Killing Animals for Recreation? A Quantitative Study of Hunters’ Motives and Their Perceived Moral Relevance

By C. Gamborg, F.S. Jensen & P. Sandøe (2018)
Society & Natural Resources. Taylor & Francis


Hunters in the Western world today do not need to hunt to obtain food and other animal products. So why do they hunt? This paper examines the motives of hunters, the motives ascribed to hunters by members of the general public, and the role motives play for the moral acceptability of hunting among members of the general public. It draws on a nationally representative survey of the general public (n = 1,001) and hunters (n = 1,130) in Denmark. People with a negative attitude to hunting are more likely to take motives into account when they consider the acceptability of hunting. Three clusters of motives defining distinctive hunting motivational orientations were identified: action/harvest, management/care, and natural and social encounters. The general public ascribed action/harvest motives to hunters more than hunters did. In a policy perspective, if hunters’ motives are misperceived, improved dialog may be needed to protect the legitimacy of recreational hunting.

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A dividing issue: Attitudes to the shooting of rear and release birds among landowners, hunters and the general public in Denmark

By C. Gamborg, F.S. Jensen & P. Sandøe (2016)
Land Use Policy
. Elsevier


Why are organised shoots involving birds that are farm-reared and subsequently released a dividing issue in several countries? As a contribution to answering this question the paper reports a national survey of landowners (n = 1207), hunters (n = 1130) and the general public (n = 1001) in Denmark. While there was broad agreement across all three groups that recreational hunting of naturally occurring “surplus” wildlife is acceptable, the release of farm-reared game birds for shooting was a dividing issue, both within the groups and between them. The majority of participants (51%) in the survey representing the general public were against the practice; a majority of hunters (61%) were in favour of it; and landowner approval rates lay between these two poles. Respondents with a “mutualist” or “distanced” wildlife value orientation according to the definitions by Teel et al. (2005) consistently displayed a more negative attitude to rear and release shooting than those with a “utilitarian” orientation. The differences in attitude could not be explained in terms solely of underlying concerns about nature conservation and biodiversity protection. Concerns about the behaviour of the released birds, and about hunting “culture” and regulatory measures, also informed the participants’ attitudes. The regulatory framework governing shooting based on the release of farm-reared birds could reflect a wider range of concerns than those hitherto acknowledged.

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