Fishing is the oldest and most practised sport in the world as well as one of the most popular hobbies. Millions of people the world over enjoy fishing as a past time and many also fish for a living. Indeed, according to statistics the number of working fishermen (including fish farmers) worldwide is close to 38 million and the fish industry provides employment for over 500 million people.
Recreational fishing and sports fishing are hugely popular and have their own sets of rules, laws and restrictions. These guidelines relate to the manner in which fish may be caught and usually contain restrictions on the use of nets and hooks. In addition, people who fish as a hobby have to have a licence and generally have set areas in which they are allowed to fish.
The most common form of recreational fishing is rod fishing, this is also sometimes known as angling. Angling implements the practice of catch and release, whereby it is a requirement that any fish are return to the water immediately after their capture. Another form of fishing as a hobby is known as big game fishing, which involves fishing off a boat to catch large open-water specimens.
Hunting is one of the most ancient pursuits in the known world and dates back as early as Palaeolithic times. Hunting is the act of pursuing, capturing, trapping and killing animals (usually wild) for the purposes of food, trade or recreation.
Hunting is a vastly popular hobby, generally amongst men and these days is practised in designated areas, at clubs or via contractors.
The most common type of modern-day group hunting activity in the UK, until its ban in 2005, was fox hunting. This was the act of tracking a fox or foxes on horseback with a pack of hounds, which would run down the fox and kill it. Proponents of fox hunting argue it is important for pest control, whilst opponents argue it is barbaric and unnecessary.
Another type of hunting is known as stalking, which involves tracking an animal (usually a deer) on foot, with a dog and high calibre rifle. This is often done for recreational purposes, however sometimes individuals or companies will contract a hunter to hunt and kill an animal that is proving a nuisance to them or their livelihood. Many professional hunters enjoy a successful and lucrative career and many hobbyists may take on contracted work or progress into a career in hunting.