|· Rules of the forum · Portal||Help Search Members Calendar|
|Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )||Resend Validation Email|
| Welcome to Ontario Trophy Bucks forum. We hope you enjoy your visit.|
You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.
Join our community!
If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:
Posted: Dec 17 2011, 01:14 PM
Member No.: 3
Joined: 10-June 06
It’s a cool fall afternoon, and you’ve been hiking all day. You’ve decided to hike farther than the rest of your hunting party because you’re looking for a big buck deer. You’ve shot several small deer in the past. Now you want a “trophy.” The country you’re hiking in is prime deer country, and you’ve seen a lot of fresh sign. The terrain is rugged—just the kind of place where an elusive, mature buck would hide. You left camp several hours ago. Now the short fall day is coming to an end. Then you see him across the canyon. It’s him! The buck you’ve pictured in your mind for hours as you’ve hiked to reach an area few other hunters would be willing to go. As you kneel down and survey the situation, thoughts begin to race through your mind. You don’t have time to sneak up on him. By the time you get close to him—if you can get close to him—it will be too dark to shoot. You could shoot at him from where you’re at, but the shot will be well over 300 yards. Most of your shooting practice has been at targets not more than 200 yards away. If you hit and injure him, you’ll never be able to track and find him. It will be dark by then.
Do you take the shot and risk wounding the buck and never finding him? Or do you let him go and return to camp with another story about the one that got away?
One of the things young hunters are taught today is the importance of being ethical. Teaching young hunters about ethics can result in several positive outcomes. One of those outcomes is helping ensure that a positive image of hunting continues into the future. That image will help ensure hunting isn’t tarnished in the eyes of those who either oppose hunting or simply chose not to participate themselves. While the idea of ethical hunting isn’t new, what is and isn’t considered ethical behavior has changed over time. To better understand what it means to be an ethical hunter, we must first define what “ethical” means. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ethical as “involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval.” The words “moral” and “ethical” are used synonymously in the dictionary. A moral is defined as a “code of conduct.” An ethic is defined as “the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group.” Stated simply, ethical behavior is behavior that is accepted as good rather than bad, and right rather than wrong. Unfortunately, because of the way each of us was raised, our past experiences, and our personal beliefs and values, what is ethical to one person might not be ethical to someone else.
Ethics change over time
Not only can ethics vary from one person to another, ethics can also change over time as society and its values change. For example, at one time, killing animals and selling them for their meat (called “market hunting”) was generally approved and was probably considered ethical. So was taking wildlife to sustain your family. Social and biological attitudes changed over time, however, and people began to approve less of these activities. Now these activities are considered unethical. They’re also illegal. A more recent example is “party hunting.” Party hunting happens when one person in a hunting party gives their hunting tag to someone else. The hunter who takes the tag could end up with two animals—one for himself and one for the person whose permit number is on the tag he took. In this situation, both hunters have broken the law. One hunter gave the permit that belonged to him to someone else, and the other hunter took more animals than he was allowed to take. While “party hunting” has always been illegal, many hunters approved of it just a couple of decades ago. Today the effect party hunting has on big game herds is more widely understood, and most hunters know that the practice is both unethical and illegal.
Ethical hunting issues today
In addition to party hunting, many other ethical dilemmas face hunters today. For example, is it ethical to use off-highway vehicles to pursue big game? If so, at what point does OHV use become unethical? Most hunters agree that OHV use is unethical when it damages the environment, or when OHVs are used in a way that provides hunters with an unfair advantage over the game they’re pursuing. But what about the gray areas in between? What about the use of bait to attract or lure wildlife into shooting range? In waterfowl hunting, for example, baiting is prohibited by law. However, in other hunting situations, baiting is not prohibited. It’s even a common practice in some areas of the country. What about long-range hunting? This type of hunting involves hunters shooting at game that can be several hundred yards away. These hunters use large-caliber rifles; precise, hand-loaded cartridges; and practice their Utah Parks and Recreation long-range shooting for hours. They can shoot at game without stalking the animal and before the animal even knows it’s being hunted. Another ethical dilemma involves the use of traditional equipment versus equipment that’s more modern and technologically advanced. This advanced equipment includes electronic range finders, in-line muzzleloaders, and electronic decoys and game calls. Some of this equipment removes the need to acquire the skills, abilities and knowledge that a traditional hunter must have to be successful. Do these modern devices provide hunters with an unfair advantage? Do they detract from the original concept of hunting, in which the hunter’s skills, abilities and intelligence were necessary to outsmart and stalk a wild animal and make a well-placed shot? People used to hunt out of necessity. To survive, they developed the most effective methods to provide for their needs.
Now we hunt mostly for sport, recreation or trophies. We do this by choice—not by necessity—but we still want to use the most effective methods to give ourselves the greatest advantage over our prey.
A virtual hunting reality
The advent of Internet hunting is one of the latest controversies involving hunting ethics. Now hunters don’t have to leave their home or office to hunt. They can log on to a Web site and shoot an animal from the comfort of their computer terminal, using a rifle that is connected to a computer and a Web camera. Several states, including New Mexico and California, have passed legislation that prohibits computer-assisted hunting in their states. The U.S. Congress has also introduced legislation that would ban the practice. Groups that support the legislation say Internet hunting is unethical and unsporting. Those who oppose the legislation say the Internet can provide hunting opportunities for people with disabilities. This might be the only way for some of these disabled hunters to participate in hunting.
Many ethical questions face hunters. And many more will arise as technology advances. Now, more than ever, hunters must keep the fundamentals of ethical hunting in the forefront of their minds. A good way to determine whether a hunting practice is ethical is the concept of fair chase. Fair chase forms a balance between the hunter and the hunted in which the wild animal usually escapes unharmed but is sometimes taken by the hunter. Fairness to the animal, and its chance to escape unharmed, might be the best way to determine if a behavior is ethical or unethical. Many hunters would deem unethical any practice that tends to give him an unfair advantage over his prey. Instilling ethics in young people When they take Utah’s Hunter Education course, young people are taught that to be a true sportsman, they must adopt and follow their own code of ethics. A code of ethics is a set of rules based on what is fair and safe. Students are taught to respect wildlife and its habitat, landowners and their rights, other hunters and non-hunters, and game laws and firearms. They’re also taught to be ethical and responsible hunters. They’re taught that in addition to written laws, there are unwritten laws they must follow too. While the hunter education program does an excellent job teaching the importance of ethics, there’s a good chance many of these young people have already formed their ethics and morals by the time they attend their first class. Hopefully family members and others will have already taught and exposed them to positive attitudes and behaviors that will help them become ethical hunters.
You must decide If the difference between ethical and unethical behavior was the same as the difference between legal and illegal behavior, what’s ethical and what’s not would certainly be easier for these young students to understand. But the laws and rules that govern hunting only set guidelines. Within these guidelines, every hunter must make his or her own decisions about what is and isn’t ethical. While each person develops his or her own ethical standards, it’s the collective decisions and behaviors of all hunters that will dictate how hunting is viewed by other hunters and non-hunters in the years to come. The actions of one hunter—good or bad—affect how all hunters are viewed
Aldo Leopold summarized best the complexity of hunter ethics in his A Sand County Almanac. “A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter obviously has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct,” Leopold wrote. “Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscious, rather than a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”
|Latest News at OTB!|