This is a highly contentious question and the answer depends as much on who is asking as who is being asked.

Those who are inherently against game hunting claim it is cruel and inhumane. Those in favour claim that it has significant benefits to the environment and conservation. While there is evidence to support both claims, it is only by looking at the bigger picture that a true evaluation can be made. While there are instances of animals suffering as the result of an unsuccessful game hunt, this is by far the minority. This generally occurs in instances of novice and uncertified game hunters acting without the proper supervision. In most cases, especially in Africa, hunting is conducted under the supervision and guidance of a professional hunter who ensures that kills are clean and humane.

Worldwide, game hunting requires regulated licences, the revenue from which goes almost exclusively to conservation activities with the resultant benefit to the industry and economy of the country of harvest. This is by no means the only source of income accrued from hunting activities. In addition there are the fees paid by hunters for the actual hunt, the additional spend from the hunting party throughout the duration of the stay in the country of harvest, the fees paid to trackers, the fact that the venison can be sold or given to local populations, the fees paid for taxidermy and numerous more.

While hunting does face certain obstacles in terms of anti-hunting sentiment, this is usually cyclical and generally follows negative reports such the hunting of animals like Cecil The Lion or the instances of canned lions. There is a steady overall increase in the support for hunting. This is partially due to the ability of a growing number of people to travel to more ‘exotic’ destinations in search of more exciting adventures.

The arguments will continue to rage as to the benefits or advantages of hunting compared to the negatives associated with this activity. However, if sentiment is removed, then even the conservationists admit that the benefits of hunting far outweigh the negatives. It is also a fact that the majority of hunters fall into the higher income echelons which means that they are better able to afford the necessary licences and training required to ensure that their kills are humane and do not result in unnecessary suffering.

Hunting will never be a truly popular activity, but with the correct rules, regulations and control it is possible that hunting can find its rightful place.