Is it ethical if its legal?
I recently made my one and only post about the venerable subject of Mark Sullivan. I was asked to and therefore did re-post it on another popular internet forum. The response was both good and bad, and when it was bad, it was really bad. Cyber-bullying to the extreme.
One very disturbing trend emerged from a large group. That is, the idea that hunting ethics and self-policing the sport, and the sportsmen who participate in hunting, is unworthy of discussion. The logic is that if its legal - then one person should not opine about how another person hunts.
Do you agree with that? I do not.
Personally, I think there must be a high ethical standard for the modern day hunter. I believe that we as hunters must promote our role in conservation, stewardship and wildlife management. We must speak out against the anti-hunting rhetoric that is all to come and we must be equally willing to admit that some people, and some practices, are unethical and therefore not defensible.
Case in point. On a recent dangerous game hunt I shared a camp with a very nice older gentleman who shot and hit, but did not immediately kill, a cape buffalo. they tracked that buffalo for the entire day and most of the next 2 days. Eventually the game scout said that they had made the best effort possible and could go on to hunt another buffalo. Since he did draw blood, he was obligated to pay the trophy fee, but he could have, if he wanted, taken another cape buffalo at no additional cost. He refused to do that. instead, they stayed on the small herd until they crossed out of the concession and were gone forever.
I admire that man as being among the most ethical hunters I have met. Could he have legally taken another Buffalo - yes. But would it have been ethical - I do not think so. I am glad I did not have to make that decision.
My fundamental point is, there are things which are legal in the hunting realm that are not ethical. Passing up on follow ups shots on wounded game and pursuing them until they charge falls into the legal yet unethical playbook, at least for me (I also want to come home so that plays into the calculus as well).
I am interested in whether you think that if its legal, then its ok and we should all stay out of each others business, or, in the alternative, as the stewards of wildlife in this era, should we as hunters go beyond the letter of the law and follow a higher "ethical" code?
I am serious about this query. Please do not resort to name-calling and abusive language or personal attacks on me or others who share their views. I would really like to see were the majority of posters end up on this issue.