Food webs contain a delicate balance of species that when allowed to run naturally will result in fluctuations in population sizes such that the number of surviving predators depends on the number of prey available. As environmental conditions such as weather patterns change so does the potential for changes in population sizes. Humans have assumed a stewardship role with respect to the environment and tend to want to keep populations of various animals constant so the environment is easier to manage. This is one reason why humans now hunt various species such as deer, duck, wolf, and bear.
For many generations the size of the human population has been growing significantly resulting in human encroachment into the habitats of numerous species of animals. This encroachment has forced many animals to look for new habitats. When these habitats are not available or species cannot adapt to a new habitat then humans must step in to address the issue. This may involve hunting the species within a given area to protect it from suffering over time or to ensure that other species are not wiped out in the new habitat or deter new predators from being lured into the area.
Human habitat development has eliminated or reduced many natural environments such as marshes and wetlands that were used by migratory species such as ducks and geese. With the reduced feeding grounds for such animals humans have hunted these animals to ensure population control so that these animals do not invade human habitat areas and cause damage.
Humans often find it necessary to hunt certain animals that could limit crop production or domesticated animal production. These crops are generally used as sources of human food so must be protected. Predators may stalk domestic animals as these animals tend to be much easier to hunt than wild game. Humans will, in turn, hunt these predators to protect food sources and what is considered their ‘property.’
At times human structures such as high rises, power grids, and pipelines are developed in the paths of migratory animals. These structures can pose dangers for the animals while the animals can pose problems for some of these structures. Since humans want to protect their materials they will hunt the animals to reduce the risk of the animals damaging the structures.
With an ever growing human population and growing awareness of what it takes to maintain a ecological balance, humans find many reasons to hunt particular species and protect others.
Guzman, Jose Miguel, George Martine, Gordon McGranahan, Daniel Schensul, Cecilia Tacoli. “Population Dynaimcs and Climate Change.” UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and IIED, the International Institute for Environment and Development. 24-25 June 2009. (ISBN: 978-0-89714-919-8)
Trophic Links: Predation and Parasitism. http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/predation/predation.html, 22 Oct. 2010. Sat. 10 March 2012.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Hunting. http://www.fws.gov/hunting/, 22 March 2010. Sat. 10 March 2012.