Hunting is an activity that involves pursuing a living thing for food, recreation or for commercial reasons. In most cases the living thing that is pursued is wildlife. Since there are various animals that are now endangered, hunting refers to the lawful practice of pursuing living things while poaching is the term used for unlawful killing of animals that are endangered. Sometimes hunting can also be taken up to eradicate vermin in order to ensure pest control. While some may differ, it is believed that hunting is a necessary aspect of modern day wildlife management especially in areas where there are insufficient predators. In fact wildlife managers are part of the team that lists hunting regulations and provides licenses for hunting in order to manage the numbers that are hunted.
The capture of fishes is referred to as fishing and not categorized under hunting. Trapping is also considered a different activity where animals are trapped, marked and then often let go. On the other hand, pursuing animals for the purpose of wildlife photography is often referred to as hunting too.
As an activity, hunting predates the rise of the species called homo sapiens. In fact some of the early extinctions that took place were due to the hunting activities of hominid. Hunting continued as a part of human activity even after the advent of agriculture. Kings were often shown on various artifacts as hunting large game like lions, tigers and more. In most cases they are shown hunting on a chariot with tools such as a bow and arrow. As the domestication of some animals like dogs grew, animal aided hunting began to surface. Scent hound hunting, coursing, falconry and ferreting are some of the examples of scent hunting.
Hunting is also closely related to religion. Hindu scriptures show it as an acceptable occupation and the incarnations of the Hindu gods have been known to hunt wild animals. On the other hand, oriental religion Jainism teaches the respect for any kind of life. This is a religion that does not allow meat eating or hunting. While Buddhism also preaches the same, they are less stringent about the rules as compared to the Jains. From the early Christian times, hunting was forbidden for the Roman Catholic Church clerics. However, the bible does not place any restrictions on hunting and there are specific Kosher laws that detail the manner in which meat should be procured, cleaned and consumed. Jewish hunting laws are based on Torah and the Islamic Sharia law states that non preying animals can be hunted for food but not for game or sport.
Today hunting as a sport has taken a different meaning completely. The free hunting that was practices in the earlier ages is not something that is allowed by most countries in order to ensure ecological balance. However, hunting as a sport can be practiced with the appropriate licenses.
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