Tips to help you remain a responsible and ethical hunter.
As a hunter, I will be the first to admit that my morals have been put to the test many times while out in the field. There have been so many different scenarios that tested me and made that little voice in the back of my head tell me to do something that I know isn't ethical: A buck of a lifetime walks in range right after shooting light.
A deer turns broadside, but a little further out than what I'm comfortable shooting.
I call in a nice Tom, but he stays right on the other side of the fence, instead of coming onto my hunting property.
Those are just a few scenarios that have happened to me and I'm sure that every hunter can relate to each of them. But remembering what is morally and ethically right, and not to mention what is legal, is always the best option and something every hunter should practice.
Below are 5 hunting ethics and tips to help you remain a responsible and ethical hunter. 1) Practice We should all practice and make ourselves familiar and comfortable with whatever weapon we are hunting with. Make sure you know how to safely load and unload your firearm and fire it accurately. The same principle applies to a bow, crossbow, or whatever weapon you are hunting with.
Spend time in the offseason to practice shooting and caring for your weapon so that you can become as proficient as possible. This way, when the opportunity comes to take the shot, you will be more confident in your abilities.
2) Know your limits You owe it to the animals to make as clean and quick of a kill as possible. This is where your practice comes in. If you've practiced shooting your bow at 40 yards and aren't comfortable beyond that, don't shoot if the animal steps out further. I've been hunting with someone who is more experienced and who is comfortable shooting further than I am who tried to convince me to shoot beyond my limits. That is one reason why I prefer to hunt alone, so by all means, hunt solo if needed. Stick with what you know and are comfortable with. Also, practice shooting in low-light situations so you're prepared for that scenario. It will happen many times. But just as many times as that happens, they will step out right after good shooting light too. One thing that I do a lot when I know it's starting to get too dark, is to unload my gun or put my arrow back in my quiver and take my release off. That way, even though I may be tempted to shoot and try to tell myself that it's still light enough, it makes it a lot harder to do so.
3) Obey laws and follow state hunting guidelines
Each state has a set of hunting laws and regulations to follow that they make available online and in print. Familiarize yourself with these for every area you hunt so there is no question as to whether or not you're doing the right thing, should a questionable situation come up.
For example, on a waterfowl hunt, you may have decent enough light to shoot early in the morning, but each state has a set time that you are allowed to start shooting, and not a minute before. If you are tempted, don't even load your gun until legal shooting light.
4) Respect the land you're hunting on, regardless of whether it's private or public
I feel this is the most simple, yet one of the most abused rules when it comes to hunting ethics. Leave it better than you found it. Don't litter or destroy property, and if you happen to find some litter along your way that isn't yours, go ahead and pick it up anyways.
Also, make sure to respect boundaries and property lines. If you come upon private property and you don't have permission to be hunting there, stay put. I will be the first to admit that it can be tempting when there's an animal just on the other side of the fence. I've been turkey hunting before and called in 2 nice Tom's, but they wouldn't cross the fence onto my side. They were in distance to shoot but were on the neighboring property which I didn't have permission to hunt. Sure, I probably could have shot them and nobody would have known...but I would. Be the type of hunter and person that you're proud to be.
5) Respect the animals, both during and after the hunt
This is another rule that I feel is abused far too often, unfortunately. We owe it to the animals we hunt to make as quick and clean of a kill as possible, so once again our practice comes into play here, as well as knowing your limits. Once you shoot, make every possible effort to recover your animal.
What we do with the animals after the hunt matters too. Many times I've seen people on neighboring properties shoot deer, not take all of the edible meat that they could have, and dispose of the carcasses right in the middle of the county road. It really seems to just boil down to laziness.
These are just 5 tips to help you remain a responsible and ethical hunter. What tips do you have and what scenarios have arrived on your hunts that tested your morals?