Chris Wheeler considers the ethics of branching into airgun hunting from shooting static targets…
So you’ve been shooting for a while now and static targets are becoming a bit boring. You are thinking about hunting, but you have concerns over the rights and wrongs of it… how do you figure out if it’s right for you?
It’s good that you have misgivings: the taking of a life, any life, should give us pause for thought. There are several reasons why we hunt, such as conservation of another species, food, pest control and the challenge. You say you’re bored with targets – but is killing animals the next step for you?
I think every hunter of small game will admit to mixed feelings the first time he bracketed a rabbit in his crosshairs. Some will only do it once to see how it feels, while others embrace the challenge and put aside the muffed shots.
Ask yourself a few questions: “Can I do this humanely and cause no unnecessary suffering? How will I feel if I only wound the animal? Do I have the stomach to get my hands bloody and despatch the wounded creature? If I make a kill, what was the purpose?”
If it’s food, you had better be prepared to take a knife and paunch and skin your rabbit; and for some people, that’s where the fun ends. It’s not pleasant, but it is necessary. If the owner of your permission asks you to eradicate his “pests” regardless of age, will you find this a decision you can live with? If you can be comfortable with the answers to these questions, then maybe you could hunt. But think about it hard!