Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wild animals. Hunting wildlife or feral animals is most commonly done by humans for meat, recreation, to remove predators that can be dangerous to humans or domestic animals, to remove pests that destroy crops or kill livestock, or for trade. Many non-human species also hunt - see predation. Regulations distinguish lawful hunting from poaching, which involves the illegal killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species. The species that are hunted are referred to as game or prey and are usually mammals and birds. Economists classify hunting as part of primary production - alongside forestry, agriculture and fishing. Hunting by humans arose in Homo erectus or earlier, in the order of millions of years ago. Hunting has become deeply embedded in human culture. Hunting can be a means of pest control. Hunting advocates state that hunting can be a necessary component of modern wildlife management, for example, to help maintain a population of healthy animals within an environment's ecological carrying capacity when natural checks such as predators are absent or very rare. However, excessive hunting has also heavily contributed to the endangerment, extirpation and extinction of many animals. The pursuit, capture and release, or capture for food of fish is called fishing, which is not commonly categorised as a form of hunting. It is also not considered hunting to pursue animals without intent to kill them, as in wildlife photography, birdwatching, or scientific-research activities which involve tranquilizing or tagging of animals or birds. The practice of foraging or gathering materials from plants and mushrooms is also considered separate from hunting. Skillful tracking and acquisition of an elusive target has caused the word hunt to be used in the vernacular as a metaphor, as in treasure hunting, bargain hunting, and even hunting down corruption and waste. Some animal rights activists regard hunting as cruel, unnecessary, and unethical.
La caza (también denominada actividad cinegética) es la actividad o acción en la que se captura o abate un animal en estado salvaje. Según el filósofo español José Ortega y Gasset, «la caza es todo lo que se hace antes y después de la muerte del animal. La muerte es imprescindible para que exista la cacería».