Sorting Through Ethics – The Sportsmen’s Dilemma
By Toby Trigger

Posted: February 12, 2017

Ethics are taught in hunter education classes all over the U.S.  The problem is that ethics are different for… hunters all over the U.S. – so what are we to do?

To start, sportsmen in Montana wouldn’t consider hunting over bait for deer but in Texas hunters claim that baiting deer is the only way they can bag one.  Other forms of hunting like hunting with hounds whether it is rabbits, bears or mountain lions is another contentious issue.  What about cross bows during archery season or long bows versus compound shooters?  Is any form of hunting “better” than any other?  Is one more ethical than another?

As sportsmen face more and more controversy from outside groups, the real problem comes from within our own ranks.  What one sportsman considers right and good, others find wrong and bad.

A recent article relayed from one hunter’s experience while lion hunting where he marked a fresh lion track during a dumping of snow and returned only to find that another hunter had turned out hounds and caught the lion himself.  This situational ethics situation received comments that ranged from : “no-one can claim a track” and that “it is all fair game if the hunters are not waiting there” to  “his mark wasn’t good enough”.

Some claim that once the hunter leaves the track it is no longer claimed while others said that a better mark like a shovel would have been more appropriate.

We can all agree that some things are unethical like shooting a deer from the window of a pickup truck – unless the hunter is handicapped.

Or that baiting bears is unethical unless you are in one of the 17 states that allows it.

Ok, so we can all agree that using a spotlight to shoot moose in unethical right?  Unless you have native privileges that allow you to because that is how natives once hunted.

Hmm, now that I think about it more it seems that maybe there aren’t any cut and dry answers to ethics.  Ethics are situational and what makes one hunter feel that he or she is doing the right thing gets another hunter hot under the collar.

What do you think the answer is?  Will you stand up for your ethics?  What are they?