Wild, Sustainable Food

Published 11:53 am Wednesday, January 3, 2024

By James L. Cummins
Many sportsmen have wondered, “Why do people not understand that hunters and
anglers help to maintain a sustainable food source while also helping the environment
and ensuring a food source for generations to come?”
Unfortunately, hunters, and sometimes anglers, are usually painted in an unfavorable
light by people who do not understand what being a true sportsman really means.
Hunters are projected to be cold-hearted killers that kill for the fun of it.
While it is true that some hunters hunt for the thrill and choose to ignore laws and
regulations, a true hunter is a sportsman with a purpose.
Many people today throw around the world “sustainable,” without realizing that that’s
how it was in the old days. Sustainability wasn’t a fad – it was a way of life. People
raised cows, chickens, and hogs, and grew corn and a few other grains and had
gardens approaching an acre in size.
And it wasn’t because they wanted to; it was because they had to.
Everyone that bemoans hunting and fishing should seriously think about their
arguments against it. If laws were passed to prohibit what is now the legal taking of wild
game, then animal populations would explode–which wouldn’t lead to more freedom for
animals and humans alike but rather to the starvation of these animals.
Starvation would occur because there would not be enough food to go around, leaving
the animals more susceptible to parasites and diseases. Obviously, these animals
would suffer from malnutrition and eventually, death.
Thanks to the many reports and books that have been written on the subject of altered
food sources, many people that were once against hunting are now re-thinking their
As scientists work to “enhance” our foods, they actually change its nutritional value. For
instance, studies have shown that the antibiotics and steroids used to make foods
bigger and better have an impact on our overall health.

As author Michael Pollan noted, “How did humans manage to choose foods and stay
healthy before there were nutrition experts and food pyramids or breakfast cereals
promising to improve your child’s focus or restaurant portions bigger than your head?”
While the ultimate benefit of hunting and fishing is the reward of natural, healthy food
that is put on our table, there is more to hunting than just eating. Ask any hunter or
angler about their adventures and you will be in for a treat.
Hunting is an adventure shared with friends and family; whether it is restoring and
enhancing habitat, planting a food plot, scouting the perfect field, gathering the
necessary tools, complaining about the weather, sharing in the excitement of the hunt,
or sitting down with family and friends to enjoy a crackling fire in the fireplace while
eating fresh grilled duck, hunting is a bonding experience that all should be so lucky to
share in.

James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit conservation
organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant
resources throughout Mississippi. Their website is www.wildlifemiss.org.

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