Alaskans are probably the only US citizens who can physically show you more than one way to skin a cat. Most Alaskan children learn how to shoot squirrels before they learn how to tie their shoes. Shooting animals for fun is the number one past time in Alaska. Alaskans always need an excuse to go out in nature, and shooting animals is the number one reason they spend time in the great outdoors. The hunting culture is a “way of life” that is viciously defended by most Alaskans. Sport hunting is a great excuse to have lots of guns, which means there are lots of guns in Alaska being used against women in domestic violence situations. No wonder Alaska has twice the violent crime rate as the rest of the US.
Sport hunting of predators is especially damaging because predator species do not have the reproductive capacity to recover from predation by humans. Bears take 3-5 years to raise one or two cubs – since bears are meant to be at the top of the food chain. Even prey species like moose are struggling due to sport hunting in Alaska.
* I draw a clear distinction between sport hunting (hunting for pleasure) and subsistence hunting (hunting for food). I believe that subsistence hunting is less cruel to animals than commercial agricultural practices.