exterminated in areas—forcing an increase of prey animals for sport hunters to kill. Hunters are actually responsible for causing these severe imbalances of both predator and prey animals, waging a war on predator animals–by annihilating predator animals to force an explosion in population of prey animals. Hunters call this “population control” and “wildlife management” but for their own benefit. This is not based on science, this is purely self-serving for hunters and special interest groups with a single focus—on killing our wildlife, all with the support of the federal and state governments and state agencies that wish to bolster their revenues.


Cruel coyote “predator derby” killing contest on U.S. forest and BLM lands (Cascadia Wildlands photo)

In many northern, midwestern and western U.S. states, state legislatures go so far as to approve the aerial shooting and ground slaughter of predator animals such as wolves, coyotes and bears, to not only appease pro-hunting groups, but support livestock ranchers, and sell more hunting licenses to generate higher state revenues. State, city and county politicians have even planned coyote, wolf or bear “killing contests” where hunters are paid to kill as many predator animals as they can. Prizes are even given away to winners, and young people are encouraged to participate. These contests are designed to virtually exterminate wolves, coyotes, bears and all predator animals in local areas. But the fact is, carnivores and predators, if allowed to live and thrive, are the true ecosystem managers, and increase biodiversity and habitat recovery and balance nature – all by themselves. If allowed to.

Hunting and the War on Wildlife

The Damage of Hunting to Wildlife Species


Coyote killing contest, where U.S. hunters shoot as many coyotes, wolves, bears as they can

Hunting has been responsible for contributing to the extinction of species all around the world. Numerous studies support how killing and destroying one predator animal, can often produce greater populations of that same animal through increased breeding; or can lead to severely decreased survival and reproduction rates, social disruption and a reversal from population growth to decline. By hunting and killing the adult population of a species, the young in the species can evolve to reproduce more and their litter sizes can increase as well. Scientific research also supports that by killing high numbers of one species like coyotes, it causes a significant rise in another species like jackrabbits, throwing the ecosystem balance completely off. It actually contributes to increased competition with livestock for forage. Wildlife and predator-control experts agree that eliminating the “problem” animal, only causes further and deeper problems for that and other animals. As we have killed wolves in the U.S., the coyote population has dramatically increased. Pro hunting groups and gun clubs have the financial power to manipulate legislative policy that supports their own special interest in hunting and killing animals, but it is only self-serving and not about effective conservation management.

The solution is not hunting, instead we need to create a new model for wildlife management policies and practices, that does not include hunting and killing contests sanctioned and sponsored by government, but creates policies and models that incorporate the intrinsic value and interest of the individual animal, along with species populations, and the entire ecosystem, to further wildlife management.

We need to work together to protect natural and wildlife diversity not destroy it, preserve the health of our wildlife ecosystems not damage and exterminate it, and support species conservation by integrating ethics and animal welfare—to protect the future of all wildlife.

Learn more about the USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture) War on Wildlife.

Films By Predator Defense




Read about the Killing Agencies: Unmasking the Myth of Wildlife Management

Watch These Videos

A Message from Peter Coyote, about Wildlife Services inhumane policies, on Project Coyote

How to Coexist with Coyotes, Ways to discourage coyotes from human environments

Best Practices for Co-Existing with Coyotes in Urban Settings, on Project Coyote

Unfair Game: Ending Wildlife Killing Contests, by Project Coyote

Ending Wildlife Killing Contests, by Project Coyote

Why Wildlife Killing Contests are Not Effective at Managing Predators, by Project Coyote

Wildlife Killed in the U.S. Every Year (IDA)

  • 42 million mourning doves
  • 30 million squirrels
  • 28 million quail
  • 25 million rabbits
  • 20 million pheasants
  • 14 million ducks
  • 6 million deer
  • Tens of thousands of geese, bears, moose, elk, antelope, swans, cougars, turkeys, wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, boars, and other woodland inhabitants

USDA’s Wildlife Services – 2015 Killing Spree:

In 2015 alone, the USDA’s Wildlife Services claims to have killed 3.2 million animals, including the following crucial native predators:

  • 68,905 coyotes
  • 731 bobcats
  • 480 bears
  • 385 wolves
  • 284 mountain lions

Why Hunting is Cruel, Destructive and Unnecessary

  1. It is morally wrong to kill animals for sport, pleasure, entertainment or fun
  2. Killing an animal for anything other than survival, is wrong
  3. Hunting for hunting sake is wrong, killing for killing sake is wrong
  4. Hunting causes immense suffering and pain to individual wild animals
  5. Hunting destroys wildlife animal families, entire communities, leaves countless animals and babies orphaned or badly injured to suffer and die a slow, painful death
  6. Hunting is gratuitously cruel, because hunters kill for pleasure and recreation, unlike natural predation
  7. Animals are at a disadvantage – starving bears coming out of hibernation, cubs in dens, coyotes and wolves shot from aerial guns – with weapons that give them no chance
  8. Hunting inflicts extreme stress on animals – fear, noise, and the constant chase
  9. Natural predators like wolves, bears and lions, manage ecosystems and increase biodiversity balance by themselves, on their own, hunters are not needed
  10. Hunting disrupts migration and hibernation, and recreational vehicles, trash and campfires disrupt and adversely affect wildlife and the environment, for all
  11. Animals are unwilling participants and don’t want or seek to die, or have their life taken away — they wish to live, as all human and non-human animals want to live
  12. Hunter’s license fees are used to manipulate a few game species into overpopulation at the expense of a much larger number of non-game species, resulting is loss of ecological balance, biological diversity and genetic integrity – hunters cause disruption of the ecology
  13. Just because we can kill animals, doesn’t mean we should kill animals or wildlife
  14. Nature and wildlife manage their own populations through a balance of prey and predator animals – as long as we don’t interfere with that balance; hunters interfere and cause imbalance
  15. Sport hunting is annihilating, exploiting and destroying many species of wild animals
  16. Food is abundant and available everywhere in the 21st Century for people living in the Western world, there is no need to kill animals for food – food is accessible
  17. With the human population growing exponentially, hunting is becoming increasingly destructive to wildlife and causing increasing endangerment and extinction of species
  18. The majority of hunted species – such as water birds, upland birds, mourning doves, squirrels and raccoons, do not require population control and provide sustenance
  19. Hunting risks the possibility of decreasing the strong gene pool, due to hunters taking the best, largest, biggest, and strongest animals – deteriorating the gene pool of that species
  20. Animals are defenseless against today’s modern weapons, they cannot escape
  21. Sport hunters often are trappers as well, adding even more unnecessary and gratuitous cruelty and suffering to animals

What You Can Do

  1. Learn to coexist with wildlife – Accept that wildlife is part of our ecosystem, in urban, suburban and rural areas alike
  2. Promote coexistence with wildlife – Help to expand community educational outreach efforts. Here are some resources for predator animals
  3. Vote for humane legislators – Support legislators and legislation at the federal and state level that implements sound science into their legislation and policies, and promotes ethical considerations
  4. Sign up for action alerts or email alerts – From animal advocacy nonprofit groups
  5. Write letters to the Editor section of local and national newspapers – Here are some tips
  6. Attend the public meetings of your state wildlife agency – Voice your opinion against hunting in their public commenting process
  7. Write letters – Write letters to political officials and legislators, and the press. Here are some tips
  8. Get involved – Attend public hearings and speak up, attend presentations, workshops film screenings, educational events
  9. Get educated – Become familiar with the non-lethal human/wildlife solutions – Here are some resources
  10. Join and support anti-hunting nonprofit and organizations (See our list of National Organizations that Oppose Sport Hunting & Trapping on this page) and support their efforts; and avoid wildlife or conservation groups that support or don’t oppose hunting
  11. Promote compassionate conservation efforts – challenge the concept of hunting for wildlife conservation and management, and speak up about non-lethal wildlife/human conflict solutions and sound conservation science
  12. Volunteer to protect and preserve wildlife – Sign up to teach, advocate, do community education and outreach, administrative support, social media, research etc.
  13. Contact your state’s governor and wildlife agency, and demand equal consideration of non-hunters in employment positions and in any decision-making process
  14. Support the federal Endangered Species Act – See the Endangered Species Act, download the PDF, read about the 280 groups opposing the weakening of the Act
  15. Call 1-800-628-7275 to report poachers in national parks to the National Parks and Conservation Association

Humane / Ethical Alternatives for Controlling Wildlife

  1. Apply non-lethal solutions to control wildlife is best and recommended by scientists and wildlife biologists
  2. Remove all food sources from backyard, don’t feed wildlife, don’t encourage wildlife
  3. The use of contraception through medicated darts or vaccines to reduce and control suburban deer, bear, coyotes/wildlife populations, and ear-tagging them, is proven to be highly effective, practical, and inexpensive
  4. The use of contraception through the single-shot vaccine for deer that stops reproduction for years; or trapping bucks to sterilize them through chemical injections

National Organizations that Oppose Sport Hunting & Trapping

National Organizations That Support Hunting

  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • National Audubon Society
  • Wilderness Society
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Izaak Walton League 

Why Sport Hunting is Cruel

Why Big Game Trophy Hunting is Wrong

The Pro/Con Argument

Hunting and the War on Wildlife



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