South African Hunting Information 2: What is and what is not fair chase hunting?
In this second posting on an aspect of hunting that I make in response to Gerhard Damm plea to do something about Put & Take killing. I again start by defining the subject. I am using someone else definition so that if attacked about the definition I have a strong and powerful ally on my side. There are numerous hunting organisations in South Africa, almost all of which have a published Code of Conduct for their members to adhere to. Many, if not all, of these hunting clubs of associations are members of the South African Council of Hunting Associations of South Africa, or CHASA the overarching body for all hunters in South Africa. I will use the CHASA definition of what is fair chase hunting as I consider it to be a very good point from which to depart when discussing what Gerhard Damm called Put & Take Shooting? The definition is quoted from here: http://www.chasa.co.za/web/documents..._standards.pdf
Define fair chase as the pursuit of a free ranging animal or enclosed ranging animal possessed of the natural and behavioural inclination to escape from the hunter and be fully free to do so. A recreationally hunted animal should exist as a naturally interacting individual of a wild sustainable population, located in an area that meets both the spatial (territory and home range) and temporal (food, breeding and basic needs) requirements of the population of which that individual is a member.
Let us dig into a few possible meanings of words or phrases from the CHASA definition of Fair Chase Hunting.
What may be meant by naturally interacting? Intuitively every hunter will understand what is meant by the term. There should be absolutely no need to even give examples. If the animal being hunted is only showing it's natural interaction with everything in the environment and all the other requirements of the CHASA definition are also met, then the hunting can be regarded as fair chase. I can live with that very well!
But we are not trying to define fair chase here; we are in fact trying to establish what is not fair chase. So, I argue that we must ask ourselves what then would the opposite of the term naturally interacting be, as then the requirement in the CHASA definition is not met, and hence the hunt is not fair chase ? What if there is any indication of un-natural interacting of the hunted animal? Well, then the hunting for that animal can not be fair chase in terms of the CHASA definition. I can live very well with that too!
This means that I will accept being branded as, and publicly called an unethical or non-fair chase hunter if an animal that I'm hunting shows even the least bit of any ..un-natural interaction! OK? Can you live with the premise that even the tiniest little bit of unnatural interacting results in your hunt being defined as not in fair chase ? Only if there is no, nothing, 0, zero, zilch, absolutely none whatsoever un-natural interacting can the hunt be declared as an in fair chase hunt.
Or are we going to allow some rule bending? Should we not, for reasons of economy and pragmatism and to allow the Antis some toe-in-the-door - allow at least a bit of un-natural interacting ? Zero un-natural interaction is OK. How much rule bending do you propose is acceptable? Is it acceptable if just 1% of all the interacting with its environment is un-natural? If then a small 1% of un-natural interacting is OK, how will you feel about 10%? Why do we not then settle for anything less than 49%? Where do we draw the line? At what level of un-natural interaction in the trophy that I am hunting do you start calling me an unethical hunter? Is there any degree to what is natural and what is unnatural? No, methinks that even the least bit of un-natural interacting in a hunted animal makes that hunt a non-fair chase, and thus unethical, hunt. The natural interacting of an animal is either 100.00% natural, or the hunt is not in fair chase! No compromise!
The reader of this should note that there are other factors in the CHASA definition of fair chase that could result in a hunt not meeting the requirements to be called in fair chase . I have only looked at the requirement that the hunted animal should exist as a naturally interacting individual because I want to come back to this in a later posting in the same series.
In good hunting.
In good hunting.