Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:42 AM
Personally, I don't consider killing anything that I'm not planning to eat hunting. That being said, there are plenty of critters that I'm not gonna eat that are better off dead for a multitude of reasons. They may be dangerous to people or other animals that are around them, like poisonous snakes or Hornet nests, I'm not going to go out looking for them to kill, but if they show up in my yard, they are toast. They may be an ecological hazard, like feral cats in Australia or mongoose in Hawaii because they have been introduced into an ecosystem where they have no checks on growth. Feral hogs fall into this category here in Texas, although they are very tasty as well.
European sparrows are an introduced species in North America, and they compete with (much more interesting) native species like bluebirds for habitat, and are actually destructive to bluebird nests and nesting sites. I consider them fair game and will kill them any chance I get, even though I don't eat them. I consider it pest control rather than hunting., however.
So, If you are planning to limit your kills to sparrows, go for it. I doubt that you will rack up a bunch of them, as the little buggers are not easy to sneak up on and hit, but In my book, no harm, no foul.
Randomly wandering about shooting any bird you see however, is a pretty good invitation to having your butt kicked by a fair number of people (including me) if you happen to get caught at it.
And of course, the standard message about it being safer and more humane to practice your skills on targets till you can hit well enough to kill consistently still apply, but I wouldn't sweat it quite as much with sparrows as some other critters.
Ok, I'm ready for the howls of outrage from the PETA crowd now.