I love hunting, but unfortunately there are many out there who do not. Even more unfortunate is that many people don’t approve of hunting because of the inappropriate actions of a select few hunters that make the rest of us look very bad.
I was raised from a very young age to love and respect all of nature and to truly cherish it. When I began walking the woods with my father and grandfather we spoke about the importance of hunters in the “circle of life” and the ebb and flow of natures course. From the first moment I held a gun I had safety pounded into my head like it was the pledge of allegiance. That cold winter evening I first saw the red ink drops leading to a still deer corpse in the snow, I was taught to respect and appreciate the kill, to not take this gift from the Lord for granted. As I prepared to take the life of another creature for the first time, I was reminded of the importance of making the kill as quick and as humane as possible. No trophy was worth taking a bad shot at, never risk maiming a deer and never take a shot unless it would be quick, precise and lethal.
Unfortunately not all have been taught these values which have guided me through my hunting life. I believe the proliferation of these values throughout the hunting community is not only necessary for a successful and responsible hunt, it will also be necessary in order to protect the image of hunters across the country and to preserve our rights to enjoy this sport. 99.99% of hunters are not the type to binge drink in the blind, shoot wildly at any deer and brag about it in town. Unfortunately that is the image that pops up in the minds of many Americans today. Especially those who have never been exposed to hunters in their every day life, which I have found to be quite a large number of people!
In order to remind all of us what our responsibility is as hunters and to show all of those unfamiliar with the sport our true colors, I would like to highlight some of the rules, responsibilities and virtues of the responsible hunter.
Here are a few of the lessons I believe have been very important to me and I believe for many other hunters as well.
Respecting the Animal:
- Never take a shot unless it will be a single, lethal shot.
- Never shoot at a running deer
- Never shoot at a deer when limbs or leaves can obstruct a shot, resulting in a deflected bullet and a maiming shot
- Only take aim at the lungs and heart kill zone to ensure a quick, humane kill
Making a well aimed, accurate shot will ensure the animal to pass as painlessly and humanely as possible. This is of utmost importance, all efforts should be made to ensure no unnecessary suffering is endured by the deer.
- Only kill an animal if you are going to eat it or donate it to a needy family
- After the kill I alway say a silent prayer of thanks
- Never, ever give up on a hit deer if you cannot find it right away. Explore every possibility in finding your wounded deer
- This may sound obvious, but never ever mess around with a loaded gun
- Always be aware of where your firearm is pointed and never point at something unless you intend to shoot it
- Keep your finger off the trigger until just before your shoot
- Always, always keep your firearm on safety until just before firing
Why Do We Hunt?
- To bring families together with a common passion
- To become a part of nature for a short time
- To harvest meat for our families
- To carefully manage the populations of deer throughout the country to prevent an overpopulation that could lead to mass starvation, excessive car deer accidents and spread of disease
- We hunt because of the process. The months of hard work, scouting and preparation that all leads up to one heart pounding, nerve shattering moment.
- We hunt because the need to hunt dwells deep inside each one of us, it pumps through our blood and it is part of what defines humanity and the survival of our species
- It brings us back to a primal, natural state of peace and selflessness in nature
- We hunt because it is natural
Now these are just a few of the important things that we must remember as hunters in order to represent our sport in a responsible way. It is important to remember that these thoughts are nothing more than my opinion on the matter, there are few hard and fast rules in the world of hunting. I would love to add your suggestions as well, so please send in your important rules, lessons learned or reasons why you hunt. Let us all strive to become more successful and more responsible hunters in the future.
What are your thoughts? Suggestions? Additions to my list? If you believe you have something that should be included on this page, please email me at wiredtohunt(at)gmail.com
Boone and Crockett’s Fair Chase Statement
FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.
Fundamental to all hunting is the concept of conservation of natural resources. Hunting in today’s world involves the regulated harvest of individual animals in a manner that conserves, protects, and perpetuates the hunted population. The hunter engages in a one-to-one relationship with the quarry and his or her hunting should be guided by a hierarchy of ethics related to hunting, which includes the following tenets:
1. Obey all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Respect the customs of the locale where the hunting occurs.
3. Exercise a personal code of behavior that reflects favorably on your abilities and sensibilities as a hunter.
4. Attain and maintain the skills necessary to make the kill as certain and quick as possible.
5. Behave in a way that will bring no dishonor to either the hunter, the hunted, or the environment.
6. Recognize that these tenets are intended to enhance the hunter’s experience of the relationship between predator and prey, which is one of the most fundamental relationships of humans and their environment.