Elk NetworkHunting Sustains Balance in Prey Populations

Conservation | March 6, 2018
hunting is conservation

Below are the words of Chris Kubik who authored the Hunting is Conservation department in the May-June 2017 issue of Bugle magazine. You can read the introductory piece here.

The public also pretty much understands that upsetting the predator/prey balance can cause unwanted, trickle-down effects. For example, people know that when deer populations run too high, flower gardens get mowed down and more cars hit deer. Same thing with elk. When populations run high, ranchers know that the surplus elk will wreak havoc in their fields, and urban residents know that they’ll see elk filtering into their neighborhoods.  

These are the effects that remind me that not only do I hunt for the meat, or for the challenge, but that I also hunt as a natural predator within the biotic community. My role as a hunter—a natural predator—is to help sustain balance.

As an individual, I benefit from the meat’s sustenance. As a member of the biotic community, I contribute to the critical balance of life on Earth. If I don’t fulfill my role as part of the greater environmental community, imbalances quickly become evident. These imbalances are evident not just to me, but to the increasing number of Americans who have wildlife in their backyards.

Chris Kubik grew up in rural Nebraska and spent three decades in the Army.