23 Oct 2009

Elementary, My Deer Watson

This [unedited] guest post is by a student in my EEP100 class (background post).
Please praise/critique/comment on its economic quality and importance to you.

Emily Riggs says:

Post labor day weekend, the season tends to swing swiftly into Autumn. The changing colors of the forest, from brilliant green to dusky reds and yellows, signify the arrival of a new inhabitant to the woodlands. Man. Yes, the fall season signals the start of 37 consecutive days of deer hunting season. During this time many hunting enthusiasts flock to the woods to bag themselves a buck.

In the United States however, successful policies exists that protect the deer that roam our wilderness. In California, a strict limit of two deer is imposed on the hunter. This however is only one of many hurdles that the hunter has to go through to participate in the sport. The hunter must first buy a hunting license costing $41.20 ($143.35 if you don’t happen to be a California resident). Then the hunter must purchase two additional tags for each of the deer costing $27.55 (first deer), and $34.40 (second deer). The non-resident pays $242.80 for both.

Hunting also has less explicit costs. There is the time that it takes to go out into the woods, track, kill and clean a deer. For people who enjoy these activities the costs of this time will be less then those who are not enthusiasts.

There has always been tension in modern American society about the necessity of hunting. Many people are outspoken in their beliefs that hunting is morally wrong. And many hunters feel that hunting should be enshrined in the constitution right next to freedom of speech. It would be hard for either side to ever change the others views on hunting. The various hurdles that the hunter has to face ensures that only those who get the most marginal benefit from hunting will participate. These people will be the most unlikely to change their behavior despite protests from people who feel hunting is wrong. The anti-hunting people are those whose marginal benefit of hunting is lowest and therefore these people will rarely be enticed to change their opinions of hunting.

Bottom Line: People who participate in hunting do it because they gain a large marginal benefit from it despite the costs. These people have a high marginal utility of hunting and thus will normally not be inclined to change their behavior.