Ethical Hunting: The rules of the hunt

 In Hunter Advocacy

When he was young, I told Dale Jr. that hunting and racing are a lot alike. Holding that steering wheel and holding that rifle both mean you better be responsible. -Dale Earnhardt

Ethics are a set of moral principles that guide a person’s behavior.

Ethical hunting means that a person knows and respects the game being hunted, follows the law, and behaves in a way that will satisfy what society expects of a hunter. Ethical hunters are familiar with the places they hunt, the wildlife that live there, and the way they should behave when hunting.

Obey All Laws

Obeying laws is the foundation of hunting ethics.  Hunting out of season, using another person’s property without permission, and exceeding bag limits are all examples of behavior that are both illegal and unethical.

ethical hunting

Respect Your Quarry

The absolute last thing an ethical hunter wants is to wound an animal and have it suffer unnecessarily. Use a weapon powerful enough to cleanly kill whatever species that you are pursuing. This includes using ammunition or arrows appropriate for the animal.

Take Shots At A Reasonable Range

Get as close to your target as possible before shooting.  When you pull the trigger or release an arrow, you should be completely certain you are going to hit and kill the animal you’re aiming at.

Respect Others

  • Be nice to others and treat them as you want to be treated.ethical hunting
  • Do not trespass.
  • Do not litter.
  • Be courteous to anyone you encounter in the woods.
  • If you’re hunting on property that belongs to someone else, obey any rules they established for using their property.
  • Take the time to thank them for allowing you to use their land.
  • If you kill an animal, discreetly transport it to your home or to a meat processing facility as quickly as possible.  (not everyone wants to see a dead deer, so don’t put it on display for the world)

Practice The Principles Of Fair Chase

Does the animal have a reasonable chance of escaping? Is this practice respectful to the animal? Is this practice in line with established local norms? If the answer to those questions is “yes”, then it is probably in line with the principles of fair chase.

Fully Use The Animal

There is nothing wrong with “trophy hunting.” However, this is true only if you use as much of the animal as possible. This ethical hunting practice also extends to making every effort to find and recover a wounded animal.

More about Safari Club International, Lansing Area Chapter

Our chapter, along with the entire SCI organization, focuses on protecting hunters’ rights and promoting wildlife conservation. We support hunters in the Lansing area and throughout mid-Michigan. If you are interested in finding out more about our chapter, attending a meeting, or joining, please contact us at

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