Hunting has for centuries been called a sport. In fact, in several books, articles and other literary materials, hunting is referred to as a sport. Even then, different opinions exist on whether hunting qualifies as a sport, with different people giving diverse opinions on the debate. You might also be wondering the same, wondering what really defines a sport and whether hunting fits in the criteria. Therefore, is hunting a sport?
Hunting can be a sport, but not necessarily. The categorization of hunting as either a sport or not depends entirely on how one defines sport. For example, when you view sport as something done just for leisure or pleasure, then many forms of hunting qualify as sport.
However, even the depiction of sports as leisure activities still doesn’t cover most forms of hunting. This is because hunting on its own is viewed so widely you cannot simply generalize people’s reasons participating. To understand the different situations where you can or cannot classify hunting as a sport, continue reading.
Why Is Hunting Not a Sport?
For many people, of course, hunting is an activity that literally brings food to the table. Many hunters take part in it just for the food and not as an activity explored just for leisure. It therefore doesn’t deserve the general term sport’. Any hunter’s goal is to catch something and bring home some proteins, not to win a match. This creates the biggest difference between hunting and general sports.
In fact, to some hunters, hunting is a sacred activity that connects them to their game. The animals are majorly viewed beyond just something that is played and instead, a holy part of nature that keeps their lives going. Sure, there is always physical activity and skills involved, but all these are because the animals sometimes have to be chased. The shots also need to be precise for a humane, ethical death, hence the skills. If animals just stood rooted to one place, then I doubt any of those would be involved.
From a general perspective, hunting is simply just looking for something. You may be hunting for food that doesn’t come from animal bodies, or hunting for a partner or even an individual. The mere idea that you are looking for something is nearly everything that defines the term hunting. You wouldn’t say, however, that looking for something equates it to a sport. In the case of the common hunting, therefore, an individual is simply looking for food among animals.
In most sport activities, participants get chosen with degrees of their skills. For fairness, rules exist that help fairly decide who wins and who loses, and the winner gets some form of reward. Of course both have seasons of prevalence, but there is little to no consideration of qualities in deciding who participates in hunting.
Of course, the biggest difference between game hunting and general sports is the fact that the former involves taking a life. While the hunter will be happy about the achievement of obtaining food and other hunting rewards, there is an encounter with death and the experience cannot be the same. When a golf player scores, for example, it is all celebration because the skills ended with getting a ball inside a hole. Neither of those have life. It is majorly for this reason that hunters always consider their experiences as sacred. Nature and modern sports cannot be compared.
Why Is It Okay to Classify Some Forms of Hunting as Sport?
For several centuries, hunting has been something done just for fun in many cultures. In fact, hunting may have initially been the only activity considered as a sport. What people consider as sports today were likely just called games.
Furthermore, the dictionary definition of sport, includes activities such as hunting and fishing, a fact that generally places hunting at the very definition of sports from a context. It is probably for this reason that many hunters call themselves sportsmen.
When you define sport as something simply done for leisure, some forms of hunting as sport. Some hunters choose to treat hunting as a fun activity that they participate in just for enjoyment. For them, the meat carried back home after hunting is merely a reward of the activity just like several games from which people come back with prizes and money.
Another reason why hunting can still be considered a sport is in viewing of some of the things required in sports activities. Considering nearly all activities are done out of pleasure, may involve rewards and usually require mastery of special skills, hunting is technically part of it. In some cases, hunting may even involve competition between some of the sportsmen.
The idea of completely disqualifying hunting as a sport because of lack of competition between the hunters and the animals may just be a false equivalence. From this perspective, all sport activities involve competition with something or someone of comparably the same abilities, which in this case, cannot be animals. However, animals in hunting are the game, the hunted. In a similar way a soccer ball exists in a soccer game, animals have their own role to play in hunting. The competition is between the sportsmen in both cases.
Lastly, both sporting and hunting involve forming teams that work together to either achieve a common goal or to win against others. This is especially among hunters that participate in the activity for pleasure, who choose to compete at times. In these experiences, participants take time to enjoy the activity and while at it, improve their skills. In such hunting cases, the hunters would refer to themselves as sportsmen which, under the right rules, is very correct.
In summary, hunting cannot be generally considered as a sport despite the commonness in which the two can be likened. It takes individual views on hunting, mostly by the hunters themselves or at least from their perspective, to know where to term a hunting experience as sporting or not. Several forms of hunting exist out there and in each of them, different rules apply. Hunting goes down to touching our primal roots which are much more deeper than common games people play.