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Varmint Hunting

The term "vermin" refers to a pest, or nuisance animal, especially if it has the capacity to carry a disease that can either be transmitted to people, or, more commonly, that can be transmitted to livestock or other farm animals. The term comes from the Latin word "vermis" which means worm, and refers to the larvae of an insect that had the nasty habit of burrowing into, and ruining supplies of food.

Animals that are considered varmints in some areas may not be considered such in other regions. It really depends on the impact the varmint has on the indigenous animals in the area, or upon the vegetation specific to a region. Often times, a varmint species ifs one that has been introduced to an area to be raised for food, and has gotten loose and bred in the wild. Without the natural predators that kept it's population in check in it's native environment, the newly introduced vermin will breed unchecked, eventually taxing the environment, and starving out any native animals that may depend upon the same resources for food. In order to keep this from happening, the mass extermination of the vermin may be warranted, and in some cases encouraged or mandated by local government or conservation groups intent on bringing their environment back into balance.

In other cases, the classification of a species of animal as a pest or vermin depends solely on the impact the animal in question has on local farmer or ranchers. For instance, the prairie dog plays an important role in the American Southwest. The prairie dog's tunnels serve to decompress the soil that has trampled down and compacted by herd animals, such as cattle or sheep, raised by area ranchers. They also serve as a primary food sources for many indigenous animals. Despite their importance to the local environment, their wholesale slaughter is accepted, due to the fact that they eat crops designated for ranchers to feed to their livestock.