This is a discussion on Hunting Ethics within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the Hunting Forums - Hunting in Africa category; We as hunters all subscribe to some code of ethics. I recently saw the Rowland Ward Guild of Field Sportsmen's ...
We as hunters all subscribe to some code of ethics. I recently saw the Rowland Ward Guild of Field Sportsmen's Code of conduct. I would be interested to know what those of you who hunt think of it and what you believe should be added or amended. Please give motivation for your suggestions
Code Of Conduct
• That at all times a Member will extend every courtesy, privilege and assistance to a fellow Field Sportsman.
• That all hunting be conducted only during the hours of natural light.
• That no creature be hunted for sport in an enclosed area of such size that such creature is not self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency includes the ability of the animal to exercise its natural inclination to escape from the hunter as well as catering for all its basic needs such as water, food, shelter and breeding.
• That no shooting take place from, or within a short distance of a vehicle, nor the use of vehicles to drive game.
• That no shooting take place from, or within a short distance of an aircraft.
• That no aircraft be used to spot or drive game, nor the use of aircraft to land hunters within a short distance of game for the purpose of hunting the game so spotted.
• That only hunting weapons of such power and calibre that are capable of killing game quickly and efficiently at practical ranges be employed.
• That all forms of competition in the field between Sportsmen whilst hunting and fishing be avoided.
• That no creature be killed for sport, that is deemed to be immature, breeding or dependant and cannot, by virtue of its trophy or flesh, be fully utilised.
• That every effort is made to respect and safeguard the property of the landowner.
• That a landowner-member extend every courtesy, comfort and assistance possible to a member who hunts or fishes on his property.
• That a Professional Hunter/Guide-member makes sure that his clients understand and are fully aware of the Guild’s Code of Ethics and Standards that will be upheld during the course of any hunt.
• That a sportsman respects with understanding, the attitudes, feelings and principles of those that do not engage in activities of Field Sport.
• That a Sportsman should conduct his sport with due regard to his own physical capabilities, recognise his limitiations and responsibility to his companions or assistants.
• The Guild recognises that ’culling’, ’cropping’, ’trapping’, ’capture’ and vermin control are a necessary part of game management as long as they are conducted with consideration and humane treatment of the wildlife involved. However, at no time can these activities be regarded in the context of Field Sports.Ian Blakeway
African Bush Safaris - Hluhluwe - South Africa
03-05-2009, 06:24 PM #2
- Member of Rowland Ward Guild, NRA (Life Member), ISRA
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ABS, I joined the Guild after returning from Africa last year. The principles apply there for sure, but probably more so in one's home area. We all have had our own takes on ethical hunting, often passed down through generations, but it is good to see it codified and agreed upon by a nucleus of of hunters. I also like the caveats respecting others' opinions, as well as those outlining the differences - and valid needs - of cropping, culling, local traditions, etc. while differentiating those from hunting.
I think we've all been exposed to, or heard of, the 'slob' hunters who use any means available to them to take a trophy. Poaching with spotlight, trespassing, using rifles during archery season - you name it. Although the discussion of ethics was probably stated most eloquently by Aldo Leupold, in my very humble opinion, it will be increasingly pertinent in the coming decades when hunting pressures, costs, and lands become more stressed.
03-10-2009, 06:51 AM #3
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I would guess than that Leopard hunting over bait at night is un- ethical according to
RW ? or it is not hunting ? Maybe someone wiser than me could explain this to me.
03-10-2009, 07:38 AM #4
I am particularly interested in the views of some of the PH's on this. While hunting leopard over baits with lights is certainly not the classic way of doing it and is in fact not legal in many jurisdictions, it is accepted and legal in a few places..........especially ranching country where leopard have been hunted extensively over the decades and they do not come in during daylight hours.
There is also much debate over the use of dogs for leopard. Dogs are used routinely in other parts of the world and are part of local tradition. If dogs were not used for cougar (mountain lion) there would be very few taken, as they do not come readily to bait like other big cats.
Even the method of baiting that is routinely practiced in Africa would be considered illegal in many places in North America. Game animals are taken on licence and then the entire animal or portions of it, are hung as bait. This would be frowned upon on this side of the pond as being completely unethical. It would be viewed as 'wasting' game meat, is completely illegal and would result in charges.
Some strongly held views are simply nothing more than how things are done in a certain location and what one is use to. In much of North America there is no use of lights permitted for hunting at night (other than a land owner for predator control) and in most areas hunting big game at night PERIOD is not a legal practice.
In Europe a lot of boar hunting is done at night. It is legal and considered to be completely normal.
I have been guiding for bear for many years. In the areas where baiting is allowed for black bear we cannot hunt at night. Legal shooting light is typically one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. We have always known that some incredible bears are not being taken, as they do not come in until after legal shooting light. In recent years, with the use of trail cams, we have a clearer picture of how prevalent this actually is.
There are many huge Boone and Crockett bears out there that simply will not come in to a bait site during legal shooting light. We see them on the trail cam pictures having come in during the early hours of the morning. Completely nocturnal and will never be taken legally........and that is just how it is.
Certainly this is an interesting and controversial topic.Skyline Adventures
03-11-2009, 02:33 AM #5
ETHICS... a very relative concept I must say. Unless discussed in specifics, there is no set standard of hunting ethics that can be applied to a worldwide industry.
Each culture, habitat, environment, hunter and hunted could ultimately have varied sets of hunting ethics if you really think about it. Not considering these factors would categorise us all right up there with most anti-hunters - the unexposed/misinformed/subjective/prejudiced people of the world.
Having said that, there are some fundamentals that are necessary in every hunter; sustainability and fair chase in consideration of predator and prey in their natural environment/habitat. Never forget that we, as human hunters, qualify as predators in the habitat in which we hunt - our hunting then, determines the sustainability!
I am a proud and active hunter today, because i know that my hunting domain exists because of my positive impacts on it and am confident that my absence in it would be the demise of wildlife and ecology of the habitat. There is no better conservationist than the one who has an active, benefitial, long-term interest in what he conserves.
Is shooting an animal at night fair? Depends on the area and the animal itself - if it is an old animal, past its reproductive prime and occupying a territory negatively, then i believe it is fair to pursue the animal on its own terms, since it will never appear during the day(should be proven). In my books, ONLY CATS apply to this method. Don't try and convince me there is a nocturnal buffalo that simply cannot be pursued during daylight!!! So on and so forth... Cheers.Ryan Shallom (CEO)
03-19-2009, 12:16 AM #6
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Ethics are in the eye of the beholder.
Thanks Ian for bringing up this issue.
Someone once made the very accurate observation and said: "Ethics are in the eye of the beholder." On this forum we are discussing now only hunting ethics. Discuss business ethics and ethics about other matters elsewhere. I have often expressed my views on hunting ethics on forums such as this one. Here now is a thread specifically asking about ethics. I feel compelled to respond in some detail.
If whatever hunting method is under discussion is, for any one specific individual an acceptable method of hunting, well then it is by that persons own definition quite ethical. Whatever the method it is acceptable in the eyes of that particular beholder, and, by his definition ethical. I am the last person on earth that will make a unqualified statement to someone that his views are wrong. As a hunter I do consider it my duty to try to persuade him to consider changing his views, but even so his views are not “wrong”, they are just different from my views. Ethics are all in the eye of the beholder!
I have had many a fierce argument, or 'word fight', with different religious leaders about the right of people to pray, or not to pray, to their God [or the Devil] without anyone like a missionary having the right to say that: "My religion is the only true road to eternal salvation!" What can I say for the "hunter" who argues that: "The lion is going to die in any case, why don't I just shoot him in the cage before you release him, and so make the canned hunt perfectly safe for everyone?" The only thing that I can say is, if it is OK by you, it really is OK by you. It does not make it OK by me. It does not make it OK by most hunters, but I will not force my view of the ethics unto him. We can, and often do, say that such a person has "no ethics at all". This is wrong, his ethics are not the same as ours, but there are those who really believe that shooting something that is going to die in any case in a cage is OK. You may well ask: “Are there really hunters out there that would shoot a lion in a cage”|?” Just to be perfectly honest, I had a client, actually his very young son, shoot a sheep killing caracal in a trap cage. The farmer, after loosing many sheep to this particular caracal, wanted that particular caracal dead. He set a trap cage and caught it one night while we were hunting on the property. That caracal was going to die in any case, and I let young Jimmy Smith shoot it in the cage with my .22LR. Not “hunt” it in the cage, just “shoot” it in the cage. Ethical? You say! Hunting? No ways! I know it sounds terrible: but leave him be if he is acting legally to shoot a canned lion in a cage. Yes, fight to have the laws changed that will make it illegal to shoot a canned lion in a cage. But allow each one to define personal ethics. Is not something that is decided by democratic vote. If it were the hunters of this world would be far outvoted by the anti’s and there would be no hunting allowed. The fact that a certain “hunting” method, for example baiting for leopard and having a light to shoot by, is regarded by many as an ethical method of “hunting” a leopard does not make it right in everyone’s eyes. In their eyes it is right and an acceptable ethical hunting method. Not so in my eyes. Not so in the eyes of millions of anti-hunters either. In the reference frame work of each individual who does regard it as an acceptable practice it is indeed “right” and ethical. But if I do not accept it as a method that I want to use it also does not make me “wrong”. Ethics are in the eye of the beholder!
To get to the specifics of the Roland Ward Guild of Field Sportsmen’s Code of Ethics in specific terms. I have a serious problem of only hunting “…. during the hours of natural light.”
I have "hunted" leopard many times. I have never succeeded in actually killing or even shooting at one. How did I attempt the hunt? By sitting in broad daylight but very early in the morning very quietly under a bush on one side of a ravine where the spoor have been seen in the sand of the river bed. No calling. No bait. And, you guessed it, also no success! I have, just once, and only for a fleeting second, actually seen a leopard that I was hunting. One night, with only about a quarter moon, and no light at all, I crept up to about 15 yards from a feeding leopard. I stumbled on the kill, a domestic cow’s calf, earlier that day during a kudu hunt, got permission to try my luck on it and returned after moonrise. I followed the game path in darkness, with only my kudu-hunting rifle, a .270 win with a nice big Zeiss 8X56 telescope. From some distance off I could hear him tearing meat and could eventually even hear him swallowing! Eventually there was only one dense bush ["rosyntjiebos"] between us. Then all went eerily quiet, no more sound of meat being chewed off, just quiet. There was no change in the wind, I walked very softly, my rifle safety was taken off far away, but he sensed my presence, and he was gone! To this day I think he heard my heart beating! You can be very sure that my heart was beating, loudly! It does give one some adrenalin rush to be within feet from a big tom – judged by the spoor seen at the kill – and only a bit of moonlight to shoot by! But the Roland Ward Code would call this unethical hunting. As said, ethics are in the eye of the beholder.
I really hope to one day, have success on a leopard hunt, done my way! If I die or grow too old before accomplishing that, well then I go to my grave without having had a successful leopard hunt. I can live with that. I may even have to die with that. But I will not undo my own promise to myself by making the hunt for "my" leopard any easier for me. No ways! For me it will be me, my rifle and the leopard. No light. No artificial bait. Nothing that makes it easier to actually shoot a leopard. I will continue to hunt a leopard “my way” until I get one or grow to old to try! One day my patience will hopefully pay dividends. Or not pay dividends, it does not really make any difference to me at all. It is quite possible that one night while looking for predators with a spotlight to kill as part of a predator controlling exercise, I run across a leopard. Will I shoot it? If it is legal and desired, yes I will shoot it. But I will not claim it as a “hunting success”, and continue to hunt for my leopard in my way. Go right ahead and call me an idiot for not accepting the “generally accepted norm” of baiting for a leopard and shooting it with a light in the bait tree. I will feel very guilty to do it this way. So, please leave me to my ethics. Note that I do not call anyone who shoots a leopard with an artificial light at bait unethical. Just as I do not even call the guy who shoots a canned lion in a cage unethical. But I do not call him a lion hunter either! Ethics are in the eye of the beholder.
Speaking about hunting vs shooting leopard at night with or without artificial light makes me think of my experience with bushpigs.
I have hunted bushpig very often. I have shot one that was hunted. Incidentally I got this bushpig with the same .270 win on the same farm and very near to where I almost got my leopard. On a later occasion also shot an enormously big [charging] sow on an opportunistic chance encounter. [With a .22LR shooting subsonic hollow points – bullet between the eyes = stopped the charge and one dead pig.] My bushpig hunts were mostly in the early mornings near their day lay up thickets. Some bushpig hunts were undertaken at night. All without any artificial light and only relying on a Zeiss telescope to enable shooting with just starlight and a bit of moonlight. Sometimes I just carried a double barreled shotgun into the maize fields where they sometimes feed and rely on shotgun style shooting with slugs. My success ratio on these bushpig day and night hunts was low. Very low. Got a few warthogs that way. But no bushpigs. But how do you think I should rate my enjoyment of these hunts? Even the many ones where I returned home empty handed were thoroughly enjoyed!
In short, although I do not feel myself compelled to adhere to anyone’s code of ethics, I stick to my code that differentiates between hunting nocturnal animals with natural light, even if it is just a bit of moonlight, and shooting or culling or doing predator control with the use of an artificial light.
If there is one animal that is very exciting to hunt at night with just moonlight it is bushpig. There are a number of generally accepted methods for hunting bushpig: Walk and stalk in early morning near their day refuges, at night with a rheostat controlled light over a bile of bait of maize, rotten avocado pears or maize or even meat.
I also don’t condemn anyone for sitting over a pile of maize or rotting flesh as bait for a bushpig with a rheostat controlled light to shoot by as an unethical hunter. I'm just saying, that if I sit over bait in wait for a bushpig, I don't call it hunting. Yet I will go and sit on the edge of a maize field and wait for them to come and feed. Is there a difference between putting out a pile of maize near a specific tree in which you build your hide, or sitting by the artificially planted maize field in wait for the bushpigs to come and feed? Yes, in "my" book one is allowed as hunting, and one I would just call shooting. Why? In reply I will merely say because those are "my" views. I do not need to defend them at all! I don't need to be able to explain to anyone, even to myself, why there is, in my book, a difference. It is my ethics in my book. But walking and still hunting for bushpigs at night with only moonlight is a very special type of hunt! The way to go!
I'm not forcing my ethics onto anyone, and will not allow anyone to force his or her ethics onto me. We can talk about it, even argue about it, we can even try to convince each other of the "correctness" of our respective views, but in the end it remains very personal views that are neither right nor wrong. Different maybe. But if you really deep down and honestly feel that it is OK to shoot a lion in a cage and claim that you have hunted it, well, those are your views! Quite different from my view, but not "wrong", just because it is different from mine. Even if this man is the only one on earth that thinks it is OK to shoot a lion in a cage, it may still be his own honest view, and for him, and him alone, it would be ethical to do so and claim that he has hunted a lion. There is no democracy in ethics: What the majority thinks is right and acceptable is not right for someone who disagrees. But by exactly the same token his minority view can also not be forced on the majority. So, if I disagree with the view that it is OK to call for or use bait on a leopard “hunt”, let me be! I’m most definitely NOT saying that others are “wrong”. All of us are right, although our views are different. That sure sounds, and really is, stupid! But it is how I feel about ethics: It is in the eye of the beholder!
The Roland Ward Code does not mention the use of dogs or hounds at all, except by implication as part of the “vermin control” – you know chasing jackal with greyhounds? Hunting leopard, caracal and other cats over a trained pack of dogs is a very controversial subject. In many South African provinces it is illegal, but can be legalized by applying for and being issued a permit – which I’m told is quite readily issued by at least the Limpopo Province’s Nature Conservation Department.
Years ago I was invited to go on a bushpig shoot with a pack of trained hounds. Now, if anyone who has grown tired of buffalo or other DG hunting, and wants an adrenaline rush, that is very highly recommended! The baying of the hounds, the shouts of the runners following the hounds, the uncertainty if you have selected your ambush spot properly, the, well everything about such an event is thrilling and exciting. I don't think I was even nearly so excited on my honeymoon night as on that bushpig shoot! But, in my book, although extremely exciting, it was not hunting.
The fact that it is not hunting in my book is just that. I'm not saying anyone who disagrees is unethical. I'm not condemning anyone for enjoying running bushpigs with hounds – as said I joined in and enjoyed it very much! I will also not condemn those who find great pleasure of chasing jackal with their speedhounds. As a wingshooter and owner of trained [well at least partly trained] GSP’s, the lack of stance taken about the use of dogs in general, but in particular for wingshooting, is IMHO a serious shortcoming in the Roland Ward Code.
What about ethics of daylight plains game hunting? Hunting game that are retained behind fences? Hunting game that was recently released from captivity, or “Put&Take” hunting? Hunting with black powder weapons when there are modern high power rifles available? Hunting with handguns that have less power than rifles? Bow hunting? Crossbow hunting? Modern compound bow versus traditional longbow hunting? Bow hunting from a blind? Spear hunting? Hunting at a feeding stations? Hunting at a waterhole? Searching for game with a vehicle – the so-called “spot and stalk” method?
A well known South African PH has posted a statement to the effect that "I like shooting something when hunting." in response to my posting on ethics in which my lack of success was stated. I believe that the whole essence of all ethics while hunting can be explained by the statement that ethics applies only the the search, stalk and trophy evaluation part of the hunt. Once the hunter has decided to kill a particular animal the "hunt" is over and only the "killing" remains to be executed. I'll explain what is meant by the hunt is over by way of example: An elephant honter decided he wants a 100Lb elephant. He hunts hard, finds a set of very big tracks and follows these on foot. Eventually he overtakes the elephant and stalks to very close to see the ivory clearly. He can very easily take a killing shot by this time. However the elephant has both tusks broken of to little stumps and he declines the opportunity to take a shot. He had a fully successful hunt, but decided at the end of the hunt not to make a kill. If the elephant was indeed a true 100lb one he would have ended the hunt by deciding to take the shot and after the true ethical "hunt" was over taken the shot to kill the elephant. He would have had a successful hunt and killed an elephant.
In my book hunting means finding and getting close to an animal to evaluate if you really want to kill it, get in a good enough position to be 100% sure that you can with minimum suffering kill it with whatever weapon/equipment he has chosen.
Methinks I’ve said enough: Ethics are in the eye of the beholder!
In good hunting.
03-20-2009, 12:49 PM #7
Andrew ................you and your leopard.
I also did a similar thing. I have been trapping for many years. Trapping however is not the same to me as hunting. It is commercial oriented take and control method of fur bearing animals where I live in Canada.
Over the years I have 'trapped' a lot of Canada Lynx. I had always wanted to get one of these cats mounted life size, but for me personally it had to be shot with a rifle while 'hunting'. Now it is true I have to carefully select the locations where I set the traps for various species, study the animals movements and travel routes, play to their senses of sight, smell and sound, etc., etc. Many would say that I had out smarted the animal when I found it dead in my trap.....but to me it is just not the same thing as hunting. A fun outdoor activity, yes.....but not hunting by my self-imposed standards.
A few years ago I 'patterned' a big tom lynx in my trapping area. I watched for his tracks in the snow and figured out his travel routes and general pattern, then went out early each morning at first light and waited on the selected travel route for the cat. On the third day he came............my .222 Remington dropped him in his tracks as he stalked along on top of the deep snow looking for snowshoe hares.
He is now mounted and on display in our home.
No, not a leopard. Some day maybe things will fall into place for that to happen................or maybe not. Time will tell.Skyline Adventures
05-05-2009, 09:09 AM #8
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Andrew, then by your way of thinking one can hunt with a camera, and not carry a weapon. The hunt is successful when the picture is taken. I am not trying to get up your nose with this. I didn't "hunt" with a rifle for about 3 years and only carried a camera and many said I DID NOT hunt.
05-05-2009, 12:52 PM #9
A code of Ethics is an individuals perogative as long as it is moral and legal, and that must be determined by the hunter, guide and local laws..
These type of rules set fourth by individuals that seem to just make up stuff that sounds good to the public usually just serve to open up a can of worms.
Common Since is the best rule of thumb for an ethical hunter, you know what is right and what is wrong and if you don't then you have no place in our sport, but one has to be very careful what is right and what is wrong least he step on his private part..Is trapping wrong, is bear baiting wrong, is all night hunting wrong, what amount of land stupulates poor sportsmanship, is hunting with dogs imoral, what we can do here is create havoc among ourselves and just how does that look to the anti hunting crew, and how much ammo do we send for them to attack us with? Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it..
Most of the above code is correct IMO, but they always have to add those silly little tidbits because they ran out of stuff to write it seems, and apparantly they don't have the field experience to administer such a document.
Night hunting is perfectly legitamante for many animals and its is also legal, Leopard as mentioned for instance, varmint hunting, Lion hunting is legal at night.
I also question the paragraph on perscribed use of vehicles in hunting, in that spot and stalk is a standard by which most hunts, particularly in Africa are done. Also on the plains of the USA for both Mule Deer and Pronghorn Antelope.
I will not sit in judgement of how someone else hunts as long as its legal, but I will expect certain behavior out of those who hunt with me personally.
I know that any post such as mine or anyone elses can be attacked, and so be it, but I will continue to be my own judge, jury and executioner..RAY ATKINSON
05-10-2009, 06:23 AM #10
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Ray.. I think you hit the nail right square on the head!! Everything you said is right on!! Ethics is a big can of worms to open.. one I don't plan on opening.. We all have our thoughts & ideas on the ethics of hunting pertaining to the species we are hunting!!
....The most important thing is that us hunters - instead of fighting amongst each other on the ethics & moral's thing is to respect each other & try & help each other to preserve hunting!! There are enough anti's out there who just wait for issues like this to divide the troops then they work their magic!! A lot of laws I do believe are made by the anti's as no hunter with any brains could have made such silly laws!!
Know the laws, follow them, & do what is right in your heart is the best way to get through the morals..unless you are in to a lot of arguing I just shut my mouth & don't make the judgment on Ethics!!
....Do as they do in Rome! might be the best answer.. If it's legal?
05-12-2009, 03:06 AM #11
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For me, Ehtics can be summed up as such:
1) Is it acceptable for you personally to do the hunt the way you did / want to?
2) Is it acceptable for the land owner/ government of the country what you are doing / going to do?
3) Will the majority of your peers/ other hunters find it an acceptable practice?
4) Is it an acceptable way for the animal to die? (In other words, are your weapon / bullet/ arrow / etc. of choice adequate.)
If your answer on all 4 questions are yes, it is ethical.
05-12-2009, 04:27 AM #12
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As do most of you, I have problems with a couple of the items in the Guild's list. I did not join because of them. As Andrew quoted me above from another forum, "Ethics are in the eye of the beholder."
05-14-2009, 12:08 PM #13
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The fact of the matter is, ethics are an individual thing that is both regulated by what you have been tought, and what the local moors are in the area where you and the person who tought you live and began hunting.
The ethics of one local may be drasticlly different form another local, but when you travel to hunt you take "YOUR" ethics with you, and the ruleing autority that decides what ethics can be used is the GAME LAWS in the area where you are hunting. The law decides which ethic is allowed there and which are not. Though you may not agree with what is, and is not legal there you must abide by those rules. Under that rule you are not REQUIRED to do something you consider unethical, but you are required NOT TO DO something you consider ethical, but is against the law where you are!
So when it boils down to a fine soup, you leave out the seasoning you don't like, but have to eat what is left,or go hungry. IOW, if the rule there are totaly against what you believe you are not required to participate!
In the final analysis, what is legal is what is ethical in the place you choose to hunt. If that is totally against ALL your ethics then your choice is not to hunt there. Your etthics have no effect the others who do hunt there!
..................Mac >>>===(x)===>DUGABOY1 www.doublerifleshooterssociety.com
"If I die today I have had a life well spent, for I have been to see the elephant, and smelled the smoke of Africa" qt by Damon(mac) McCartney
By Western Expedition in forum Before & After the HuntReplies: 17Last Post: 03-07-2011, 03:46 PM