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Lesson Seven Be a Responsible and Ethical Hunter

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1 Lesson Seven Be a Responsible and Ethical Hunter

2 Key Topics Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? Hunter Ethics
The Five Stages of Hunter Development

3 Objectives You should be able to…
give five reasons why we have hunting laws identify opportunities to go hunting on public and private lands state how the “father of wildlife management” defined ethical behavior

4 Objectives (cont.) describe how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for natural resources describe how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for other hunters describe how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for landowners

5 Objectives (cont.) describe how responsible and ethical hunters show respect for non-hunters list and describe the five stages of hunter development give three examples of what you can do to be involved in making hunting a respected sport

6 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws?
During 19th century, many game animals were nearly hunted into extinction. The thundering herds of buffalo that once roamed the plains were reduced to about 800 head. The beaver was almost wiped out. Once plentiful elk, deer and pronghorn had been reduced to a fraction of their original number.

7 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Game Conservation These laws allow game to flourish by: Establishing hunting seasons that limit harvesting and avoid nesting and mating seasons. Limiting hunting methods and equipment. Setting “bag” limits on the number of animals to be taken. Establishing check stations and game tag requirements to enforce laws.

8 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Know the Law Ignorance of hunting laws no excuse for violating them. Violations classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Felony usually involves actions that intentionally endanger lives of others.

9 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Misdemeanors are crimes that may be less serious but are still important. In Texas, misdemeanors grouped into three classes: Class A – most serious Class B – moderately serious Class C – least serious If a hunter commits class C more than once, may be subject to more serious violation.

10 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
In Texas, person who violates wildlife laws might also be charged with civil restitution – meaning may also have to pay additional fees for having to put animal species back into the environment. Costs can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

11 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Safety, Opportunity and Funding In addition to ensuring the availability of game for future generations, hunting laws: Establish safety guidelines. Offer equal opportunity for all hunters. Ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs by collecting license fees.

12 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Fair Chase Concept began in the Middle Ages, when hunters increased the challenge of sport hunting by setting rules that limited how they took game. More recently, fair chase rules developed to stem pubic criticism of hunters. One of the earliest models was “Fair Chase Principle” established in late 1800s by the Boone and Crockett Club, which was founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Those who violated club rules were expelled.

13 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
The rules were later expanded, banning use of vehicles, airplanes, radios, electronic calling or shooting in a fenced enclosure. Many states have made those rules into law.

14 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
The Hunter’s Image Matters Behavior of irresponsible hunters has caused some opposition to hunting. Nationally, approximately 5 percent of the population hunts, and roughly the same percentage actively oppose hunting. The rest of the population is predominantly neutral. However, bad behavior by hunters could sway some of the neutral crowd into the anti-hunting camp.

15 Why Do We Have Hunting Laws? (cont.)
Careful Courteous Considerate Capable

16 Hunter Ethics While hunting laws preserve wildlife, ethics preserve hunter’s opportunity to hunt. Because ethics generally govern behavior that affects public opinion of hunters, ethical behavior ensures that hunters are welcome and hunting areas stay open. Ethics generally cover behavior that has to do with issues of fairness, respect, and responsibility not covered by laws.

17 Hunter Ethics (cont.) It’s not illegal to be rude to landowner when hunting on his or her property, or carelessly fail to close pasture gate after opening it, but most hunters agree that discourteous and irresponsible behavior is unethical. Then there are ethical issues that are just between the hunter and nature. For example, an animal appears beyond a hunter’s effective range for clean kill. Should the hunter take shot anyway and hope to get lucky? Ethical hunters would say no.

18 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Hunter’s Ethical Code
As Aldo Leopold, the “father of wildlife management,” once said, ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – even when doing the wrong thing is legal. The ethical code hunters use today was developed by sportsmen over time. Most hunting organizations agree that responsible hunters do the following:

19 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Leave land better than you found it.
Respect Natural Resources: Leave land better than you found it. Adhere to fair chase rules. Know your capabilities and limitations as marksman, and stay within your effective range. Strive for quick, clean kill.

20 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Ensure that meat and usable parts are not wasted. Treat both game and non-game animals ethically. Abide by game laws and regulations. Cooperate with conservation officers. Report game violations.

21 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Respect Other Hunters: Follow safe firearm handling practices and insist companions do same. Refrain from interfering with another’s hunt. Avoid consuming alcohol, which can impair you to point of endangering others. Share knowledge and skills with others.

22 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Ask landowners for permission to hunt.
Respect Landowners: Ask landowners for permission to hunt. Follow restrictions on when and where you may hunt. Treat livestock and crops as your own. Offer to share part of your harvest with owner. Leave all gates the way you found them. If you notice something wrong or out of place, notify the landowner immediately. Never enter private land that is cultivated or posted, unless you have first obtained permission.

23 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Respect Non-Hunters: Transport animals discretely – don’t display them. Keep firearms out of sight. Refrain from taking graphic photographs of kill and from vividly describing kill while within earshot of non- hunters. Maintain presentable appearance while on the street – no bloody or dirty clothing.

24 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Baiting deer with corn or protein pellets.
Personal Choice As in every human endeavor, there are gray areas of ethical behavior that come down to personal choice. Examples of gray areas of ethical behavior are: Baiting deer with corn or protein pellets. Shooting birds on ground, on water or in trees. Shooting from vehicle or boat within private boundaries or on private waters.

25 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Make contact at least week in advance.
How to Ask Landowners for Permission: Make contact at least week in advance. Wear street clothes – no hunting gear or firearms. Don’t bring companions. Be polite. Thank owner, whether permission is granted or denied.

26 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Don’t get permission to hunt.
Landowner Complaints About Hunters Don’t get permission to hunt. Don’t tell landowners when they arrive at or leave the property. Make too much noise. Leave litter behind. Carry loaded firearms in vehicles.

27 Hunter Ethics (cont.) Drive off ranch roads.
Don’t leave gates as they were (open or shut) when hunter arrived. Shoot too close to neighbors or livestock. Leave fires unattended. Violate game laws. Drink alcohol to excess.

28 Hunter Ethics (cont.) How to Behave if Confronted by Anti-Hunter Protesters Remain calm and polite and do not engage in arguments – never lose your temper. Never touch an anti-hunter or use any physical force Never threaten an anti-hunter with your firearm Report hunter harassment to law enforcement authorities

29 Hunting Opportunities
Public Lands All states have federal or state-owned public lands that are available for hunting. Public lands may have special regulations that regulate hunting on these properties and may require special permits. Be sure to check with your state’s wildlife management agency and obtain maps before you go out.

30 Hunting Opportunities (cont.)
Be aware that national parks are all closed for hunting. Public lands that may be open for hunting are: State parks and forests State-owned wildlife management areas National forests National Wildlife Refuge properties Bureau of Land Management properties Bureau of Reclamation properties Corps of Engineers properties Military reservations

31 Hunting Opportunities (cont.)
Private Lands About 97% of Texas is privately owned. You can hunt on private lands if: You own land, or You receive permission to hunt from landowner, or You pay landowner to hunt

32 Hunting Opportunities (cont.)
Hunting leases common in Texas. Obtaining lease may be expensive. If purchasing a lease, you should set up lease agreement – a formal, signed agreement between you and the landowner and should be signed by both parties.

33 Six Stages of Hunter Development
It should be the goal of every responsible hunter to become a true sportsman. As a hunter gains experience and skill, studies have shown that he or she will typically pass through five distinct stages of development. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone passes through all of these stages, nor do they necessarily do it in the same order.

34 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Shooting Stage Priority is getting off a shot, rather than patiently waiting for a good shot. This eagerness to shoot can lead to bad decisions that endanger others. A combination of target practice and mentoring helps most hunters move quickly out of this stage.

35 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Limiting Out Stage Success determined by bagging the limit. In extreme cases, this need to limit out can also cause hunters to take unsafe shots. Spending time with more mature hunters helps people grow out of this phase.

36 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Trophy Stage The hunter is selective and judges success by quality rather than quantity. Typically, the focus is on big game. Anything that doesn’t measure up to the desired trophy is ignored.

37 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Method Stage Process of hunting becomes the focus. A hunter may still want to limit out, but places a higher priority on how it’s accomplished.

38 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Sportsman Stage Success is measured by total experience: appreciation of the out- of-doors and the animal being hunted, process of the hunt, and companionship of other hunters.

39 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
“Give Back” Stage Part of the process of becoming a true, responsible sportsman is becoming involved in efforts to make hunting a respected sport. That includes teaching proper knowledge and skills to others, working with landowners, and cooperating with wildlife officials.

40 Six Stages of Hunter Development (cont.)
Also includes joining conservation organizations dedicated to improving habitat and management efforts. Responsible, ethical behavior and personal involvement all essential to survival of hunting. How you behave and how other people see you will determine whether hunting will continue as a sport.

41 Review Questions Give a reason for establishing hunting laws?
Explain ethical behavior according to Aldo Leopold. What would a responsible and ethical hunter not do? Do responsible hunters keep their firearms in view when not hunting?

42 Review Questions (cont.)
How many distinct stages of development are there for most hunters; and which is the most responsible and ethical? Which stage is success determined by bagging the limit, which can cause hunters to take unsafe shots? What can hunters do to bring respect to the sport of hunting?

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