South African Hunting Information 2: What is and what is not fair chase hunting?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Andrew McLaren, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Andrew McLaren

    Andrew McLaren AH Member

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    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/inputs_proposed_norms_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.

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  2. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    As with anything there are huge holes in this that can be used to either justify or condemn the hunting of any given animal.
    A deer that is born with no fences, grows up next to man and eventually encroaches on a farmyard and learns no fear of the people living there may flee at the first sight of man if encountered elsewhere. Is that animal not fair chase?

    What is "wild"? Does that mean no fences? It certainly could be taken that way. If it belongs to someone (rancher) it is his property so how could it be "wild". Is it not fair chase if someone owns the animal?

    The fact is as soon as we encroach on wilderness areas the animals have to adapt and change to accomodate us. As soon as we capture a Gemsbok from nature and transport it to some place outside its natural range and release it we have in essence domesticated it to some degree.

    How about an example from around home here. A bear enters a campsite and torment campers so the game wardens tranq it and relocate the bear. Is hunting him no longer fair chase? there is certainly nothing natural about that interaction?

    IMO if the animal has a natural wariness of man and enough space to truly evade him and any game fences in no way impede his ability to evade the hunter, that is fair chase.

    It will be interesting what others think.
  3. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    andrew sorry but this is like trying to decipher something a lawyer wrote. maybe simplify and shorten it .... ? as i have a feeling it is too long and convoluted for a lot of people to bother with, just my opinion of course. about unnatural interaction, when i first came to africa to hunt it was in 1989 in the selous tanzania. it was a 30 day hunt, so we didnt really have to worry about time. this gave us the opportunity to fly camp, and work our way into areas of the concession where nobody had been since hunting reopened in 1978 i think it was. we came across animals that had obviously never seen a human before, as they didnt run away but wandered up for a closer look. now as they did not show the natural reaction that would be expected, i presume this would be classified in the unnatural scenario, or were they being natural, and other animals that runaway being unnatural?:confused:
  4. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    Spot on Diamond!

    When they get done lamb basting non-preferred ways of hunting, what next? Perhaps they will shift their attention to unnatural dog breeds and dog ownership...horse breeds/horse ownership. Where exactly does it stop? Fair chase is in your heart. Search for it there and let the next guy do the same.
  5. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    On my last hunt I wounded a kudu. After tracking him down, I shot him in the corner of the fence surrounding the property. This is a 25000 acre property, no internal fences. I would not get to this kudu if it wasnt for the fact that he stuck him self in the corner of the fence. So, was that fair chase? Would it be better for him to get away with a shot off front leg?
    Nothing is black or white....
  6. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    The easiest hunt and what felt the least fair chase to me was when I first hunted an area that had not been hunted for the last 15-20 years before I managed to lease it.
    This area was totally without fences and totally so called fair chase and I guess a dream for many hunters to come to an area like this and hunt deer that never had encountered a hunter before at all.
    The deer just didn't understand I was dangerous before I had shot 4 of them in 2 days. But the rest learned quickly from that and became as difficult to hunt as other deer. But those first 4 deer didn't feel like hunting to me.
  7. iamyourhuckleberry

    iamyourhuckleberry AH Enthusiast

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    Bjorn,

    Here in the States, I have been in many situations like the one you discribed . As a matter of fact, I will even generalize further, hunting indigenous non-fenced species has been a heck of a lot easier for me than hunting fenced exotics. I've had caribou streaming past as close as three meters-a chip shot with a bow-a matter of waiting for the right one. Pronghorn at a water hole on a hot summer day-a matter of waiting. As a younger man, the killing of mule deer with a rifle became child's play. Now, if I could legally hunt them with stones, I would. Ambushing white-tailed deer from a tree stand on their way to an ag field...extremely difficult and not a job for the unfocused or light hearted individual...NOT! Wolverine is precise when he states, "It is not black and white...." What is easy for some can be extremely difficult for others. I constantly ask myself, why do some guys think we all need to hunt like them? This is a stance I find to be excessively contemptuous.

    Law...that which is legal...is intended to provide equal opportunity for ALL. In a sense, if it is legal, then it is fair chase. Nowhere in any country's law does it force a person to participate! Ok, well maybe Obamacare, but I think that law will be overturned....lol.
  8. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    My experience exactly, Where I hunt Moose is 2-3 days by horseback and no motorized access (including float plane) is allowed. There are plenty of Moose in easirer areas to satisfy the outfitters and the vast majority of those moose die of old age and seldom even see a human, they have reservations when encountering a human but no real fear and Mulies back there behave much the same. Those same species have no time or tolerance for humans close to civilization, they become much more difficult to hunt. In relatively unhunted areas animals spend a tremendous amount of time active in daylight hours, interaction with humans turns them nocturnal. The list goes on and on, usually in the animals favor.

    I am not convinced by that part of the definition.

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