Hunting Ethics You Need To Know Before the Game

    Hunting Ethics You Need To Know Before the Game

    Hunting is a practice established in the Stone Age where nomads hunted animals to fulfill their needs of food and clothing. They utilized their harvest by feeding on its meat and using the animal’s skin as a means of clothing. But the centuries that rolled in bought immense development along with it. So much so that Homo sapiens no longer needed to hunt to provide for themselves.

    Eventually the practice of hunting converted into a recreational sport. It is a now a practice carried out by people around the world who have a passion for this sport, trade, trophy hunting, to control pest animals or to hunt animals that are dangerous for the human race.​

    This adventure sport is regulated by laws varying across the globe. Hunting laws in the United states are first governed by the State and then combined with the Federal Law for interstate migrating species and endangered wildlife. For instance, Tennessee states that hunting from an aircraft, water boat or a motor vehicle is illegal unless you’re a person confined to the wheelchair.

    Archers located in the New Hampshire must display their contact details such as name and address on every arrow they shoot. Blind hunting is legal in Texas. Minnesota has a rather specifically restrictive law regarding the sale of gallbladders and paws of a bear unless it is attached to the hide. Coming to California, in Los Angeles, it is illegal to kill moths under a streetlamp.

    Fair Chase

    Fair Chase is a term frequently used in the context of hunting ethics. Sportsmanlike spirit, ethical behavior while on the hunt and lawful conduct are the ingredients for a Fair Chase. Moreover, the hunter should not have an improper and unfair advantage over its prey.

    • You must ask yourself whether the prey has a reasonable opportunity of escaping, whether the practice is respectful towards the animal and lastly, does your practice violate a local or national law. If you answer these questions positively, your harvest is a fair hunt.
    • Preying on tied up, caged or drugged animals are all unethical and immoral practices, thus violating the norms of Fair Chase.
    • Use of illegal digital gadgets to track your prey, spot a herd or to guide a hunter using such devices is an unfair.
    • It is immoral to hunt on closed fenced grounds where all odds favor the hunter.
    • Violating the law while hunting, unlawfully taking the game home or selling parts of animals illegally is strongly disapproved.
    • Do not shoot in low light. You must target your prey in reach and not what lies beyond your target.
    • Use best binoculars for hunting to track/identify your prey. Using the scope on your rifle is not the best thing to do. Pointing a firearm towards something that you might not necessarily hunt is extremely unsafe.
    • Use appropriate weaponry against the animal you plan to hunt.
    • Make the kill clean and quick, for you as well as the prey. Torturing or making the animal die a slow painful death is not the kind of hunt an ethical hunter would opt for.

    Many of these duties are obligatory and not enforced on anyone. Following these practices shall not only make the hunt ethical but also more challenging and experiential.

    Obey All the Laws

    The laws regarding hunting differ from state to state and country to country. The territory you hunt in is primarily governed by the State combined with federal laws. You should be well aware of the local norms. Some countries have international treaties so as not to hunt their native animals, especially in regard to endangered species.

    • Off seasonal hunting opposing to specified local norms
    • Exceeding bag limits
    • Misappropriating tags
    • Killing animals which are to be conserved/not hunted
    • Hunting animals in an illegal manner.
    • Trapping, capturing or smuggling animals.
    • Selling the animal parts or skin illegally.
    • Hunting without a license.

    All these practices are the basic laws around the world. You can get a much detailed plan if you refer to state norms about hunting. Seasonal hunting and which animals can be legally hunted using which ammunitions or weapons are all stated in those laws. You must abide by these norms to ensure a healthy and ethical practice of hunting.

    Don’t Waste the Harvest

    This is in regards to all your hunting quests, especially trophy hunting. Trophy hunting is supported as long as you utilize the harvest to the maximum possibility. As a trophy hunter, you might wish to keep the trophy harvests hanging on your wall. But you also need to finish every remaining bit of its meat. It might be hard to carry a heavy animal across the forest, so you opt to leave some meat on the field which is convenient but unethical. You owe it to your prey to fully optimize its leftovers.

    Weaponry: Which and How?

    Hunting Weapon
    1. The weapon you use for the hunt should not be in contrary to the local norms. After that, the ammunition you choose should be the optimal weapon for the kind of animal and the space you’re hunting in. You need the kill to be clean and quick. A slow painful death of the prey is something you don’t want on your hands.
    2. Learn how to use your weapon. Not only must your weapons be sharp, but also you as a predator. Don’t think of going for hunting with a long-barreled rifle if you can’t shoot properly. It is extremely unsafe.
    3. Shoot at a closer range. Not only does that improve your chances of a better kill, but longer ranges have lesser odds of a successful kill. Even expert hunters have trouble getting a clean shot at longer ranges. So it best to come at a reasonable proximity to your prey and then go for a kill.

    Other Ethical Responsibilities

    • Be kind, courteous, careful and capable as a hunter.
    • Take a course on hunting.
    • Get Licensed.
    • Don’t wound the animal if you’re not going to hunt it.
    • Avoid any form of intoxication before or during the hunt.
    • Get a permit from the landowners and take care of their property.
    • Clean the harvest and store it carefully. Let the meat be enjoyed you and others.
    • Respect the game laws at all times.
    • Report hunting violators/violations.
    • Be careful of how your behavior reflects on non-hunters.


    Hunting is regulated by laws of the State and the country that you’re hunting in. But most hunters would argue that hunting laws are not necessarily in line with moral hunting. But there is no onlooker or witness on the field should you make an unfair kill. So it is your conscience and spirit that enables you to “self-police”. When hunters don’t make an ethical choice on the field, anti-hunters gain more advantage over us. Also, you must remember, what is legal is not necessarily a moral practice.

    Ethical hunting is the medium to sustaining balance between the prey and hunter. Hunting is a practice looked at as an adventure sport by hunters for the thrill and adrenaline rush that it brings. Every experience on a hunting trip is different than the other. Some days you might go home without a harvest, and if anything, it only adds to your experience.

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