Over the years, there have been many a deer hunting contest, and often, there are hundreds of participants in any single contest. However, because of the way that many contests are held, there has been a great deal of controversy involved in regulation of contests that has caused some traditional contests to discontinue their occurrence.
For example, the WHA (World Hunting Association) hunting contest was set up as something other than a shoot to kill contest, as many have recently been set up in recent years. Instead, competitors would use drugged darts to simply knock the animal out for a period of time. However, many opposers took offense to this method, claiming it was to be considered cruelty. Although hunting altogether is often touted as cruelty, drugging animals for no apparent reason was protested as being worse, and the WHA (World Hunting Association) competitors were instructed to hunt by traditional harvest format, meaning that they would be shooting to kill.
One of the real concerns with a hunting contest is that it becomes a sport to kill only rather than one that is justified through the eventuality of the meat being eaten. Deer hunting has been regulated in many ways to assure that hunters do not harvest more than necessary for the production of venison meat and sausage. However, by creating a competition, hunters are encouraged to take as many deer as possible, as well as to seek out the largest of the population, cutting off sources of procreation.
One solution that has been suggested so that the competition can continue without overtaxing the deer population is to hold competitions only in extremely controlled grounds, limiting hunting areas to perhaps 1,000 acres on a preserve, which will not infringe on public and private land and not adversely affect the wild deer population.
Still, other deer hunting contest opportunities are held in open season, on open ground, and this could severely affect several aspects of the sport. First, the overall image of hunting suffers in the minds of many who feel that it is unfair to wild game. By adding the idea of killing as many as you can, the image becomes further tainted. Also, the eventuality of hunting in this manner will affect the deer population, making it more difficult for sport hunters harvesting for eating purposes to catch their allowance.
Deer hunting contest participants would do well to stick to strongly regulated competitions, as they will not always be participants and will see the negative outcome of free-for-all competitions when they return to the normal hunting season.