For some, hearing the word hunter can bring about all kinds of connotations about people who prey on defenseless animals in an unfair battle, simply to get themselves a trophy. The idea of ethical hunting refers to a style of hunting where the hunter knows and respects the game they are hunting and how they go about doing it.
A number of principles are involved in the ethical hunter definition, and to be one you need to ensure you follow each one of them whenever you’re in the field. The hope with this type of hunting is that it will allow this sport to continue as a beloved American pastime in this country, and prompt more new recruits to become ethically responsible too.
There are three key aspects to this type of hunting, and every time you go out into the field you should be working hard to ensure you meet them.
In order to be a good hunter, you should understand and respect the animals you are hunting. Learn all you can about their biology, the correct way to dispatch them, and how to hunt them fairly.
Different states come with their own laws in regards to hunting and so too the areas you hunt in, so ensure you’re following these correctly and adhering to any regulations in place.
This refers to not only while you’re hunting but when you’re dealing with non-hunters too. It’s important to keep the opinion of hunting as regarded as possible, which means respectfully listening to other’s opinions.
Each of these aspects covers the main principles of ethical hunting, but there’s a little more to it than that. Whenever you make the choice to go out on a hunt, it is your responsibility to have an ethical approach to allow this sport to continue.
One of the main principles of ethical hunting is to ensure you chase your game fairly. Many hunters that agree when you start using equipment and mechanics you’re effectively not hunting anymore, and there’s no thrill to this type of chase.
Any time you’re hunting game, you should be putting in a fair effort to catch them. Allow the animals for a chance to evade you successfully without the use of tracking collars, two-way radios, and the illegal use of vehicles, and you’ll be well on your way to following the ethical hunting code.
If you use a firearm to hunt, you need to be cautious with where you place your shot. You should always aim at vital areas such as the heart and lungs, so you can ensure a direct hit. This allows you to dispatch the game quickly and means they won’t suffer unnecessarily in the process.
As an added confirmation, you should perform a follow-up shot if your first wasn’t fatal so that your game is dispatched quickly. An ethical hunter practices their aim off the field regularly so that they have a better chance of delivering a fatal shot the first time.
To be an ethical hunter, you need to ensure you’re physically fit enough to chase your game through all kinds of terrain. The reason for this is that if you hit an animal and don’t dispatch it, the animal may run off hurt in the wilderness. A good hunter will be able to follow the animal through all conditions to ensure this doesn’t happen and should be in an adequate physical condition to do so.
When you care for the habitat you hunt in, you’re ensuring it’s sustained for future generations to enjoy. There are many websites dedicated to caring for the environment while you’re out camping and hiking, and these same strategies should be applied to hunting.
The most basic way to respect the hunting area is to collect any garbage left behind, ensure fuel doesn’t pollute the local areas or water supplies, and never cut down trees or firewood to use for your own benefit.
Once your game has been dispatched, you should take the correct steps to minimize waste. Taking care of the dispatched game is the duty of an ethical hunter, and it involves a few things. Firstly, you should never kill an animal that you can’t take with you, so be aware of this every time you hunt.
Secondly, always try to take as much meat as you can so that the carcass left behind is as small as possible. Your aim should be to take as much meat with you so that you didn’t simply kill an animal for waste, which is a major principle to ethical hunting.
When you’re transporting a deer or other game home, you should try not to display this on your car as it can offend others. Always keep the game covered with a blanket or tarp, and be respectful of the opinions of those who don’t hunt. The ethical hunter should work towards showing the public that they are respectful and considerate of the game that they hunt, and always following good hunting practices.
To keep hunting as a respected and sustainable sport in this country, it’s important that all hunters adhere to the standards of this style of hunting. By being respectful of the game you hunt, the surroundings in which you do it, and others involved inside and outside of the sport, you’re doing the best you can be an ethically responsible hunter.