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Ethics: what do they mean to you?

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  • Ethics: what do they mean to you?

    OK, I know i'm the one that complains the most about seeing this in other threads, thats why I started this one. I'm really not a complicated person so I look at things in a simple way.
    The bottom line for me with ethics is the same way I approach fair chase huting: I believe that true "hunting" is done on the animals terms, it's up to us to figure out their habits and patterns if we are to succeed in harvesting one. Not leaving meat in the field if at all possible and teaching your partners to do the same. Not turning a blind eye when someone violates the law. Leaving the land the same way you found it and taking out others trash if you should stumble upon it. Only taking what you can use or need.
    Thats it, pretty simple really. I know some people will pick apart what i have said here and try and twist things around, thats ok because I know where I stand on ethics and I feel, for me, that it's the right way.

  • #2
    Haven't we had this conversation before? Ethics really depends a lot on how you were brought up and taught. To some people deer hunting with hounds is not ethical, or hunting bears over bait. I agree with you in principle, keep with in the law. Respect the animal you are hunting and you owe it to the animal to kill it quickly and humainly. There are a lot of different aspects to ethics. Most of us go through the different phases until we become the person, and hunter, we think we should be. And then there are always some that just never get it.


    • #3

      Ethics mean a lot of different things to many different people......I would agree that, in many cases, it is a reflection of how you were brought up.......someone once stated that, "ethics are how you act when nobody's looking."

      I think, now-a-days, good ethics are more important than ever as we, as hunters, will be judged by others, not of our ilk, that have the power of the vote, and the ability to severely limit or take away our priveledges whether or not they are well informed on the issues.......the future is in our hands.......what we do now, will shape the future of hunting forever.

      Joe Lothian, Sr.(for Mr.Strahan's benefit)
      Anchor Point, AK
      Where there's a hobble, there's hope.


      • #4
        I know that ethics mean different things to different people.....but what do they mean to YOU???


        • #5


          No need to get testy, guy.......I thought my comments on the "future" covered how I felt......without ethics, there's no future for hunting. How's that????

          I might add that I agree w/you on an ethics's needed.....but it would handle some controversial issues that are not conducive to the direction of this site, I would think. JMHO.

          Joe Lothian, Sr.
          Anchor Point, AK
          Where there's a hobble, there's hope.


          • #6

            I'm not getting testy, I just don't want this thread to wander like some of the other's have and thanks for posting your thoughts.


            • #7
              Fair Chase

              AKhunter, right on! You said it perfectly. It is up to all of us to set a higher standard.


              • #8
                No need...

                Originally posted by ovis
                ...Joe Lothian, Sr.(for Mr.Strahan's benefit)
                Anchor Point, AK

                No need to post your name... the only time I really think about that is when someone is attacking me anonymously. You're not doing that... no problems on my end at all!


                Michael Strahan
                Site Owner
                Alaska Hunt Consultant
                1 (406) 662-1791


                • #9
                  Thanks for the thread!

                  Nice idea for a thread-

                  My personal ethics are very similar to yours, so I won't re-post what you've already said. The only thing I would add is my personal belief in a Creator who has put us here and given life a sense of purpose and meaning.

                  I believe ethics are the foundation of hunting itself, and certainly the basis for most of our hunting laws. Therefore, ethics always go beyond the written law into areas that could never be legislated.

                  I also believe that there are folks out there who have absolutely no idea what we're talking about. They are the ones who concern me the most...

                  Michael Strahan
                  Site Owner
                  Alaska Hunt Consultant
                  1 (406) 662-1791


                  • #10
                    We are talking about ethics of hunting? [Not business ethics or any other!] Well, successful hunting eventually ends up with an animal being killed. Now for some people the ethics of hunting largely involves the method of getting close enough to the animal to be able to kill it. Some argue about chasing deer with dogs, or not. Others argue about using blinds, bait, and vehicles in search of animals, using “modern high powered telescopic-sighted” rifles vs. bow and arrow, camouflage and many other aspects of hunting. But these are IMHO all individual choices that have little to do with the essence of hunting ethics.

                    To me all ethics is distilled into the true self-judgment that fraction of a second before you actually finally attempt to kill the animal being hunted. Have I done everything required to make sure, as sure as can be, that the final ounce of trigger pressure will result in a quick, clean and humane kill of the animal? To explain: One hunter sets out in search for an animal on foot with his rifle, sees animals from far, stalks closer, crawls on his belly and gets up to a solid rest over an anthill well within his shooting capabilities. He then uses a rifle of which he is NOT QUITE SURE that the telescope is actually zeroed properly. IMHO he has not hunted ethically! Another hunter drives out with his 4X4 in search for animals. Sees some and drives somewhat closer. He aims with a rifle that he has spent a lot of time with, he is 100 % sure of his telescope setting, he is 100 % sure that he is well within range of his shooting abilities, he waits until he gets a good side-on presentation, he knows that his caliber is very adequate for the size animal, he knows that his premium quality handloaded bullets should do the job, of all the factors that play a role, he has made sure of before he finally touches off the trigger aiming at an animal selected from the herd as one that the killing of will have low impact on the future of the herd for a DRT [Dead Right There] shot. By shooting from a vehicle, he has not hunted in the way I like to hunt. But has he hunted unethically?

                    So, for me, ethics is all about self-evaluation of having made as sure as the hunter can that he has done everything required to ensure that his final hunting action will result in a quick kill of the animal being hunted. There are a whole bunch of things that a hunter should make sure of: Is every action legal? What about possible bullet pass-through and animals standing behind or to the side of the animal aimed at? One can draw up a l-o-n-g list of factors that should all be considered by the true ethical hunter. One of these factors is the question of weather or not the method of hunting or searching for game or whatever is likely to impact negatively on the true sport of hunting?

                    As a Professional Hunter I can forgive a lot and will tolerate the desires of some hunters to search for , or sit in ambush of, animals in a way that I do not personally like. However, I have a real hard time forgiving if an animal gets wounded. I know, I am also just human, and **** happens. But when a hunter that has wounded an animal displays a “couldn’t care”, or “better luck next time” attitude, I get really upset.

                    In good hunting.

                    Andrew McLaren



                    • #11
                      Right on Andrew

                      Being a guide in Maine for 22 years now I feel the same as you do when it comes to clients and wounded animals. All of my hunters MUST shoot for me before going out. They are instructed as to bullet placement for the animal they are hunting, and yes **** happens but it is how the hunter handles it that matters to me. I have spent hours looking for a downed duck much less a bear or moose. When a hunter says oh well tommorrows another day I have all I can do to stop from laying him out right there.

                      Many people look at hunting with bait as unethical. But you have to examine the conditions of the hunt. Hear in the North Maine Woods there are no food sources that localize bears and most of the woods are so thick you cannot see 30 yards. Isn't more etical to shoot a bear feeding on a bait site where you can get a clear shot, determine if it is a sow with cubs and watch the bear to determine if it is actually the bear you with to take? Or is it ethical to stalk through woods so thick you probably will scare the bear off long before you see it or worst yet get a running shot through brush and wound it? Then what if, in the little opening you have you do actually have a few seconds to place a good shot only to find that if you had a few more seconds you could have seen it was a sow with cubs?

                      Ethics to me are following the law to the letter, making sure your weapon is proper for the animal you intend to hunting, you yourself are adequately prepared both mentally and physically for the hunt, making sure when you take that shot that before you pull that trigger or release the arrow your aim is true. Finally, ethics is not condemning another persons methods of hunting (as long as they are legal) just because you do not believe in them or like them. Thats what I believe but I am sure there are those that will disagree.

                      Many of you may not think this is so, but most wardens have the attitude that given the chance 90% of the people out there will break the law if they think no one will catch them. That is pretty sad. I know this because I have had the oppertunity to have many wardens that I call friend.
                      If you take the woods out of the woodsman you have nothing left but a man in the woods.


                      • #12

                        To me, ethics is all about respect. Not just for the prey animal as was mentioned above, (but that is a very important consideration), but for the land, other hunters, non-hunters, and yourself.


                        Respecting the prey.......Making as clean of kill as possible, if for some reason a bad hit happens, make the best effort you can to find and dispatch the animal,take care of the meat then use it, (to me someone who shoots more than they need, then throws it out when a new hunting or fishing season starts is as bad as someone who leaves an animal to rot), don't take unfair advantage of an animal. Now here's where a lot of us split company as far as ethics go. Some say, "but a modern rifle is an unfair advantage" And I say a modern rifle used properly makes a good clean kill and dispatches an animal with little suffering so ethically I have no problem with it. Same with a scope. Now if you use your modern scoped rifle to be lazy and attempt evey 600 yard shot possible, then you're not using it ethically, because you're not respecting your prey. You're taking too big of risk of wounding and losing an animal. Same with shooting into the middle of a herd of caribou. Bad ethics. Chasing down an animal with a vehicle is disrespecting it. Using a vehicle to get to the hunting area is not. Flying into an area or even scouting with a plane is not inherintly wrong, But circling an animal with a plane while radioing it's location to someone on the ground is. One last thing that drives me nuts is reading a hunting article and somebody dismissing a buck or a bull as a raghorn or other denigrating comments as if an animal is inherintly unworthy because it doesn't have a recordbook set of antlers. That's a lack of respect. I'm fine with you wanting to take a large animal, just don't disparage an animal that doesn't "measure up".

                        Respecting the land.......The land and habitat are very important. Without them, we'd have no animals to hunt. Don't do anything to lesson it's ability to produce more game. Take proper care of your garbage. Don't rip up the terrain with your atv. Take down you're surveyors tape at the end of the season. What an eyesore it can become. If you set up a camp, clean the area before you leave. Promote responsible land management.

                        Respecting other hunters............Hunt safely. Give them the space you'd want for yourself. Take the time to help them out if they need it. Don't do anything to ruin their experience, like if you see someone making a stalk on an animal, don't try to cut them off. (no matter how large the antlers are) Don't use your ATV to get in front of someone hunting on foot. Don't post an area that you don't own or set up dummy camps to keep people away.

                        Respecting non-hunters...........this is a hard one for some of us as there is a vocal minority of non-hunters that doesn't respect us. But there are many reasons to show respect for non-hunters. Not the least of which is they may one day hold your fate as a hunter in their hands. But here are some other issues. Respect property owners. Growng up, my family had a large farm in western Washington. We never thought anything of people using it for hunting, but then problems started arising with people leaving gates open, guys using their Jeeps to tear up dirt roads, and people dumping garbage on the property. The land was eventually posted as my great uncle got tired of dealing with it. Hunt and drive safely. Don't make a bad name for hunters. Realize that there are people who don't hunt but they are indifferent to you hunting. Don't agravate them or they may start caring about what you do. Don't leave gut piles along the road. Don't dump hides and bones in a populated area where they may draw in predators. Don't shoot up road signs. Offer to share your take with non-hunters so they can see why we love eating wild meat. Offer to take them with you so they can see what a wholesome experience it can be. Don't denigrate someone just because they don't hunt.

                        Respecting yourself..............hunting can be a challenging experience. Take the challenge. Don't be so quick to take shortcuts because you think they'll make you more succesful. Take the time to really learn how to hunt, not just kill. In the long run you'll be a better hunter and you'll enjoy it more. Hunt with other ethical hunters. If you have a friend you hunt with who bends the rules and regulations or continuously does things unethically, find a new friend. If he does something once, don't be afraid to call him on it. Maybe he just didn't know any better. But if it's continuous, why are you still hunting with him? Question your own motives? Why are you hunting? To feed your family? to enjoy the outdoors? for a trophy? I have no problem with someone wanting to get a large animal as a memento of their hunting. But when that is all a hunter cares about, they need to look deep inside and ask why, because there is no one who will bend the rules and use bad ethics or judgement than someone who wants a trophy animal at any cost.
                        An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
                        - Jef Mallett


                        • #13
                          Right On Twodux

                          Very well stated...
                          Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"


                          • #14

                            Rick (twodux),

                            Thanks mucho for taking the time to write that. Well said indeed!

                            For anyone wanting to learn more, I suggest Jim Posewitz's Beyond Fair Chase--The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. It's a very tiny pocketbook that is short and simple and can be read in an hour or two. It's great for passing on to others, including kids or up and coming hunters. If anyone wants a free copy, I'd be happy to mail you one if you pm or email me and give me your address.

                            Best, Mark
                            Mark Richards


                            • #15
                              I think practicing good ethics goes beyond just doing whats legal.

                              There is nothing worse than a blood trail that doesn't have a dead critter at the end of it.

                              We all have different levels of skill when it comes to getting close to game and how close we have to get to make a humane kill. The poke and a hope theory doesn't cut it. I have never lost any sleep over shots that I didn't take but have lost sleep a couple of times over ill advised shots that resulted in unretrieved game. Those were both durying my younger days when (as my Dad would put it) I wasn't dry behind the ears yet!

                              Hunting from a port-a-john screwed to a tree 40 feet in the air isn't for me but if thats what it takes for someone to get close enough to make a humane kill then so be it.


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