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Topic: Why Do Some Refer To Hunting As A Sport? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 25 March 2018 at 6:48pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

From time to time, I hear hunting described as a sport. Is it?

Personally, I don't see how it can be. Someone described fox hunting as a sport. Come on!

Firstly, I don't see how hunting for pleasure can possibly be a sport.

Secondly, a sport should surely be equal. Players/teams will have equal equipment, numbers, etc. Boxers compete in weight divisions. You wouldn't have put a heavyweight boxer, fighting bareknuckle, against a flyweight boxer with gloves.

Sport can be unequal in a certain sense, e.g. football (soccer) involves two teams of 11 playing against each other. If one person is sent off, then it becomes 11 against 10. But they start off with an equal number.

There's a charity here which lobbies against the likes of fox hunting, but even that organisation seems to describe the likes of fox hunting as a 'cruel sport'.

I don't see how hunting for pleasure can ever be designated as sport.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 25 March 2018 at 6:50pm
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 27 March 2018 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Calling it a "sport" means all parties have an equal chance of "winning".  If hunting was truly a sport, then the hunters would be going out there without weapons and trying to take down their prey with their bare hands....
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Joe Murray
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Posted: 27 March 2018 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

and there would be scores, trading cards, etc...

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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 27 March 2018 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

If this is a serious question, then start with a definition of "sport" and look at the history of the concept.

Sports as a practice have a certain amount of cruelty "baked" into their origins.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 27 March 2018 at 7:44pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Sport historically means a diversion and the concept of sport as a diversion of some kind predates the etymological origins of blood sport by some margin.

I would therefore say the notion that sport inherently has cruelty or bloodshed as part of its genesis is at the very least debatable.

The Romans were booting around footballs thousands of years ago. The Greeks were running marathons thousands of years ago. Wrestling, running, riding horses, hitting things with sticks. These things have been going at least several hundred years before the Colosseum was ever built.

In terms of blood shed in the Colosseum, the Romans might be able to take a plea of not knowing any better (though they probably did); it's a plea that we certainly can't take. Fox hunting is cruel and the antithesis of any kind of sensible notion about what constitutes sporting behaviour. Ditto for cock fighting, badger baiting, bull fighting. It's inflicting pain on an animal, without any way out or say in the matter, for 'amusement'. I see this as scarily devoid of empathy. I'd throw fishing in their to boot. Not an even contest!


Edited by Peter Martin on 27 March 2018 at 7:44pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 2:22am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Yeah, fishing. Fishing to eat? Fine. Fishing for the sake of it? I don't get that.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 11:28am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

It would be nice if history told us sports were invented as a peaceful form of entertainment for filling our spare time. But the historic record suggests other, darker origins: Practicing skills for survival and war.

Here's an interesting article from Psychology Today: The (Violent) Origin of Sports
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:36pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

That article is very big on speculation and very light on actual evidence linking 'raiding' with sport.

Soccer hooliganism may be a remnant of ancient tribal urges that are baked into our genes but, when last I checked, soccer hooliganism wasn't a sport.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:53pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

There are some interesting points in the article, and I am glad I read it.

But some passages were clutching at straws:


 QUOTE:
Watching apes charge through the jungle, taking swipes at their opponents, is like watching an American football play in action.

That's quite a leap (pun intended).


 QUOTE:
 In fact, the word "blitz" is used to describe a play in American football where a sudden all-out attack is launched on the opponent. It echoes the word "blitzkrieg" that described the lightning raids of the Germans during World War II, conquering Czechoslovakia, Holland, and France.

Meaning/usage can change over time.

I worked for the civil service. Whenever there was a lot to be done (tax deadline in April!), one manager would say, "We really need to blitz the post." I wasn't a fan of that phrase, but I doubt anything violent was in his mind, consciously or subconsciously.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:54pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"Yeah, fishing. Fishing to eat? Fine. Fishing for the sake of it? I don't get that. "

...

Right, but probably the closest one to what we consider sports nowadays. The pro tours keep stats and have rankings thru their seasons.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

It just seems immoral. As a kid, I was naive, I asked adults what kind of fish they were eating. 

"Oh, we don't eat them, we catch them and then they go back in the water."

Why?!!!
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 1:05pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

You're right Robbie.

Even if it's catch and release, who knows what untold stress is put upon the fish.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 2:27pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Yep. I used to tell myself their brains don't have pain centres like ours, but really all animals must be able to feel pain. Being reeled in by a hook in the mouth cannot be an OK experience.
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Peter: That article is very big on speculation and very light on actual evidence linking 'raiding' with sport.

**

Perhaps you have evidence to the contrary?
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Robbie: Meaning/usage can change over time.

**

Which is really the answer to your initial question. Hunting was once much more in the mainstream of sports - man against nature in a contest that was once a much more equal match. Technology has changed that part until this "sport" hardly matches the common use of the term.

Wolverine once pointed out, hunting and killing are two different actions.

Edited by Mark Haslett on 28 March 2018 at 3:17pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 March 2018 at 5:09pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Oh, come on. Blitzkrieg, a term from WWII,  being used as a metaphor to add colour to modern sports commentary means literally nothing about the origins of sports. It's like saying winning the Grand Slam in tennis proves tennis originally derives from playing cards.
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