You hear a lot about road hunters and how they don’t get out of the vehicle, they just drive around. Is it unethical? I believe that as long as they follow the rules that pertain to shooting from the vehicle/road and laws regarding loaded firearms in their vehicle, that’s their decision….and it means less people in the woods.
What about the duck hunter that shoots at the birds you are working. What about the sky busters? This is not illegal but very frustrating. I do not hunt this way and hope that others will teach new hunters to respect other hunters. Carrying non-toxic shot and daily limit is on you, ticket will follow. You need to know this to help keep you lawful and ethical.
What about knowing the Game Management unit (GMU) boundaries? Private property? Seasons? Point restrictions? Limits? Knowing this information is your responsibility. The Game Police (new name for WA) will write you a ticket, maybe take your firearm/bow, boat, truck, trailer and what every else they can. Pleading ignorance will not help you. When I’m headed to a new place I make sure that I read up on it all, if I am fishing, I check on the limits.
When hunting private property, it is your responsibility to follow his wishes, leave gates as you found them, pick up your trash, (this is the biggest reason landowners shut down hunting on their property) and maybe ask to help with chores on their land. Ask in advance to hunt their land, not a couple of days before the season opens.
Then let’s talk about our physical ability. Can we pack out the animal we shot? Are you going to have to waste some of it (which is illegal in WA). If wounded, can you follow it to finish it off. I think one more issue that needs to be looked at, is making sure we can get to it after we shoot it. In Utah, I saw a small a nice buck in the cliffs. It was in range, but if I shot it, I would have had to scale a cliff to get it out and not safely. Start a good walking regimen or work out program to make sure this is taken care of.
Choose the correct weapon for the hunt. A firearm should be neither over nor under gun, for the species we are hunting, along with the correct caliber minimum your state requires. One more thing I will add here is that you can shoot this rifle and feel comfortable shooting it. I have seen to many newbies with magnums they cannot shoot. Bows should have the correct poundage, arrows the correct weight and the right size and weight of Broad head. Sight in correctly and practice, practice.
Now the distance we can shoot, I will not tell you what a minimum is. I have set my own and follow them. They might change due to conditions, but not much. Knowing your firearm/bow and practice is very important for this . Knowing the ballistics of the cartridges you shoot. Wounding an animal at 1000 yards will not be helpful and not always retrievable. I believe in one shot one kill. Know your limits.
What is ethical to you? What do you think others see as an ethical hunter? I don’t think I can answer all the questions about this, we have to look hard at ourselves. I think I learn new ones every year. I know that I want others to look at me as an ethical hunter. I try to keep non hunters from seeing blood or the dead animal, I practice with my firearm, I don’t waste meat, I know my limits (physical and firearm), I respect other hunters, I teach new ones as much as I can and most importantly, I feel good about what I do.
I don’t have a big room filled with trophy animals (I wish at sometimes I did), I eat what I kill and enjoy the time with friends. I would be the first one to help a buddy pack an animal out and butcher it. I would help friends get on animals to hunt.
There is so much more to being ethical and it’s different for each hunter. How do you want to be looked as a hunter, sportsman and conservationist? Please, let’s be responsible and help our sport out, there are Anti’s that want to shut us down. Let’s not give them ammo to do this.