Ethics, what would you do?

Hank2211

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On another thread (at what point are we causing our own problems), Hunthardsafaris and I were exchanging posts about what some might view as actions that hurt our sport. In particular, he said, in part:

"this opens a whole new can of worms and as responsible adults and hunters,the choice to hunt off a vehicle will and can only remain the clients. He pays,his Safari, the PH is there not to judge your ethics,he is there because by law you need one,he judges your trophies and makes sure you do nothing illegal or get yourself killed. If he insists you shoot from a truck you can insist on a new PH. That is the problem with us today ( my opnion) we are to scared to upset the next person no matter how wrong he or she may be,everyone has a right and abdicates responsibility.
It does not start or stop with trucks,waterhole hunting,last minute spotlight drives and yes even aircraft and helicopters. No one forces the hunter to do this,but we all know it's happening and stand idly by and turn the other way to keep the peace. If we as hunters cannot keep our own house in order it is going to be a hell of a ride with the Anti's.

Another view point on this is how many hunters are willing to book with a Outfitter that only subscribes to fairchase on the foot hunting in a big area, I am not talking DG only. Outfitters get paid for results and trophies on the wall,successful safaris get measured in inches,numbers and pounds. How many clients are physically prepared and up to a day after day slog in the African heat?"

Back to me.

I am sympathetic to what Hunthardsafaris has to say. Being a PH has to rank high among thankless jobs. This got me thinking though - I was in a hunting camp recently and had an experience, and I'd like to know what people think of it, and what they would do. Here are the facts.

Another hunter in the camp wanted to hunt a sable, with a bow, to qualify for some SCI award or other. He was an experienced bow hunter. On this day, they found a sable, and he took the shot. For whatever reason, it was not a great shot (as happens to all of us from time to time), and the sable was wounded. The PH thought the wound would eventually be fatal, but likely not for some time.

The sable ran and some many hours were spent tracking it. Eventually, it was tracked to very dense brush, where the bowhunter proceeded to take another shot. And another. The brush was apparently thick enough and the shot tricky enough that the arrows missed their target, or hit the poor animal in the rear end. And eventually, our hunters ran out of arrows.

At that point the PH said enough, I'm going to put the animal out of its misery. The hunter said if you do that, you're paying for it, because I won't be able to count it towards my award. So they sat there, and waited for this poor animal to die, which it apparently did, a few hours later.

What should the PH have done? What would you have done?
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Eish what a mess on this Sable. Honestly if I was the PH, I'm not sure what I would have done except maybe to plead with the client to take my rifle and finish the job. It's a very tough spot to be in at the PH.

I'd like to think that I would have politely told him that it's you or I and this rifle and you WILL pay for this animal that YOU wounded. Every contract I've seen stipulates paying for animals killed OR wounded.

If I was the hunter I would have before running out of arrows had grabbed a rifle and ended this debacle. I can't see how this hunter would ever look at his "major award" and feel good about it.
 

sierraone

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Eish what a mess on this Sable. Honestly if I was the PH, I'm not sure what I would have done except maybe to plead with the client to take my rifle and finish the job. It's a very tough spot to be in at the PH.

I'd like to think that I would have politely told him that it's you or I and this rifle and you WILL pay for this animal that YOU wounded. Every contract I've seen stipulates paying for animals killed OR wounded.

If I was the hunter I would have before running out of arrows had grabbed a rifle and ended this debacle. I can't see how this hunter would ever look at his "major award" and feel good about it.

I agree with you Phil for the most part. I don't think that I would have waited as long though. I would like to think that a potential SCI award has less value than the animal's suffering....take the rifle and kill it!
 

TokkieM

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Hank thanks for putting me on the spot Mate:D

That example you mention is a pretty hard one to give a straight up answer to. PH's don't make nearly enough to pay for a Sable even with a month of hunting and the client probably knew that.99% of the Outfitters would also not pay the cost of the Sable to back the PH. If however I was the owner/operator/PH all in one I would not give it a second thought to shoot or not to shoot and I would make sure to shoot it between the eyes. I pity the PH being put in a spot like that and I can assure you it would be a somber mood around the fire that night with a few long strong ones.
I have however been in exactly the same position with a client and a Impala, I paid for it gladly.
Sure enough that makes me a hypocrite because all animals deserve the same respect irrespective of monetary value, but I am unfortunately a poor hypocrite:D:D
 

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If I was the hunter I would have before running out of arrows had grabbed a rifle and ended this debacle. I can't see how this hunter would ever look at his "major award" and feel good about it.

You hit the nail on the head here, this guy was certainly a tool. Unfortunately this is a tough spot. The easy answer is to have clear stipulation about animals wounded with an arrow in the contract and stick to it. Prior preparation...
 

Hank2211

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Hank thanks for putting me on the spot Mate:D

That example you mention is a pretty hard one to give a straight up answer to. PH's don't make nearly enough to pay for a Sable even with a month of hunting and the client probably knew that.99% of the Outfitters would also not pay the cost of the Sable to back the PH. If however I was the owner/operator/PH all in one I would not give it a second thought to shoot or not to shoot and I would make sure to shoot it between the eyes. I pity the PH being put in a spot like that and I can assure you it would be a somber mood around the fire that night with a few long strong ones.
I have however been in exactly the same position with a client and a Impala, I paid for it gladly.
Sure enough that makes me a hypocrite because all animals deserve the same respect irrespective of monetary value, but I am unfortunately a poor hypocrite:D:D
I can tell you the PH felt like shit about it. I don't know who he was madder at - his client or himself. I found out about it because of the long term relationship I have with my own PH, and I walked in on a heated conversation. The PH involved stopped talking, but mine said it was OK, and they asked me what I thought. I said I thought the client was an a**hole.

I'd like to think that I would have politely told him that it's you or I and this rifle and you WILL pay for this animal that YOU wounded. Every contract I've seen stipulates paying for animals killed OR wounded.

This is a whole new issue, but I'd have thought this as well, but I was surprised to learn just how often people seem to say to a PH - 'if so and so happens, you're paying for the animal." I think it speaks to the pressure the PH is under not to piss off a client who may not be acting reasonably. But a sable. That's expensive.

I also was privy to a conversation around a lost waterbuck. The client said my [relative] should not have taken that shot, and you told her to, so it's your fault it was wounded, and we aren't paying for it.
 

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All I know is to be in that spot would suck big time. I know if I was the PH the trip would have stopped right after that mess. I would have not taken him for anything more after that point and settled the bill that night.

Hunt hard we are all hypocrites at some time or another.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I can tell you the PH felt like shit about it. I don't know who he was madder at - his client or himself. I found out about it because of the long term relationship I have with my own PH, and I walked in on a heated conversation. The PH involved stopped talking, but mine said it was OK, and they asked me what I thought. I said I thought the client was an a**hole.



This is a whole new issue, but I'd have thought this as well, but I was surprised to learn just how often people seem to say to a PH - 'if so and so happens, you're paying for the animal." I think it speaks to the pressure the PH is under not to piss off a client who may not be acting reasonably. But a sable. That's expensive.

I also was privy to a conversation around a lost waterbuck. The client said my [relative] should not have taken that shot, and you told her to, so it's your fault it was wounded, and we aren't paying for it.

I'm sorry the PH got put into that spot, but I'm glad he felt awful about it, shows his good character.

Regarding the wounded animals and whose fault it is, the one who pulled the trigger ultimately bears responsibility. Having said that, I can see this scenario. I'm certain there are PH's out there who pressure the client to shoot, intentionally or inadvertently, it happens. If you watch any of the hunting shows and long enough, you'll hear the PH/guide at the moment of truth saying "Shoot....shoot....shoot." If this distracts or flusters the hunter and they make a bad shot, well there's a certain amount of blame that I think can be put on the pro. But in the end they didn't pull the trigger, the hunter did.

Unfortunately I think this a scenario more likely to happen with a young and/or new hunter. They're not going to want to blow the opportunity and just kind of get bullied into shooting. Now you've got what may be a former hunter as they'll never want to go again.
 

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Being the hunter you are told up front before you start the safari , if you draw blood that it is considered you pay for the animal. at least that what I have been told before hand.
this hunter has no ethics, he is worried about some BS trophy book. fact the hunter should have taken the gun and put the sable down quick and ethical, not threaten the P.H. He would not have the option to come back and hunt with me again. Forrest
 

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I really feel for a PH in that type of situation never nice to be between a rock and a hard place or a huge bill and a a..hole in this case. Further to the PH probably not being able to afford the animal,in this situation the Sable was wounded,not lost and I am sure that PH was bleeding inside with every drop of blood from that Sable dropping in the dust.I can't see the Outfitter paying for the "loss" on the Sable as it was not unrecoverable. Freelance PH's cannot afford a bad report or hunt no matter how good they are,if the Outfitter has a few complaints from a client about a PH he will replace him, also if the client insists on it. No work,no pay no way to sustain your lifestyle.
I have had the fortune and miss fortune to share a camp with a few hunters and PH's at the same time. The story comming from the client is sometimes so far removed from the story you get from the PH that it would be classed as fiction.
Money buys many things but ethics and character can't be bought off a shelf and neither can integraty and a good reputation.

Hank, I don't know the circumstances around the Waterbuck,but I do know some PH's will ask or push a client to make a 50/50 shot,we all get excited or the pressure to fill a package gets to us durring the closing hours of a Safari. I have seen PH's telling clients to take long range hope and pray shots at unwounded animals a few times,shots I bet not even that PH could make 3 times out of 10.

I have had "the talk" with only two clients in my life and it did not go as badly as it could have. I guess it depends on how you approach the whole problem.
 

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I really feel for a PH in that type of situation never nice to be between a rock and a hard place or a huge bill and a a..hole in this case. Further to the PH probably not being able to afford the animal,in this situation the Sable was wounded,not lost and I am sure that PH was bleeding inside with every drop of blood from that Sable dropping in the dust.I can't see the Outfitter paying for the "loss" on the Sable as it was not unrecoverable. Freelance PH's cannot afford a bad report or hunt no matter how good they are,if the Outfitter has a few complaints from a client about a PH he will replace him, also if the client insists on it. No work,no pay no way to sustain your lifestyle.
I have had the fortune and miss fortune to share a camp with a few hunters and PH's at the same time. The story comming from the client is sometimes so far removed from the story you get from the PH that it would be classed as fiction.
Money buys many things but ethics and character can't be bought off a shelf and neither can integraty and a good reputation.

Hank, I don't know the circumstances around the Waterbuck,but I do know some PH's will ask or push a client to make a 50/50 shot,we all get excited or the pressure to fill a package gets to us durring the closing hours of a Safari. I have seen PH's telling clients to take long range hope and pray shots at unwounded animals a few times,shots I bet not even that PH could make 3 times out of 10.

I have had "the talk" with only two clients in my life and it did not go as badly as it could have. I guess it depends on how you approach the whole problem.

This brings up and interesting situation, in regards to the relationship between outfitter and PH when they're not one in the same. I would have to think that to an extent a PH, at least one that has known and worked for the outfitter in the past, would have a certain reasonable expectation that his outfitter has his back. That he wouldn't leave him hanging out to dry when put into a bad spot with a bum client.
 

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our policy is that its the ph who has the final decision on whether to use their rifle on a bowhunt to finish the animal (and thats written in the conditions), take it or leave it . this policy about not allowing the hunter to put it in the book if finished with a rifle encourages the behaviour hank brought up, as a friend had the same with a client and after a bit of time following the wounded animal he got pissed off and told him to go forth and multiply and shot the animal. i dont think he took any bow hunters after that.......
 

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I agree that to an extent the Outfitter will have a PH's back,especially if he to understands the client is not a nice guy,if he will have it to the extend of the price of a Sable I don't know and hope to never find out. In SA PH's are a dime a dozen these days and competition for clients is harder than ever, what would a business orientated Outfitter do..
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I agree that to an extent the Outfitter will have a PH's back,especially if he to understands the client is not a nice guy,if he will have it to the extend of the price of a Sable I don't know and hope to never find out. In SA PH's are a dime a dozen these days and competition for clients is harder than ever, what would a business orientated Outfitter do..

Touchy situation to be sure.
 

Code4

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This is an example of where the search for inches and 'book entries' stops being hunting. I can't help thinking the final decision was almost economic. Do I give the client what he wants, keep him happy, save the tip, not be bullied by the client into paying for the animal and keep a positive reference for future clients, or do I lose it all.

The client here is at fault for being a wanka, but that doesn't help the PH.
 

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This is one reason why I say a hunter can make a hunt or ruin a hunt just as much as the outfitter or PH. There is no winning for the PH with a client like this.
 

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Tough situation. I have to admit that when guiding quite often the economics can over ride my own ethics. I can accept that some folks have differing views to mine regarding how the hunt is conducted and accept that but I like to think the one not negotiable is the welfare of the animal which I see as a second only to keeping the client safe. For me waiting hours for an animal to die is over the line. I would think I would offer my rifle to the client before using it myself. But then human frailty is a funny thing.
 

Hank2211

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I have had the fortune and miss fortune to share a camp with a few hunters and PH's at the same time. The story comming from the client is sometimes so far removed from the story you get from the PH that it would be classed as fiction.
Money buys many things but ethics and character can't be bought off a shelf and neither can integraty and a good reputation.

I've had the same experience. Been in camps when the hunter has left, and then stories come out about what really went on. Would never know you were talking about the same incidents. I just hope the same has never been said about me.

As for being hypocrite, well, I'd say that's a strong word for people who do their best to do the right thing, but come across circumstances where difficult choices have to be made. It's easy for me to sit back and make the call - I have the money to go to Africa to hunt. Most of the PHs I have met wouldn't be able to afford the hunts I go on, and are just decent guys trying to make a living and support a family in an industry they love but don't always have much control over.

If we were all honest, I think we'd admit that sometimes we've kept our mouths shut against our better judgement when our livelihood was on the line.
 

gi jane

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One of the first things I agreed to (with the PH/Outfitter/Myself) on my adventures is that if I wounded the animal and no recovery, I am the one responsible for the fee regardless.. It was my choice in the end to pull the trigger.
 

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I believe it took Fred Bear three trips to finally get a Polar Bear that did not require the guide (PH) to shoot with a rifle.
Seem sot me the guy lost his ethics, to let an animal suffer for glory's sake.

I agree, you draw blood you pay and the PH is there to protect the hunter and prevent (to the best of his ability) a wounded animal from escaping.

Yes, it's alot of money but you play by the "rules" not only the LAWS but the ETHICS.

Better yet BAM, I'm sorry, what were you sating?????
 

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