What Makes a Hunter Responsible? The obvious answer to this question is somewhat complicated. Are you an expert at finding your game? Does being a responsible hunter mean you will make a clean shot every time? Do you teach others how to be a responsible hunter? Does it mean you follow the laws and regulations while in the field?
I think that these are all the qualities of a responsible hunter, along with other important things as well. Being a responsible hunter means you Care for wildlife and demonstrate this by respecting the hunting seasons and by not abusing private or public land. A responsible hunter is one who will report poachers. Poaching endangers the rights of honest hunters.
The responsible hunter will ensure the safety of other hunters around him, he will wear hunter orange while in the field. He follows and respects prescribed shooting hours. He always clearly and definitely identifies his target before taking a shot.
A responsible hunter gets involved with animal conservation groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Delta Waterfowl or Ducks Unlimited. These groups provide opportunities for others to enjoy wildlife. Knowing, practicing and protecting conservation habitats of the animal populations are key factors to being a responsible hunter. A responsible hunter doesn’t simply take from the land, but giving something back.
As you can see, there is more to being a responsible hunter than just following the laws while in the field. You must master the proper outdoor skills needed, achieve the level of a good marksman, and remember to practice often. Practice common sense and safety when hunting. Don’t forget that being a responsible hunter means being a responsible citizen.
As a responsible hunter you need to obey hunting laws and regulations. Look at the hunting regulations for your state; know them well before heading to the field. So many hunters question, why do we have so many rules, are they really necessary, who makes the rules, and who enforces them?
Our hunting regulations are created with the leadership of hunters working with their elected officials, who are responsible for modifying or making new laws. The purpose of those laws are to protect both the wildlife populations as well as the hunters. Right here in Arkansas, many animals were driven to the point of near elimination in our state. Then hunters pushed for laws to regulate hunting season’s and bag limits in an effort to revive the wildlife populations in our state. This also provided the grounds for the theory of “sustained yield” to be implemented. Wildlife numbers were allowed to grow while letting hunters enjoy their sport.
Laws come from legislators or citizen ballot initiatives. It takes time and effort to develop laws, so they don’t change very often. Because of this, most states grant state wildlife agencies the authority to make regulations. Regulations are based on public input and on information provided by scientists and managers, hence the annual changes in some bag limits and hunting days. They are easier to change than laws and are better suited to the way that wildlife is managed on a daily basis.
You may have already met a game warden; I hope it was a good experience. The job of the warden is to make sure hunters follow the laws and regulations put forth by the game commissions. A warden may ask to see your license or ask questions about when and where you have been hunting. He may also ask to inspect any game you have taken. Just Cooperate, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the law! Always make certain you have all the proper licenses, tags and stamps before stepping in that field to go hunting.
One of the qualities of a responsible hunter is that he or she knows and understands the laws that apply to his or her hunting situation. But it is not enough to know the law, you need to obey them. Telling the game warden you don’t know the laws is not an excuse for violating them. If you hunt, you must know the laws and respect them. Ignorance of the law is not a defense!
Keep these guidelines in mind: Read and understand your states hunting regulations every year. I always carry a copy of the hunting regulations in the field. I learned the hard way not to depend on others to tell me what was legal. I loaned my gun and truck to a friend of mine who went hunting for skunks and opossums at night, I had always been told by friends that was legal, turns out it is not. The fines for some violations are in the thousands of dollars, you can loose your gun or even your vehicle. Plus, you may lose your hunting privileges for years or even for life.
In addition to following the law, a responsible hunter develops and follows a personal code of ethics. Ethics are the rules for right and wrong, good and bad that societies and individuals develop. These rules help us to know how we should act in certain situations. A person with good ethics is somebody who understands right and wrong, and chooses to do the right thing in any situation. A person with good hunting ethics is one who will not do anything in the field he or she knows or feels is wrong, even if it is legal.
Best advice I can give you is if you doubt your decision at any point, don’t do it! Once again, I ask what makes a hunter responsible. He Knows and obeys all the laws and regulations. He Views hunting as more than just killing an animal. A responsible hunter develops a personal code of ethics and sticks to it. He takes full responsibility for his or her actions. He respects other hunters, the land, and most of all the wildlife.
I work hard at being a responsible hunter. I think that is the best way to preserve our sport and ensure it is there for future generations to enjoy. Being a responsible hunter is addictive. It won’t take long before you actually become one with nature and really enjoy the great outdoors.