Hunting is a popular human activity that has existed since the beginning of early civilization but the activity has different meaning to different people and different cultures. While the ancient hunters, the trophy hunters, the ancient noble hunters, and the 21st century hunters have all killed animals, the wildlife species, the hunting technique, reasons for hunting as well as the impact of hunting have all been different.
According to Collins Dictionary, the word “hunt” has been defined as “pursuing wild animals or game; to engage in the chase of wildlife, and hunting is defined as the action of hunt. Recreation on the other hand has been defined as “the passing of time by doing what amuses or pleases you.”
If we combine the two terms, then we can define recreational hunting as “the pleasant activity of pursuing wild game and engaging in the chase. It is important to note that the definition does not mention the word kill.
However, some scientists emphasize the importance of sporting chance whereby the animals in pursue provide the challenge to the hunter and killing can only occur at the end of the contest. The skills used by the hunter to find the animal and how the animal is killed, are more important than when the animal is killed.
When we talk about recreational hunting, the content and culture of the hunting is essential. These activities include the actions and planning before setting foot out to go hunting. These activities include seeking permission from the relevant authorities, traveling to the hunting zone, and cultural events associated with the hunting such as collecting the trophy from the animals, butchering and eating of the killed animal. How we dress also dictates the cultural, for instance, the tweed jacket of European gamebird hunters, and the khaki of African hunting safaris, all dictate the cultural context of hunting in those regions.
Recreational hunters use a variety of weapons to hunt and kill their target animal such as falcons, archery, ferrets, fire arms, and dart guns. The animals pursued may range from small birds to large mammals, reptiles such as crocodile, and amphibians such as cane toads. For this reasons, recreational hunting can be said to be a multilayered activity that is done in a multilayered cultural and social context.