There are three “pesky animal” problems in the news today: Mountain lions lurking in the suburbs. Loons overbreeding and messing local parks, and deer munching and trampling public gardens. All three are being debated in their local jurisdictions with the single option of killing them with arrows. On the assumption, I presume, that guns are unsporting when animals are out of the woods.
In Minnesota, when deer need to be removed from urban areas, I’ve heard of bow and arrow sharpshooters being brought in. It has nothing to do with sportsmanship, but is because guns at animals in crowded urban areas have a greatly increased chance of injuring people or damaging property if the shot misses.
Arrows, with much shorter ranges, are less likely to hit something behind your target.
Unless one was extremely proficient with a bow, I don’t think it would very humane to kill animals in that fashion. Just because they are pests, in my opinion, doesn’t mean they should suffer unduly. Especially small ones.
My folks said that they brought in bowhunters to thin the deer population in an upscale suburb in Montgomery County, MD. a few years ago. My guess is that they use arrows because (as stated above), they are less likely to cause collateral damage if they miss, and they aren’t going to freak out the neighbors with booming rifle shots.
Although a bow and arrow at close range can be effective for deer, a shotgun is a better choice at close range because it has more killing power and still has a limited range. However, it makes noise. I suspect the use of archers has as much to do with the ability to kill quietly as anything else for those municipalities which use it. The idea of taking mountain lions with a bow and arrow seems a little sketchier–are crossbows the consideration? I’d be impressed if any jurisdiction came to an agreement that loons should be killed.
Better from what standpoint? Quieter and less risk of “collateral damage”, certainly, however you have no opportunity for a second shot with a bow (bowhunters can certainly bag large animals such as mountain lions and deer, dunno if it’d the weapon of choice for birds). Both of my roommates back in college were bowhunters and they both said that your average bowhunter needs to be within about 10 yards to have the best chance for a kill. A really good hunter maybe 20 yards.
From a sporting standpoint that requires more skill and stealth which I admire, however if the goal is to cull the animals quickly and effectively, and not worry about sportsmanship, I’d think a good shot with a rifle would be the way to go. For birds don’t most hunters use a shotgun, as Chief Pedant suggested?
The answer is that the question suffers from a false dichotomy.
There are other alternatives, from trapping, to restricting food sources, through to birth control, also, how about human activity not encroaching upon their habitat, there are other alternatives, any true answer is going to depend upon the severity of the problem, costs, the type of animal, there may be moral concerns, health issues etc etc.
It is not so simplistic as the OPs original alternatives.
…if you are looking at real world solutions and not just an ethics debating point.
The OP isn’t asking what to do about the animals or how we as humans can best interact with our environment and the other animals in it. This isn’t a theoretical question, it’s an actual situation (one of these jurisdictions is around here) where some localities have said “There is a problem with certain types of animals in certain locations and we have made the decision to kill some of those animals”. They have also made the decision to do this via bowhunting, so the question is “Why would one choose bow over gun in this situation”.
This is simply dealing with the problem long after it has ocurred, it speaks volumes of poor planning, probably a lack of funds to do anything about it, maybe even of taxation to fund a solution.
In other words, it speaks of a lack of responsibility by local society, do things the right way in the first place, and maybe choices would not need to be narrowed down to shooting or arrows.
The locals screwed up by not dealing with it, now they have to deal with the consequencies.
If it came to a straight question between guns and arrows, and the practicalities, then this would simply be a general question, but since this is in Great Debates, one assumes that the OP is looking perhaps to explore the issues further, in which case, my post is pertinant.
How about the ethics of leaving nature to its own devices, about not doing anything to offset mans activities which seem to have upset the balance in the local fauna, or should we intervene at all.
Then why aren’t the mountain lions clearing up the deer problem? I’ll assume they are not in the same area. Dart the excess cats, bring them to where the deer are, and don’t put your dog or children outside by themselves. Voila! A rebuilt ecosystem!