Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife or feral animals, by humans for food, recreation, or trade. Animals may also hunt other animal species but this is usually called predation. In present-day use, lawful hunting is distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law. The species that are hunted are referred to as game, and are usually mammals and migratory or non-migratory gamebirds.
Hunting can also involve the elimination of vermin, as a means of pest control to prevent diseases caused by overpopulation. Hunting advocates state that hunting can be a necessary component of modern wildlife management, for example to help maintain a population of healthy animals within an environment's ecological carrying capacity when natural checks such as predators are absent. In the United States, wildlife managers are frequently part of hunting regulatory and licensing bodies, where they help to set rules on the number, manner and conditions in which game may be hunted.
The pursuit, capture and release, or capture for food of fish is called fishing, which is not commonly categorised as a form of hunting. Trapping is also usually considered a separate activity. It is also not considered hunting to pursue animals without intent to kill them, as in wildlife photography or birdwatching. The practice of foraging or gathering materials from plants and mushrooms is also considered separate.
Skilful tracking and acquisition of an elusive target has caused the word hunt to be used in the vernacular as a metaphor, as in treasure hunting, "bargain hunting", and even "hunting down corruption and waste."
Famous quotes containing the word hunting:
“As I drew a still fresher soil about the rows with my hoe, I disturbed the ashes of unchronicled nations who in primeval years lived under these heavens, and their small implements of war and hunting were brought to the light of this modern day.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“He is the old hunting dog of the sea
who in the morning will rise from it
and be undrowned
and they will take his perfect green body
and paint it red.”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)
“Signal smokes, war drums, feathered bonnets against the western sky. New messiahs, young leaders are ready to hurl the finest light cavalry in the world against Fort Stark. In the Kiowa village, the beat of drums echoes in the pulsebeat of the young braves. Fighters under a common banner, old quarrels forgotten, Comanche rides with Arapaho, Apache with Cheyenne. All chant of war. War to drive the white man forever from the red mans hunting ground.”
—Frank S. Nugent (19081965)