Ethical Hunting

Much had been said about this emotional topic, and many an interpretation exists. Some would even argue that simply no form of hunting is ethical.  This is a very personal issue.  To avoid vague, hypocritical clap-trap, I have defined my personal stand points with concise statements and practical examples.

"Fair chase" means to hunt under circumstances of even playing field which do not favor the hunter.  For example, night shooting of antelope at close distance from a vehicle with a spotlight, would not qualify as "fair chase".  (I am not condemning essential harvesting operations; they serve another purpose.)  The hunter that walks for days, stalks for hours and eventually kills his quarry, did not have it overly easy.  He pitched his physical, mental and bush craft skills against that of the animal.  Frequently he would loose the match and go home empty handed, though still be satisfied with a great hunting experience.

"Humane kill" means that your quarry should suffer as little as possible.  It is common to hear emotional anti-hunting arguments by  the ill-informed such as "on that video I could see that the poor buck had no chance against the hunter with his modern rifle with telescope on tripod".  My counter (rhetorical) question usually is: would you like to trade "humane kill" for "fair chase" and rather have the hunter shoot free-hand with the risk of wounding that animal?  The risk of wounding can be the same with a bow or open-sighted hand gun at 10 paces, as with a flat-trajectory scoped rifle on dead rest at 400 paces, or the ideal circumstances but a hunter that can't shoot straight. This is about taking decisions in the face of uncertainly, frequently with split-second notification.  It is not about the risk of having to pay for a wounded, un-recovered, expensive trophy animal, but the risk of inflicting suffering and slow death to a species subordinate to man.  The hunter has to know the limits of his equipment and shooting capabilities.  To apply this policy consistently, the "one-shot-clean-kill" principle applies equally to smaller, "less significant animals".  This, my fellow hunters, puts a question mark over wing shooting, and those distant prairie dogs.  But before we throw the first rock, let us consider the transporting of live stock to the abattoir and the poisoning of rats on the loft.  These answers lie within ourselves.

"Respect for the Quarry", admiring it for its physical beauty, or elegance, or cunningness, or whatever special trait the Creator dealt it, yet still take it's life away?  This anomaly had been described as "bizarre" by prejudiced animal rightists and arm chair conservationists who seem unable to digest it, as much as I do not enjoy jazz music.

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