Study: hunting offers emotional release

March 29, 1985
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LINCOLN, Neb. -- A study suggests hunting may provide an emotional release that allows hunters to vent frustrations that otherwise might lead to violent crime, says a University of Nebraska criminologist.

'Hunters are able to vent their frustrations in a violent fashion on non-humans, and return from the fields revenged,' said Chris Eskridge.

'The animals catch the wrath that the hunter has for the boss, rather than the spouse absorbing the wrath in some form of domestic violence.'

Beginning with a 'violence begets violence' premise, Eskridge correlated hunting license and statistics on murder, rape, robbery and assault in the 50 states.

Earlier findings indicated exposure to violence on television and in wartime can cause aggressive behavior.

Eskridge said he expected to find that killing animals dulls moral sensitivity and breeds a callousness toward all life, making hunters more inclined to violence toward humans.

But the data suggests hunting actually has the opposite effect, Eskridge said. He noted a significant inverse relationship, suggesting the more hunting licenses issued, the lower the rate of violent crime.

Hunting seems to 'have some type of rejuvenating and calming influence upon individuals ... so that they are less inclined to resort to use of violence when they return home,' Eskridge said.

Eskridge will present his findings Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society of Criminal Justice Sciences in Las Vegas.

Eskridge is a professor in the criminal justice department of the University of Nebraska.

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