Ethics & Hunter Responsibility Key Topics • Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? • Hunter Ethics • Field Care of Game • The Five Stages of Hunter Development Objectives You should be able to… • Understand why we have laws • Identify opportunities to go hunting on public and private land • Know how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for natural resources • Know how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for other hunters Objectives (cont.) • Know how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for landowners • Understand the relationship between hunters and non-hunters • Know the main causes of meat spoilage and game care • Understand the five stages of hunter development Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? Know the Law Ignorance of hunting laws is not an excuse for violating them. Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.) During the 19th century, many game animals nearly hunted into extinction. Herds of buffalo that once roamed plains reduced to about 800 head. The beaver was almost wiped out. Once plentiful elk, deer and pronghorn had been reduced to a fraction of their original number. Game Conservation To conserve wildlife for future generations to enjoy, wildlife management laws were passed. These laws allow game to flourish by: • Establishing hunting seasons that limit harvesting and avoid nesting and mating seasons. Game Conservation (cont.) • Limiting hunting methods and equipment. • Setting “bag” limits on the number of animals to be taken. • Establishing check stations and game tag requirements to enforce laws. Safety, Opportunity and Funding • In addition to ensuring the availability of game for future generations, hunting laws: • Establish safety guidelines for hunting that protect both hunters and non-hunters. • Offer equal opportunity for all hunters. • Ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs by collecting license fees. Fair Chase Hunting laws also define the rules of fair chase. The concept began in the Middle Ages when hunters increased the challenge of sport hunting by setting rules that limited how they took game. More recently, fair chase rules were developed to stem public criticism of hunters. One of the earliest models was the “Fair Chase Principle” established in late 1800s by the Boone and Crockett Club, which was founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Those who violated club rules were expelled. Fair Chase (cont.) The rules were later expanded, banning use of vehicles, airplanes, radios, electronic calling or shooting in a fenced enclosure. Many states have made those rules into law. Respect property where you hunt. Use hunting vehicles with consideration. The Hunter’s Image Matters Responsible hunters welcome laws that enforce sportsmanlike hunting practices – behavior of irresponsible hunters has caused some opposition to hunting. Nationally, approximately 5 percent of the population hunts; roughly the same percentage actively oppose hunting. The rest of the population is predominantly non-hunters. However, bad behavior by hunters could sway some of the nonhunter crowd into the anti-hunting camp. How Hunters make a positive Impact, they: • Put in countless hours to improve wildlife habitat. • Help biologists transplant game species and save other species from extinction. • Encourage others to practice ethical behavior. • Responsible hunters must set a good example for others to follow. Hunter Ethics Ethics are moral principles or values that distinguish between right and wrong. While hunting laws preserve wildlife, ethics preserve a hunter’s opportunity to hunt. Because ethics generally govern behavior that affects public opinion of hunters, ethical behavior ensures hunters are welcome and hunting areas stay open. Ethics generally cover behavior that has to do with issues of fairness, respect, and responsibility not covered by laws. How to Ask Landowners for Permission • Make contact at least a week in advance. • Wear street clothes – no hunting gear or firearms. • Don’t bring companions – “crowd “ could be intimidating. • Be polite. • Thank owner, whether permission is granted or denied. Hunter’s Ethical Code As Aldo Leopold, the “father of wildlife management,” once said, “ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – even when doing the wrong thing is legal.” Most hunting organizations agree that responsible hunters do the following: Have regard for fellow sportsmen. Honor others hunting customs. Respect Landowners • Ask landowners for permission to hunt. • Follow their restrictions on when and where you may hunt • Treat livestock and crops as your own. • Offer to share part of your harvest with owner. Respect Landowners (cont.) • Leave all gates the way you found them. • If you notice something wrong or out of place, notify the landowner immediately. • Never enter private land that is cultivated or posted, unless you have first obtained permission, even if you have a hunting license. Landowner Complaints About Hunters • Don’t get permission to hunt. • Don’t tell landowners when they arrive at or leave the property. • Make too much noise. • Leave litter behind. • Carry loaded firearms in vehicles. You take your supplies in bring your litter out. Landowner Complaints About Hunters (cont.) • Misuse of off road vehicles. • Don’t leave gates as they were (open or shut) when hunter arrived. • Shoot too close to neighbors or livestock. • Leave fires unattended. • Violate game laws. • Drink alcohol to excess. Bad shooting habits bring on restrictions. Respect Natural Resources • Leave land better than you found it. • Adhere to fair chase rules. • Know your capabilities and limitations as marksman, and stay within your effective range. Respect Natural Resources (cont.) • Strive for a quick, clean kill. • Make every reasonable effort to retrieve game harvested. • Ensure that meat and usable parts are not wasted. Respect Natural Resources (cont.) • Treat both game and non-game animals ethically. • Abide by game laws and regulations. • Cooperate with conservation officers. • Report game violations. The game violator is a thief Hunting Opportunities on Public Lands All states have federal or state-owned public lands that are available for hunting. Public lands may have special regulations and may require special permits. Be sure to check with your state’s wildlife management agency and obtain maps before you go out. Remember, when hunting on public lands, an ethical hunter will show the same respect as when hunting on private land. Hunting Opportunities on Public Lands (cont.) Be aware that national parks are all closed for hunting. Public lands that may be open for hunting are: • • • • • • State parks and forests State-owned wildlife management areas National forests National Wildlife Refuge properties Bureau of Land Management properties Bureau of Reclamation properties Respect Non-Hunters • Transport animals discreetly – don’t display them. • Keep firearms out of sight. • Refrain from taking graphic photographs of the kill and from vividly describing kill while within earshot of non-hunters. • Maintain presentable appearance while on the street – no bloody or dirty clothing. How to Behave if Confronted by Anti-Hunter Protesters • Remain calm and polite and do not engage in arguments – never lose your temper. • Never touch an anti-hunter or use any physical force. • Never threaten an anti-hunter with your firearm. • Report hunter harassment to law enforcement authorities. Respect Other Hunters • Follow safe firearm handling practices and insist companions do same. • Refrain from interfering with another’s hunt. • Avoid consuming alcohol, which can impair you to the point of endangering others. • Share knowledge and skills with others. Personal Choice There are gray areas of ethical behavior that come down to personal choice. Examples are: • Baiting deer with corn or protein pellets. • Shooting quail on the ground or ducks on the water. • Shooting from vehicle or boat within private boundaries or on private waters. • Remember, hunting is a privilege and can be taken away if hunters fail to act responsibly toward property, people and wildlife. Field Care of Game To prevent meat spoilage, you should properly field dress a harvested animal. Field Care Basics Three factors contribute to spoiled meat: Heat Dirt Moisture Heat • Heat is number one concern. Bacteria grow rapidly in a carcass, especially if allowed to stay warm. Meat begins to spoil above 40 degrees. The higher the temperature – and the longer meat is exposed – the greater the chance of spoilage. Particularly true with large game. • Basic field dressing techniques help cool game by removing entrails, which lowers body heat by allowing air into body cavity. As a rule, it is best to field dress immediately. Heat (cont.) • When cooling body, use available shade. Hanging a deer is the easiest way to skin it. • In warm weather, it’s helpful to place squirrels and doves in a cooler after dressing, as long as they remain dry. • Dispose of entrails carefully. Don’t leave them lying by the side of a road, in waterways, or near a residence. Dirt and Moisture • Keep meat clean by covering it with cheesecloth. This also protects it from flies, which lay eggs in exposed flesh. Rubbing meat with black pepper will also repel insects. If you have to drag game to camp, try to keep dirt and debris out of chest cavity. • Because moisture damages meat, don’t use excessive amounts of water to wash cavity. Allow to dry. • If you plan to process animal yourself, skin animal as soon as possible to allow carcass to cool. Remember • A sure way to ruin meat – as well as earn the dislike of non-hunters – is to tie the animal to the hood or roof of a car or hang the animal out of the back of a truck, where it’s exposed to heat, exhaust fumes, and airborne dust. Game Care Kit Other typical game care items may include: • Hunter orange flagging • Plastic or cotton gloves • Gambrel and pulley system • Whetstone or other sharpening tool • Cooler and ice Other typical game care items (cont.) • Cheesecloth bags for organs you plan to use as meat (heart, liver) • Plastic bags for clean-up • Hand towels • Foil • Large bag for caped or trophy head • Salt (noniodized) for hide care Five Stages of Hunter Development As a hunter gains experience and skill, he or she will typically pass through five distinct stages of development. Not everyone passes through all of these stages, nor do they necessarily do it in the same order. Shooting Stage The priority is getting off a shot, rather than patiently waiting for a good shot. This eagerness to shoot can lead to bad decisions that endanger others. A combination of target practice and mentoring helps most hunters move quickly out of this stage. Limiting Out Stage Success is determined by bagging the limit. In extreme cases, this need to limit out can also cause hunters to take unsafe shots. Spending time with more mature hunters helps people grow out of this phase. Trophy Stage The hunter is selective and judges success by quality rather than quantity. Typically, the focus is on big game. Anything that doesn’t measure up to the desired trophy is ignored. Method Stage In this stage, the process of hunting becomes the focus. A hunter may still want to limit out, but places a higher priority on how it’s accomplished. Sportsman Stage Success is measured by the total experience: the appreciation of the out-ofdoors and the animal being hunted, the process of the hunt, and the companionship of other hunters. Involvement Part of the process of becoming a true, responsible sportsman is becoming involved in efforts to make hunting a respected sport. That includes teaching proper knowledge and skills to others, working with landowners, and cooperating with wildlife officials. Involvement (cont.) Involvement also includes joining conservation organizations dedicated to improving habitat and management efforts. Young hunters can be involved by joining organizations such as 4-H, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as participating in wildlife projects in their local communities. Involvement (cont.) Responsible, ethical behavior and personal involvement are essential to the survival of hunting. How you behave and how other people see you will determine whether hunting will continue as a sport. Remember, a true sportsman will practice on targets, not animals; know the vital organs of the animal and make good clean one-shot hits. Review Questions Give a reason for establishing hunting laws? Explain ethical behavior according to Aldo Leopold. What would a responsible and ethical hunter not do? What should you do to prevent meat spoilage? Do responsible hunters keep their firearms in view when not hunting? Review Questions (cont.) How many distinct stages of development are there for most hunters; and which is the most responsible and ethical? Which stage is success determined by bagging the limit, which can cause hunters to take unsafe shots? What can hunters do to bring respect to the sport of hunting?