Hunting is one of the world’s oldest sports and, admittedly, still very fun. Moreover, it is a sport that also literally brings food to the table. It is therefore no doubt that several people take part in it, wither using bows and arrows or using riffles. Even then, the question of ethicality and humanity in hunting continues to keep several people from taking part in it. It is for that reason that people often ask whether there could be a humane way of practicing hunting.
So, is bow hunting cruel? The simplest answer to this question is no. Bow hunting is not cruel provided you do it correctly, making a quick and almost painless death. Aiming for both lungs of a deer, for example, is one way of killing it quickly and painlessly.
Nevertheless, bow hunting can still be painful and cruel when the hunter is inexperienced or doesn’t know where to aim at. Read on to find out how exactly to carry out bow hunting ethically, and the safety issues to consider while at it.
It is important to understand that hunting is a skill like any other and small mistakes can make it horrendous. In both bow hunting and riffle hunting, the most critical thing is knowing where to aim at and place the shot. Below are a number of things you need to know to take part in humane bow hunting.
Preparation is the key
You are responsible for ensuring that you and the bow and arrows are in good operating form. Even during off-season, you need to practice frequently to not lose the skill. Nothing is as bad for the game or the sport’s image as hitting the game in the wrong spot and having it run off with an arrow. Lack of preparation might cause just that, and the animal may end up bleeding slowly and painfully, to death. That is the opposite of humane hunting which is what you’re going for. For that reason, you need to prepare for the skill and the equipment needs to be in good operating order.
Choosing the right group of hunters
Humane hunting means even the people hunting with you follow the ethical standards of hunting. You may be aiming correctly for a humane way of hunting but your company remains cruel even with bows and arrows. You may just be part of the problem in this case.
Respect the Animals
Knowing the animals you hunt increases your regard for the animals and improves your hunting experience. Your favorable experience multiplies as you improve your bow hunting abilities and become more aware of your environment. Bowhunters who are moral and humane should be patient. They do not shoot until their target is inside their kill range. While hunting is a sport and should be enjoyed, aimless and desperate-looking shot will just injure the game and they’ll probably run away with the arrow. You need to respect the animals’ lives especially when you will need them for your next hunting.
Respect for the Hunting Land
While it doesn’t directly affect the game when you trespass, respect is part of ethicality. Remember the land on which you’re hunting is home to such animals as those you hunt for, and therefore deserves all the respect. When hunting on privately owned property, always obtain permission first and respect the wishes of the owner. this works for every hunt. Just because they agreed once doesn’t imply they will every time. And be honest. Don’t claim you’ll have two people and then show up with a half-dozen. Be it on private property or public property, make sure to leave the land in the same condition as you found it.
Where to Aim for When Making the Shot
That being said, it is also necessary to know exactly where to aim at to make that quick, painless kill. When a deer is shot with a bow, it dies from extensive bleeding caused by the arrow cutting off significant blood flow, thereby cutting off the animal’s oxygen supply and rendering the brain useless. As a result, any abrupt, huge loss of blood, whether externally or inside the body cavity, will suffice. To have the animal drop fast, its heart, both of its lungs and the heart, one of the lungs and its liver, or an artery in the chest or thigh are necessary.
You need to concentrate on your position and timing while making that shot, to make it clean, quick and ethical. For that reason, you need to ensure you are in the correct range, skill and timing.
Again, there is no need for forcing a shot. Your ability and experience, of course, determines how close by the game should be for you to make that humane kill. Some hunters can easily make a kill beyond 30 yards away, but when you’re unsure, it is important to not take that risk. When the game is as close as three steps away, aim at it like it is a little farther away and take consideration of angles. Regular practice, especially from an elevated position, will help you master the skill and find out the distance that works for you.
In case you make the shot but the deer accidentally doesn’t die immediately, don’t chase after it. For example, if you were aiming for the lungs and the hurt but you missed and instead hit elsewhere, the deer might be running away. You will most likely not get the chance to make a second shot that will kill him immediately. In this case, the best option is to let him go. He will likely die from the wounds anyway, though painfully, and making other shots may just hurt him further without killing him. Eventually, when you still have the time, following his blood trail may help you get to wherever he fell. Nonetheless, always follow all the measures to take part in ethical, humane hunting.
In conclusion, other than being the traditional way of hunting, bow hunting, when done correctly, is more humane than riffle hunting especially because it is quicker and almost painless. Moreover, it is also a safer method when hunting for meat, since not everyone would enjoy a piece of meat killed with bullets. Even then, riffle hunting can still make for humane hunting provided the aim is made correctly for a quick, painless death.