(Original post by SaintSoldier)
The Gurus went hunting for two reasons only:
1) To neutralise threats to villagers from dangerous, man eating animals.
2) To release settle overdue accounts with animals, and release those who were deserving from reincarnation.
It was not
done for pleasure.
Living in a country like this, we are used to hunting being about small animals like foxes, rabbits etc. The Gurus hunted large animals like lions, bears and elephants, who were terrorising local villagers by destroying their homes and crops. The Gurus were helping the villagers.
To explain he part about accounts, we'll look at this Sakhi;
Guru Gobind Singh who sent out his falcon to hunt an animal, once caught he watched as the baaj (falcon) tore into the animals flesh. Asked by one of his Sikhs what was the reasoning behind this. Guru Gobind Singh stated that in a previous life the animal had borrowed some money from the baaj and swore on Akaal Purkhs name that he would pay it back, he never did, now it was pay back time. There are many instances like this which illustrate that the Gurus were not hunting for meat but to save these souls from the continuous cycle of birth and death.
However, the Gurus restrained from killing animals whenever they could. For example, Guru Gar Rai never killed an animal in his life. Instead, he used to rescue old and sick animals, and take them to an animal sanctuary that he had set up. This was the first of its kind in India, as most people didn't appreciate animals (with the exception of cows for Hindus, but no other animals were given such preference or devotion as them). All animals were nurtured there by the Sikhs. This topic is discussed extensively in Mahima Prakash Vol 2.
There are only two Sakhis in which Guru Hargobind is seen hunting, and only seven of Guru Gobind Singh. Clearly, this is not the typical lifestyle of a hunter as they would have done a lot more if they were just in it for the sport. They had a purpose in doing it, that is why they did it so rarely.