The ethics of hunting

By Tresa Erickson

“No, no, no,” your mother used to tell you, “Not here. This is not the time or the place for that kind of behavior.” Just when you were ready to get into some trouble and have some fun, your mother would always manage to appear and remind you to be on your best behavior. Of all the things your mother may have taught you, nothing applies more to hunting. As ethical hunters, we must always be on our best behavior.

Not everyone appreciates the sport of hunting, and therefore, it is important to be an ethical hunter at all times, especially in the company of non-hunters. Before you go out into the field, take the time to familiarize yourself with your firearms. Know how to use them and practice your shots. This will enable you to make clean shots later.

Hunt when and where allowed. Never hunt outside of the season. Poaching is illegal. If you would like to hunt on private grounds, get the owner’s permission first. Do not trespass under any circumstance. Word will get out, and you may never receive permission to hunt on private grounds again.

Know what regulations are in place in the area where you hunt and follow them to the letter. If the area closes at sunset, then make sure you are out of there by that time, and if you happened to have bagged a deer, transport it out of the area unobtrusively. Use a trailer or pickup truck and close the tailgate. Don’t leave it open for the whole world to see your trophy, or worse, strap it to the top of your car. Don’t give others a reason to doubt the usefulness of hunting.

While hunting, treat all hunters and animals with respect. Don’t steal another hunter’s opportunity, and should someone wander onto your land, ask them to leave politely. Follow up on all of your shots. Take the time to track and retrieve a wounded animal.

These are just some of the ways you can strive to be an ethical hunter. Keep in mind that you are a steward of hunting and the way that you act out in the field reflects not only on you but on the sport itself. Be on your best behavior.

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