I’ve never understood the “shoot on sight” mentality that I’ve seen applied to certain species in my life. There are circumstances where I can see lethal action being reasonable, but I simply cannot swallow that it is always reasonable.
I have a very vivid memory of car-pooling home from school with the neighborhood kids (if you can call rural homesteads spread out across thousands of acres as a “neighborhood”) when one of the kids my age spotted a porcupine ambling along the side of the road. He eagerly turned to his adult cousin who was driving and asked if he could get out and shoot it. His cousin said no, but pulled one of the family revolvers out of the glove box and shot it himself. As my and my family’s usual reaction to seeing wildlife on the road was to enjoy it as a fleeting moment of rare awe, I was shocked and asked why they had taken the animal’s life. “They’re pests, and they ruin our fruit trees.” The fact that the animal was found miles away from their nearest property line made no difference.
I’ve taken the head off of a rattlesnake that was coiled up beneath my mother’s front steps with a shovel, but it was posing a threat to us, our pets and our livestock and it would have been dangerous for me to try and catch it and move it off to a more remote corner of our property. It was a hard decision to make and I felt bad, but I was alone at the time and if something had gone wrong with the capture attempt it could have gotten ugly.
These were two different circumstances that took place within a few miles of each other with many years in between, but I think most people would consider one of the killings as unnecessary and the other as warranted but unfortunate.