A thought on hunting

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Posted by brianc on December 07, 2000 at 11:45:59:

The hunting posts the other day got an old thought running through my head again.

First, some quick info on my background (prejudices?).
Professionally, I'm a biologist, but not a marine biologist. I am not a hunter, but I have hunted. In Florida, I regularly buddied with bug hunters. My friends said I was the best hunting buddy - I carried the flag, my focus was not as narrow as their's which seemed to result in me seeing more bugs than most do and every bug I saw was their's. Basically I dove their dive and was an extra pair of eyes and hands.

I believe that scuba/freediving hunting is overall less damaging than most sport or commercial fishing. Hunters should intend to eat their kill though. Those who hunt for the thrill of the chase and kill, but do not take only what they can eat should be hunted themselves. As long as hunting is done in a way that minimizes biosystem damage, it is an ecologically appropriate activity. There's lot's of debate material in there, but I'll hold off to try to get to the point. That point is that most hunters are, without realizing it, not doing all they can to minimize the impact of their activity. Most want to get the "trophy" record setting catch. The problem is that, for many species, the largest individuals have the greatest reproductive potential. There are well-accepted regulations prohibiting taking individuals below a certain size, but what about taking individuals above a certain size? A record-setting individual often has hundreds of times the reproductive potential of a recently mature one. Protecting individuals with higher reproductive potential can help in maintaining and recovering populations.

Any thoughts, flames, etc.?

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