Hunting is a cruel sport. Hunters maim and orphan animals; many injured animals slowly stave to death. One moment an animal is living and breathing on this earth, and in the next minute they are lying cold on the ground. Recreational hunting is unethical for it is taking a life for personal pleasure. I would also argue that for the hunter, this is not a socially redeeming activity.
When I observe other mammals and their behavior, it is obvious that we are very closely related to them. Mothers nurse their young. Animal parents fiercely protect their offspring and teach them skills for their survival. Animals seem to grieve. Animals cry out in pain and comfort each other.
We would not kill our pets. Laws protect pets from abuse. Then why would we kill animals of similar intelligence and sentience?
Leg hold traps, a form of hunting, are still in use today. The poor animal suffers for days at the trap. Many animal rights activists have succeeded in banning such torture machines because we have become more compassionate toward our fellow creatures. Just take one quick peak at this video of a mother otter with her baby, and yet no so long ago she would be trapped or shot. Can we really look at this video and think that was ever ok?
My hope is that someday all hunting will be viewed as cruel, and laws that protect our pets will also protect our wildlife.