Ivorian-hunterHunting is the oldest profession in the world. In fact, our evolution as a species was in part molded by hunting. Hunting was a universal profession and in some cases, more than just a profession. Hunting was a survival technique, and in the age of 'survival of the fittest', it was very necessary for every man born of a woman to learn at least the basic rules and techniques involved in hunting.

It is true our human ancestors roamed the land and gathered edible fruits, vegetables, roots of plants, etc. from their surroundings. However, at the end of the day, their main diet mostly depended on the animals they were able to hunt down for food in their environment. 

Not much has changed in some rural and isolated communities across Africa. In fact, in some rural communities across the continent, hunting remains as reputable as it was centuries ago. In Africa, hunting is not a sport. Hunting is a way of life and it is how some people survive.

In America and other parts of the western world, hunting has become just a hobby and in some cases, just a game to entertain the public. The main purpose of hunting in Africa however, remains just as it was in the beginning of time. We hunt for food and we eat what we hunt.

As I mentioned earlier on, hunting was a survival technique. Hunting provided more than just food. The skins and hides of the animals humans hunted also provided clothing and shelter. In other words, hunting was perhaps the most important profession in human history.

Hunting in Africa involves knowing not just where to look for animals to shoot but also knowing yourself and your environment. Hunting in Africa involves knowing the forests, the mountains, the rivers, and even the deserts. Hunting in Africa involves knowing not just the languages written and spoken by humans but also the several unwritten languages and expressions used by both plants and animals. In other words, in Africa, hunting as a profession involves both art and science.

So how does one become a successful hunter in Africa? Well, that is a very broad question. Hunting has been a family tradition in Africa for millenia. In other words, hunting is passed down from generation to generation. Although there have been several female hunters in the history of man, in the case of Africa, hunting has always been a male profession. In Africa, male children born into the family of hunters often inherit the profession from their fathers.

In some societies, especially those who practice matrilineal inheritance (for example the Akan people of Ghana), boys often learn the profession from their maternal uncles. Those who were not born into family of hunters can also take hunting as a profession by learning from their master hunters. Even in the olden days there were several schools of hunting across the continent who taught people the art and skills involved in hunting.

As I mentioned earlier on, hunting in the olden days in Africa was a much respected profession. In fact, hunting in the olden days combined several other professions. In the age where there were no policemen and soldiers to protect the people from invaders, several communities in Africa depended on the services of hunters who were always at the forefront in battlefields.

Also, in Africa, you could not possibly be a hunter without the basic knowledge of plants and animals and above all, the use of herbs, roots and barks of plants, etc. to treat diseases and ailments. In other words, most hunters also served as the "medicine men" for their various societies. Although these services are no longer required in the big cities and towns, several villages and small towns across Africa still depend on their hunters.

Someone may ask, "Should hunting be promoted then?" Of course not. There is absolutely no reason why sports hunting should be legalized. There is absolutely no reason why some rich people and egomaniacs should be allowed to roam the globe shooting and killing endangered species all for their selfish gains. There is also no reason why China and other countries should be allowed to roam the planet killing elephants, Rhinos, etc. just for their tusks.

Another major reason why hunting is now a big threat to the planet is the world population. The world now contains over 8 billion people making hunting an unsustainable food source. Most animal species are going extinct making hunting a huge threat not just to some animal species but the environment and the planet as a whole.

In other words, more and more communities (especially those surrounding the Amazon rainforest and some isolated rural communities in Africa) who still depend mainly on hunting as a food source, should be encouraged to get into agriculture or find other sustainable food sources.

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