View Full Version : Hunting ethics...changing with the times?

November 27, 2002, 10:54 PM
I haven't been very active on this forum for a while, but I just thought I would throw this out as food for thought. Long post so be warned.

One of the guys that I shoot USPSA with is a game warden here in central Wyoming. On the way to a match he mentioned that he was really discouraged with how hunter ethics have changed through the years. He mentioned that he hadn't witnessed a decent and humane kill the entire opening day of antelope season. He cited the competitive attitude of hunters and the notion that killing the critter was the driving reason for hunting, regardless of the means. He continued by addressing the issue of new shooters who are buying long range rifles but can't make the shot, hunters taking risky and low per centage shots like a head poking over a ridge, a running critter going away, flock shooting at an entire herd, and so on. I have witnessed an increase in this type of behavior myself through the decades.

In the past year, I have heard similar concerns from owners of sporting goods stores. One store owner told me that he sells more cross bows the week before the season than any other time of the year. He also told me stories of bore sighting rifles the night before opening day so hunters could go a field the next morning. Another friend of mine told me that he sells more .300 magnums (300 Win Mag, .300 Ultra Mag, etc.) to new hunters than .270, .308, and 30-06 combined.

Well Saturday I was watching a hunting show on television and it occured to me that some of the things us older hunters consider questionable are now totally appropriate. In one scene an elk was running toward the hunter and guide, kind of quartering in. The hunter then shoots the elk right through the guts and flank, off hand. Said elk then jumps a fence and runs across a road. As the elk is staggering around in tight circles trying to stay on his feet, the hunter slams him through both front shoulders by shooting across the freaking road. Nethier the guide nor the hunter were wearing the required blaze orange clothing. They removed the orange cap during the mighty stalk.

In the next scene the guys are hunting elk in a high fenced area, read "game farm". The elk wander around like pet milk cows. The hunter and guide walk up to a bedded down elk that is looking over his shoulder right at them. The elk could care less about their presence. The hunter makes no effort to circle around the critter nor does he give the animal a chance to stand up. Instead, he shoots the animal right through the guts. The elk stands up on wobbling legs and nimrod makes another horse crap shot.

I am sorry to vent and I don't mean to create a storm, but why is this stuff being portrayed as normal and appropriate on television. Am I way off base here or what?

Art Eatman
November 28, 2002, 12:13 AM
As far as the TV stuff, that sounds more like an anti-hunting program than what I've ever seen on such as Outdoor Life channel or ESPN.

The lack of eithics? The easy answer, of course, is to blame it on the attitudes engendered during the last decade. Some of it, I guess, comes from the idea that Success Is All.

Some of it, I think, comes from "never hunted before" guys watching a hunting show on TV and deciding that would be a neat thing to do. They have plenty of money and run out and buy whatever the gunstore guy tells them.

They've never had Grampaw or an uncle raise them on hunting morality and ethics; even shooting is "Buy a gun and Bang!" stuff.

Yeah, I can believe your game warden...


Ron L
November 28, 2002, 12:42 AM
I haven't experienced what you're describing with the elk hunting, which, the way you're describing it, isnt' "hunting" at all. These risky shots could be partially a result in equipment bravado. I'll explain it this way, guy walks into a gun store looking for a decent hunting rifle. He may have even hunted before, but for the sake of arguement, he's either inexperienced or has limited experience. Said gun counter comando sells him a 300 Mag telling him that this gun'll tear anything up and put it down in its tracks. Guy goes out with too much confidence in his equipment and takes wing shots and trusts the mighty magnum to do its deed. He gut-shoots an elk or deer and eventually tracks it and finds it dead. Hell, the gun did its job, didn't it? :rolleyes: This squid doesn't realize that a good hunter with a steady hand could have humanely downed the same animal with much less gun.

Sure we've got slob hunters here in Michigan, but I see plenty of shotgun hunting, muzzle loading, and rifle hunting by people with practical equipment. Tons of 12 gauge, 308, 30-06, 270, the ubiquitious 30-30 with a smattering of other things like the 243, 300 mag, 7mm mag, and the ocassional handgun thrown in. There are others, but you get the point. In the areas I've hunted, I couldn't take a wing shot at a running deer if I wanted to with the number of trees around. Some people might. I've heard some of the "spray and pray" crowd during rifle season. My son and I just look at each other and roll our eyes. My son has seen me start to shoulder the gun many times without taking a shot and understands why.

I'd agree with Art that one of the issues is Success by any means. People use that huge grey area where they think the end justifies the means. For us (me and those who share camp), it's not just "the hunt". It's the time at the range preparing for the field test. It's the scouting and the general love of the outdoors. I've been seriously hunting deer for 4 years and haven't gotten one yet. Haven't seen that many but wouldn't or couldn't take a shot at the ones I have. I've had one miss (thank you Murphy :mad: ). But I can honestly say that out of 4 years without putting venison in the freezer, I've never had a bad season and I've enjoyed each outing.

Could trophy versus meat make a difference? Not sure, but I've found that people who hunt to supplement their food stores are much more serious "sportsmen" than some who'll do anything to put a rack on their wall.

Sorry so long-winded.

November 28, 2002, 12:47 AM
Ankeny -- I don't think you're off base at all. I think hunters should be given -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- by their hunting party if they do a gut shot. It seems that these days I hear a lot more shots at one time -- Blam! Blam! Blam! ... Blam! Blam! -- and I see a lot more hunters trudging around looking for wounded deer than I remember while growing up. They sure seem to give up early. I was raised to get out the flashlight, and plan spend the rest of your hunting time looking for your deer if you can't find it right away -- even if it gets too warm, at least you learn what you did wrong. Lots of folks don't seem to care. I guess they were never hungry in their lives.

I'm pretty proud of the fact that I have fired 6 shots at 5 harvested deer. The only reason I have an extra shot is that I had a chance at an easy head shot to put one out of its misery faster.

I think the issue with hunting with a bore sighted gun has a lot to do with the lack of places to shoot. Maybe some of these guys don't even realize they need to sight in a gun? Actually, my last few scope mounts have been bore sighted very well.

The bottom line is we need to get more people out there shooting and also focus on basic responsibility. I think these two things are intertwined -- shooting a high powered rifle teaches you responsibility (unless you're an idiot -- and there's always idiots that make the rest of us look bad).

November 28, 2002, 07:35 AM
I run a ranch(45,000 acres) in SE Wyoming. I grew up hunting, and supported the hunting crowd with a vengance.

But over the years I too have seen the degradation of the ethics of the hunters.

Due to ranch operations (cows needing a safe place to eat) I often closed certain segments to hunting.

The day I caught a guy using the NO HUNTING sign for a rest the day before the season opened and the annual disappearance of at least two head of beef, was the last straw.

I closed the entire ranch and my family also closed 3 other ranches..A total loss of 300 square miles of hunting area to the public.

It is now limited to guided(chaparoned) hunts..

I hate it, but there comes a time when you have just had enough..

November 28, 2002, 09:52 AM
It would seem that the ethics of hunters have degraded along with the rest of societies as well.

I'm very particular about who i hunt with, normally i hunt alone. Hunting to me, is a private thing, to be alone and with nature. Killing is secondary to what i see as getting back to our anceint roots.

The folks i hunt with must hold similiar views about the outdoors. As i've gotten older my views have changed about sport hunting. People who "slob" hunt ruin the views of landowners for all the other hunters who abide by hunting laws. Just drive around, and see all the road signs with bullet holes in them is proof enough the idiots abound. Put a gun in some peoples hands [its like driving a golf cart] and they do stuiped things that they otherwise would never do.

This is most of the reason i don't hunt till after December 1st. The cold weather weeds out most of the morons who otherwise come out on opening weekend.

Rant mode off...... :confused:


November 28, 2002, 10:06 AM
My hunting career began 23 years ago, as an adult, and it mostly involved hunting public lands (national forest, WMA’s) or huge lumber company tracts in North Louisiana that were not legally posted by the timber companies (for fear that the slobs would burn down their woods in retaliation). I have never been on a guided hunt. I have always seen a lot of slobs in the field. I was surprised when I moved to SE Wyoming in 1996 that there were almost as many slobs in Wyoming woods during hunting season as I had seen in Louisiana. This year, the opening day of WY deer season in my area was either sex, and it reminded me of my earlier days in Louisiana on a “doe” (either sex) day, especially a doe day on the opening day of “dog season” (when you can chase deer with dogs). It was the first time I was glad that my family wasn’t out there with me! Trucks, ATV’s, scared deer, hunters, shots fired, EVERYWHERE, road hunting at dawn and dusk. (By the following day, the woods were near empty!) So, during my short Wyoming tenure, I haven’t seen the changes that a Wyoming based rancher or game warden has seen, but I understand and believe what you folks are saying from your personal perspectives and timelines.

I also see an equipment race, but I don’t see how it has changed that much since I started. I started just before the first ATV’s were introduced, and everyone just used their 4 wheel drive the way that people use ATV’s today. There were 7 mags and 300 mags out there back then, and a huge whitetail was still under 200 pounds.

As for hunting shows, it’s like watching COPS. You don’t know what’s going on off- camera, and you may not know the law. In some places, you don’t need to wear orange to hunt on private land. The road may be a private road with controlled access, nobody else is on the property, and there is a view for miles in both directions. It looks bad from the narrow perspective of a camera, but may not be illegal or unethical. A fenced game farm, well, that’s a completely different story under any circumstances. But I can see how hunting shows can falsely raise expectations, because I have never seen animals in heavy pressure areas that are the size of the ones they kill every week on camera at some private game farm. But, like everything on TV, getting hunting advice from a hunting show is like getting legal advice from a cop or lawyer show.

I get very frustrated at all the slobs. My family and I spend a lot of weekends in the summer, camping and tooling around the woods. There are times that it’s like we have a private 1 million acre playground. But any scouting that we do has to factor in what the animals are going to do when the invading hordes show up the day before the season opens and drive vehicles everywhere.

The only way I see to cut back on the slobs is to cut down on places where people can drive. They should shut down a lot of the 2 track roads that have been made over 50 years of people driving anywhere their vehicle could take them. I do believe that there should be adequate access into and across the interior of a large forest, but then it should stop. Once everyone has to get out and walk, there won’t be as many slobs. (Reasonable accommodations should be made for the handicapped.) I meet the nicest people when I walk into a wilderness area. One backpack hunter this year even gave me a tip, and I saw a bull elk using his information, within a mile of the campground. (I had a cow tag.) In return, I gave a guy and his son a tip on the herd of deer I had seen the day before, right up the hill from the campground. (They had deer tags.)

Sorry if I bored anyone.

November 28, 2002, 10:35 AM
I could write a book about this topic. Here in PA we have the same thing going on. To most hunters its not about the hunt anymore.

I didn't get a deer this archery season while hunting with my longbow, but it was the best archery season to date for me due to close encounters with big bucks and mature doe.

Seems like now a days the harvest is much more important than the hunt itself. A shame indeed. I believe most hunters have lost sight of what hunting is really all about and the Outdoor publications and Television is doing us no justice because that way of thinking is portrayed over and over again and most guys are buying into it.


November 28, 2002, 11:54 AM
This year we closed our land for the first time. I spent the first 2 days of the rifle season fixing gates and barbed wire, AND 1 WHOLE NIGHT ROUNDING UP 30 HEAD OF CATTLE THAT SOMEONE DROVE OUT OF THE PASTURE!!!!!
All told our family and one neighbor have about 4800-5000acres (large by eastern terms) of prime mountain hunting area. We run from 80-100 head of cattle, a hobby by your terms,lol, mainly for family freezers and to keep the reclaimed strip mines from growing wild. This year 3 weeks after replacing 8 gates and 1/2 mile of fence the slobs started by tying our gates open, we didn't even lock them, just stuck the chain in the hook. After the cattle got driven out, we put locks on the gates and gave everyone with land and those with permission to hunt their own key.
Opening morning we had 2 gates pulled down, 3 locks shot off and 2 fences cut. My brother spent the rest of the day reposting over 40 signs.
The next morning I watched 3 guys on 4 wheelers cut the lock on a gate in broad daylight. SOOOO, I went to the barn hooked a trailer to my 4x4 and went and found 2 of the 4 wheelers, loaded them up and drove them to the sherriffs impound lot. It being Sunday and no one around I UNLOADED THEM RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE GATE AND DROVE AWAY!
The day after season my son- in- law found 4 deer, 3 does 1 small buck all with small caliber wounds to the head or neck. Just left to rot or feed the crows.
We have contacted the county prosecuter and he has promised to force the police to arrest the offenders when we catch them on our land and that he will try them for criminal trespass (a felony) instead of simple trespass(a misdemeaner, $50.00 fine)

November 28, 2002, 12:13 PM
Yup, I hear you.

Every rancher out here can tell stories just like yours..

Like 14 deer killed in a bunch beside the road all with 223 bullets and left there to rot..
That takes firepower.

That may not of been a licensed hunter, but it doesn't take many of those incidents to spoil it for everyone.

That is also the reason I have carried an AR-180 in my pickup and a 1911 in my britches for the last 20 years.

I'm the only law out there. The Sheriffs office can't find us and the Game Warden overwhelmed..

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
November 28, 2002, 06:30 PM
Good thread, Ankeny...

My family had 2 sections up on the Red River outside Paris, Tx. The family, all my cousins, uncles, and guests (accompanied, of course) has hunted it for probably 70 years without incident; shortly before we sold it. On one of my last hunts I was on the receiving end of 2 shots by a party of 3 who were obviously geographically challenged, the fenceline being about a quarter mile back behind them as I was walking a treeline on the west side of a pasture at midday. Neither shot was particularly close to me, fortunately, but you bet there were a bunch of us who had a VERY long talk with these (inebriated) city boys who thought they were in Oklahoma....

Another time I was quail hunting out in the general vicinity of Art's place near Terlingua (hi Art) when other hunters, attached as hangers-on to my party, managed to pepper me with 7 1/2's from about 80 yards while shooting over me at 90 degrees from the direction we were moving. I was sure glad I was wearing a down parka that day, but I never went back out the rest of the trip because of that and distanced myself greatly from the ones who though 'bag limits' were set by the number of birds you could fit in a cooler.


November 28, 2002, 07:19 PM
FWIW, the hunter ed. home study completion course that I have taught for several years includes a mandatory minimum of one hour on the subject of "ethics".

About three years ago, I had a phone call from a Dad who was upset that state law required his sons (14 and 16) to take a hunter education course. One of his comments was, "I don't see why we should have to TAKE the class. ****, me and the boys could TEACH the class."

When out on the hunter skills trail, the Dad let it be known to everyone else in the class of about 10 students that they each had 300 Win Mags and their claim to fame was 600 yard shots on deer on their south Texas lease.

In addition to a life size deer at the particular training station, there was an adjacent 8" paper plate, the plate being a suggestion for a target representative of the vital hit zone on a deer. When I asked the Dad if he could consistently hit a paper plate from 600 yards with his 300 Win Mag, the answer was "I might not hit the plate, but I could hit the deer - somewhere. " My immediate question: "Would you like to explain how you consider THAT ethical?" From the immediate reaction by several of the other students to his answer :barf: :barf: :barf: , both of his sons were clearly embarassed.

Shortly after completion of the skills course, I popped in a videotape that included some audio to the effect of "... are known as SLOB HUNTERS, who make the rest of us shake our head in disgust."

The man's teenagers got their certification card - but I don't think will be asking Dad to volunteer as a hunter ed. instructor any time soon ... :)

November 29, 2002, 07:09 AM
First of all, I think some of you guys need to stop apologizing for the long posts. This is one of the better threads I've read in a while and all posts have been good reading.
This was my first year hunting so I can't really comment too much on this subject . However, I will try to do so anyway. I've always been one to think that you should eat what you kill and that hunting for trophies alone is a rotten thing to do. I've also thought that you should use enough gun(I love that phrase) and wait for good shots. Maybe people do expect some of these magnum cartridges to drop a deer on the spot every time. I don't know how else to explain why a guy would should a deer in the ass. Unless he's just a total bunghole. Speaking of these magnums, I think sometimes you should give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I bought my Sendero in 7STW long before I ever planned on hunting so when I got the opportunity to go up to Maine, it was that or my .223. So there I was with this 10 lb. cannon that stood a good 6 inches over everybody else's 30-06s. All I heard that week was, "Damn, that's some heavy medecine for a 100lb deer." I consider myself a shooter rather than a hunter and I like to shoot that rifle. Maybe some of these other guys are the same way. I doubt it, but you never know.

November 29, 2002, 08:01 AM
As far as I am concerned about rifle choice, it's kinda like the wimmen say..
" It ain't the size of yure cannon, it's how ya use it!... :D

November 29, 2002, 09:11 AM
Its the same way here in the Old Dominion. "Hunterrs" openly Brag about the number of deer taken with a .223, .22-250 etc. Here, both are illegal to use on deer. The point is "Did you get Your deer?" Not, did you ethically get your deer? You can blame a lot on some of the newer Hunting Videos, on both the OLN and the Outdoor channel. The point is always getting the animal, and some videos are not adverse to showing the unethical, unsportsman manner in which to do it.
This hasn't just started. I recall writing a letter to Outdoor Life Magazine, about 15 years ago about a "big name bowhunter" who openly bragged about taking a 60 yd. going away(read A.. End) shot at a Big deer. Of course, now this bowhunter has all of the record book animals, and the same set of gleaming teeth.
Is there any hope? probably not. Its just the "me Generagtion" come of age and starting to hunt.:(

November 29, 2002, 09:49 AM
Seems like a lot of people are focusing the caliber as an indicator of a hunters experience level and/or ethics. Seems to me the problem with ethics is in the man, not the gun.

People that weren't taught as a child have to learn a lot on their own. And they owe it to the animal to learn as much as they can before they begin shooting. Having said that, there are lots of people who were taught by dads, uncles, and grandaddies, that are terrible hunters, poachers etc.

I took two grown men out this week, and each killed their first deer. After working with the weapons, learning shot placement, and some basic hunting skills, they both took a deer with one shot, both actually dropped in their tracks (mine ran 60 yards after being shot through both lungs, didn't even touch the shoulder meat :) ). One was shooting a 300 WSM, the other a 7MM Rem Mag. Both shots were taken under 30 yards. The reasons for caliber selection are several and varied and not the point of this thread, so I won't ramble in that direction. Here are two examples of new hunters, using magnum cartridges, killing deer cleanly.

I know that nobody means to say unethical hunters use xyz caliber but it was beginning to sound that way on a few posts.
Ethics is in the man...not the gun.

Art Eatman
November 29, 2002, 11:05 AM
"Ethics is how you behave when nobody's looking. Conscience is how you feel, later."

Funny thing is, you don't even have to start out being honest and ethical. If you place a high priority on getting along with other people, having peace and harmony and respect within your household and your community, your behavior must be ethical and honest in order to gain that respect.

After a while, it just becomes a habit. :)

Iggy, holler at me next year. I truly enjoy playing "Gate Guard". :)


November 29, 2002, 11:58 AM

I agree that there seems to be a different ethic today among hunters. Sadly, I find that not only is civility dead in America, so is sportsmanship.

I do not see much of the joy just being out in the woods anymore. Today's hunters seem more interested in their accouterments, and in having the latest "Master Blaster of the Week" than in learning any woods craft, or tracking skills. Brand name Camo patterns, and premium bullets are seen as the solution to not knowing squat about the animals, their habitat, or behavior. Talk at the gun counter is now about bullet speed, not about learning about the game or hunting.

Sad, but then thats the way I see it.

I will not hunt with these morons.

November 29, 2002, 12:39 PM
The way I see it a slob hunter is a slob hunter no matter what he uses.

I know ethitcal hunters that use 300 Wby Mags that will never get a shot over 100 yards.

I know of some slobs that swear by a 30-30 no matter the range.

Don't call a man a slob for using the latest equipment that comes out. That has nothing to do what is in the man himself.

I also know of some that one may call a slob because now and then they "put a lil meat in the freezer" but are some of the most ethical men I know. One got in a fist fight because he caught another hunter killing 3 does and walking away leaving them to rot. By the way the man was 70 years old and the one killing the does was in his 40's. Age dont seem to have much to do with it either.

November 29, 2002, 10:41 PM
First off let me say this is a great thread very much enjoyed reading it.

I am a relitivly new hunter I have gotten a hunting license every year for the past 7yrs or so. I only hunted the first year I got my license and this year.

My hunters saftey course from what I remeber didn't really talk about ethics or anything like that. The only thing that was really good about the class and what stuck with me was when they set up dummies dressed in various types of hunting gear and had you walk around to diffrent stations and you had to decide quickly to shoot or not to shoot. I think everyone in the class would have potentialy killed a dummy hidin in the bush.

I have never taken a deer I have seen many and made taken what I would consider 5 unethical shots. All 5 were at the same running deer. This happend my first season. I went out hunting with one of my best friends who just got back from recruit training at Paris Island and his step father. The step father insisted I shoot at anything I saw. I knew better but I saw a running doe at about 100 yrds and I unloaded on her with my 12 gauge. I am ashamed I did it but it happend. We looked all over and thank god there was no blood or hair or anything all I did was scare the crap out of the poor deer. Needless to say that was the last time I went out till this year. When I told my father what had happend he scolded me for shooting at that doe. I deserved to have my butt chewed.

This year I went out and bought myself some nice gear. Nothing fancy but nice stuff. A Mossie 12 gauge with rifled barrel and a reddot scope. And clothes and boots to keep me warm. And after every time I went out I went back and bought more clothes to keep me warm. Spent a crapload of money and I still get cold LOL.

But I have not taken what I would consider or what my father would consider an unethical shot. My old man is a one shot one deer kinda guy. I did however wound a doe this year. And it sucked. I still feel bad about it. The shot was no more then 20 yrds at a deer that was slowly troting in broadside of me. Not really for sure how the heck I didn't drop it clean. I am a decent shot. And surly good enough to hit the kill zone at 20yrds. But I didn't this time. We tracked the deer for a while heard a single shot in the distance. Tracked somemore came upon the guy who had shot the round we heard. He said he shot at a wounded doe and missed. And that it ran up into someones yard and pointed to the house. Told us not to go up there looking cause that guy was misserable and would call the cops. Now I have this problem he said he shot at it from were he was standing witch was about 40 yrds from this house. What was he doing shooting that close to this house, and he was close enough to the deer to tell me excatly were my shot hit it. Started to think he killed the wounded deer and didn't want to agure about whose it was. Stupid he took the deer it is his nothing to agure about in my book. And I really hope this is the case.

But I am learning still and doing my best with some guidence as to how to do things right. Just two days ago I decieded to go out hunting and was late missed my old man and my step brother. So I went out on my own. I ran into my step brother in the woods he told me he didn't see anything and he was going to go somewhere else but told me were to go if I wanted a decent chance of seeing something. So I started on my way and then it started snowing and all of a sudden I was just amazed at the beuety(pardon spelling) of nature I was in. I decieded that I didn't really give a crap if I saw a deer or not and just wanted to walk around and check out how awsome it was being in the woods and watching the world go by.

And by the way I am still not sure why I wounded the doe but I think when I was cleaning my gun the next day and the scope fell off might be a contrubiting factor. Sorry for the unorgunized book I just wrote guys.

November 30, 2002, 11:10 AM
There's nothing wrong with using good equipment or hunting to fill your freezer as long as it's done within the bounds of the law.

All the negitive experiances that folks alluded too on this thread, show the need for hunter saftey programs.


November 30, 2002, 11:36 AM
thats the same here.I know alot of ppl in my area that hunt,deer,elk mostlyand it seems when i see these guys getting ready or talkin about it one thing they never do is go to the range or out in the whops and practice.Instead the go purchase one of these super magnums and expect that if they see a animal all they have to do is put the crosshairs on it and pull the trigger and the bullet will do the rest.Well I dont know but I am sure that a deer cant tell if hes been hit by a 243 or a 300 ultra mag so if he knew would he drop faster with the ultramag or the 243.? lol ive hunted with a 300 win and a 7mm stw and I hunt now with a 308. win and I havemade 4 one shot kills with it, and I give all my friends and ppl I know crap about know your rifle.Im only 33 but I got my ethics from my father and my grandfather I believe alot of people come into the sport on their own and have to FIND their own ethics Im only scared by the time this ahppens it will be too late. SEMPER FI brothers

December 1, 2002, 12:20 PM
There have always been "slob hunters", and probably always will be, but, the majority of hunters that I meet, in the woods, are good, decent fellas who are out enjoying the great outdoors. That being said, I will agree that the "ethics" of all hunters, as a group, has slid a notch or two over the last 30 years that I've been hunting. I think it can be attributed to two things: access to land and "the equipment race".

The number of hunting licenses sold has declined, but not as much as available hunting land has deminished. More hunters per acre, means more competion, and more competion leads to behavior that probably wouldn't have surfaced otherwise. This begets angry land-owners, and more "posted" land. It's an accelerating downward spiral. What a shame, because there are now more deer (for example) than ever before, to go around.

Almost everybody wants new gadgets. The less time you have to hunt, the more gadgets you need, right? Gotta keep up with the "competition", right? I guess I drew my own "line in the sand" about the time they brought out GPS (Global Positioning System). Do you really need 12 satelites, IN OUTER SPACE !!!, to help you get your game?!?!?! And don't get me started on "game feeders" and "in-line" muzzleloaders!!!

Hunting is an anachronism.
We do it to remain connected to the natural side of the world.
We do it to remain connected to our ancestors and to our kids.
As a group, hunters need to withdraw from the competition and emphasize the "hunt" in hunting. You just might find something.


Keith Rogan
December 1, 2002, 01:52 PM
I think Blue Ridge Dave hit the nail on the head here. The common factor is access to good hunting land, or lack of. Another factor is simple time. People don't have the time to make a leisurely two week hunt during season any more. Another form of "access".

These factors turn hunting from a way of life into a competitive "sport". I don't think hunting is a sport, do you?

I will point out that I see very few of the type of shenanigans you guys describe up here in Alaska. It happens I'm sure, but for the most part people have access to plenty of good hunting land along with long seasons so, there's simply no pressure to "get it while you can". The worst I ever saw was in Colorado in the mid 80's - short seasons, bucks only, 3 point minimum... bad scene!

I think most hunters are ethical. I think the squeeze of poor access to land and not much time to hunt push some people to be slobs. I don't know what the solution is.

December 5, 2002, 03:18 PM
Great post;) I'm old school and was taught bye my father, I have seen a lot of crazy things in my life hunting in the field, I can't get over these ATVs riding all over the woods like they are at disneyland now a days, while us hunters are trying to hunt from our stands and still stalk trails,this was unheard of back even 10 years ago, I don't get it, I am 40 years old and have no problem still stalking to my stand and will till I can't anymore, I don't mind if you shoot a deer and need to get it out with the ATV or drive it to where your hunting area is and park it, but this driving all over the woods is crazy and not ethical at all, you can't hunt from it or have a loaded rifle on it, I call them road hunters;)I understand there is situations that you need a ATV to get to the area your hunting due to the distance is to far to walk, I was taught if you where still stalking and came across another hunter at his stand to wave to make the hunter aware of me and continue away from the hunter to have his own space, there is plenty of woods to hunt, not to have to take a stand right next to the other hunter, I have seen this many times, I have seen people pushing into each other and shooting at deer on the hoof not being certain what is behind the deer, this is also not ethical or safe, I have also seen hunters drinking beer in the field, I could not believe my eye's, I was in my tree stand a few hunters pushed through a small area, one had a backpack and pulled out a sixpack and handed them out to the other hunters, I thought to my self this is crazy, I have notice litter in the field, like candy wrappers etc...left on the ground, this is terrible, I pick it up and put in my pocket to throw away even though its not mine, we need to preserve our lands, this is some reasons why people post there lands, This is what takes away from the good ethical hunters that play it bye the rules. Don't get me wrong I have met and hunted with many good ethical hunters in my life as well, to bad we could not weed out the bad ones,Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

December 6, 2002, 04:11 PM
Can I use that line in my next HE Class? That's a great one! I'm in the middle of one now, and if you don't mind, I'll use it frequently.

Great thread - lots of food for thought for my class.


Art Eatman
December 6, 2002, 06:13 PM
The phrasing might well be "just Art's", but the concept has been around a long, long time. Always feel free to use any line I happen to pop off with, if it's of interest. Attribution on the order of, "An old hunter said..."

:), Art

December 9, 2002, 12:19 PM
I thought I would add a few observations.
First, in Texas it is always a felony to trespass with a firearm. Doesn't always seem to help and a lot of people are very surprised to have their weapon confiscated and to not be allowed to legally own a firearm EVER again. Yet some slobs STILL risk it. If someone is so unconcerned about consequencees to risk losing their right to bear arms, they certainly wouldn't have any trouble with unethically hunting.

Second, just saw a large doe taken this weekend. 100-120 yard shot, 30-06 150gr. Good heart/lung shot. Knocked the doe back about three feet and splattered red stuff for about twenty feet back. This was a big doe (it took two of us to pull her up over a pulley) and we both thought that it was too much gun. Still can't imagine one of them big mags on a hill country deer.

BTW, the guy who shot this doe did it because he said she was old. I was skeptical of his claim that he could tell at first light at 100yds that this was an old doe. But when we got to her and checked her teeth she only had two front lower teeth left. I'll never doubt his call again. I find that to be highly ethical. He took the shot that most wouldn't (we have a high buck to doe ratio in our neck of the woods) and saved that doe from starving to death.


Smokey Joe
December 10, 2002, 05:01 AM
Boy, from all these replies it's clear that the inhabitants of TFL, at least, deplore the slob hunter and do what they can to eliminate him. In my state, the year we required all new licensees to pass a hunter safety course, the graph for hunting accidents fell off the table,so to speak. The course includes a section on ethics, also. I hope it helps. I think it does, but that's harder to demonstrate than the accident rate.

Depends on the instructor, I guess, and whether that's a state-certified instructor, Uncle, Grandpa, or your old man, doesn't matter. As the twig is bent...

Try to keep it positive when dealing with strangers you encounter in the field. If they're behaving like idiots they need to be told, but they have to be sold, not yelled at or scolded. (Obviously if they're drunk or dangerously trespassing, etc, you can't use a light hand, but you won't make any friends, either. That's a no-win situation.)

We who love hunting and the outdoor life will only keep it by generously sharing it at every opportunity. That bore-sighted slob hunter just might turn into a decent stalker and tracker someday, but only if someoneÑyou, maybe?Ñmakes the effort to show him what he's missing.

And help the guys at the rangeÑThey're generally grateful for helpful advice, respectfully and knowledgeably given.

Art Eatman
December 10, 2002, 10:55 AM
Rotten apples and barrels. I imagine that the vast majority of all hunters deplore the slobs. Problem is, a few slobs go a long way...

I think one facet of the problem is ignorance. Just as a lot of folks, today, weren't raised to understand courtesy and politeness, so are many unaware of hunting ethics.

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh was commenting about some guy who's making a ton of money teaching NFL draftees how to dress and act at business interviews with team officials. His question--and mine--is, "How is it they don't know how to dress or act?" Where were their parents? Why did this never enter their conciousness in elementary school?


December 10, 2002, 05:39 PM
This topic reminds me a lot of the phrase:

"You don't see anymore the same four seasons we used to have in the good old days"....

And as in the case of this saying, there is a lot of truth in it - or is there?

Instinctively, I would have to agree that yes, today's hunting ethics would have to be slipping down, along the same slope as our morals as a society.
But when I really think about it, I also know that today there is quite a bit more of a conscious effort by "good" hunters to conserve wild habitats, to manage game more efficiently and to pick cartridges that are suitable for the quarry.

So, to me, the question is: is the "conscious effort" made by good hunters enough to offset the sloppier behavior of some?


As a hunter (or a living human being, for that matter) I haven't been around long enough to have witnessed any trends first-hand. The "good old days" that I can remember as a budding hunter are not any further away than a quarter century. So I'll defer to men of better vintage than me (such as Art ;) ) to answer the question of whether times have indeed deteriorated.

As a devotee of early 20-C. hunting literature, I can't help but notice that the writers and sportsmen of yore had no compunction about letting us know about behaviors that our writers today would definitely be ashamed of admitting.

This includes losing game, firing wildly with open-sighted rifles at game several hundred yards off (read Roosevelt's African Game Trails!), using inadequately-light rifles against large game, killing large quantities of one species regardless of rarity, etc.

Also, today our youth is initiated to hunting through formal classes designed to instill ethics and safety in the new generations. This standardized training was not in place until a few years ago, and back then we had to rely on the spirit of sportsmanship of the individual "mentors". I see this too as a step in the right direction.

All in all, I think that the collective conscience of "real" hunters is better today than it ever was. Sloppy behavior enrages me, but at least I am happy to see that the sane side of conservationism has gone a long way to ensure that the environment in which we hunt will be there 50 years from now.

December 10, 2002, 07:26 PM
Nannuk -

"First, in Texas it is always a felony to trespass with a firearm."

PMed ya about this one yesterday, friend, and have not heard back from, so gonna go ahead and comment here.

Criminal trespass in Texas is a Class B misdeameanor. When a firearm is present, it can kick it up to a Class A. Some other circumstances might generate a felony charge, but not simply what ya stated above. Either a Class A or B misdeameanor though can make it a very long wait for anyone wanting to get a Texas CHL ... If a felony anytime, anywhere, forget it. :eek:

Art Eatman
December 10, 2002, 07:34 PM
Up until the very early 1900s, in many areas game was regaded as limitless. (Resembles the view of the oceans, until the 1960s/1970s.) Market shooting in Chesapeake Bay, for instance, with monster-sized shotguns, with the ducks and geese sold to hotels. Same for Passenger Pigeons, with nets and sticks used at night to harvest. Or the official U.S. Government policy against the bison.

At any rate, the average person doesn't pay much attention to conserving that which appears limitless. Sort of like payday party-people: "My round; I got plenty money!"

"Suddenly" there were few deer or wild turkey. Hunters were the first to call for limits and seasons. Then, such things as the Dingell/Johnson and Pittman/Robinson taxes on sporting equipment to fund wildlife study/restoration efforts. We've had the rise of such as Ducks Unlimited.

While there have always been "fair chase" folks around, the idea became stronger with the efforts at restoration of game species. It became codified into law or regulation, including "don't hunt from a vehicle", etc.

The wheel turns. In many areas deer are regarded as rats with hooves. Too many geese...Not everywhere, of course, but some places.

But there have been rational, credible studies of people's behavior around the U.S., and there appears to be a lessening of ethics and politeness/courtesy. I note that in general it is mostly within the larger cities; IMO it's tied to the frustrations of modern life and the hassles of dealing with large crowds.


December 13, 2002, 12:49 PM
Greybeard--Sorry, I was out of town for a few days. Just got your PM today.
I did error in my statement. Trespassing with a firearm is an automatic Class A. Poaching on the other hand is a felony. Not sure if that applies to "attempted" poaching (ie not actually having felled anything, but tresspassing with intent to poach). Texas land owners pushed for the law about a dozen years ago thinking that it would cut down on tresspassers. Did not have desired effect. Another instance of only the lawful follow laws.

Oncec again, sorry for the misstatement.


December 14, 2002, 06:26 PM
The hunting shows are the worst. I recently watched one where bow hunters were hunting over a tripod feeder. The deer were milling around like cattle. I was throughly disgusted.

The folks who use the long range rifles also get me. They may be great shots, but taking a deer or whatever at 300 yards ain't huntin' to me.

We're restricted to using shotguns (for deer) here in NYS. I often see the guys with the semiautos shoot at a deer 5 times. The first one goes "sort of" toward the deer the next 4 are up in the air. They are so worried about the second thru fifth shots that they forget about the first. The philosophy seems to be "empty the gun".

The sportsman's challenge - 1 shot 1 kill.

August 9, 2004, 09:09 PM
I'm sorry to say I saw a lot of this behaviour 25 years ago in Alberta, so maybe not as much has changed as we fear.
Best cure even then was to get wayyyy out there, as in drive a couple days away from any kind of city, then hike in a good bit. There you would find peace and quiet and good hunting.
Then, as now, "The Slobs" aren't too big on hiking.

August 10, 2004, 01:25 PM
I agree with everyone else, this is a great post, as far as it helps to get this stuff off our chest. But, it is also turning into a depressing thread.

A few years ago, Washington shifted from a Hunters Safety Class, to a Hunters Education Class, that my wife just attended. One whole three hour class went to discuss ethics. Things like...would you take a shot the last day of the season that you wouldn't take at the beggining of the season. The only thing my wife came home saying that I didn't agree with was that the instructors were putting out that Coyote hunting is Unethical, because you most people aren't going to eat them. I'm not sure I agree with that.

It's gotten so that opening day of Elk season around here sounds like WWIII. And, more than once, after missing, I have heard with my own ears: 'Well, I thought I saw something'
:mad: :mad:

It's one reason my buddy shifted to muzzle loader season.

Toren does have a point. I work with some folks who probably fit into the 'Slob Hunter' catagory. The kind that stop hunting to shoot at street signs with their pistols, and if there is an Elk more than 100 yards off a road, it is safe from them...

And, like BlueRidgeDave said, lack of access just makes it worse for those of us that consider ourselves 'good' hunters. It's one reason I'm starting to look for land for sale in Eastern Washington.

So...now that we all agree a problem exists...what is there we can do about it?


August 11, 2004, 04:54 PM
when shooting small game I always aim for the head, if I screw up on the wind then the shot will either be a clean kill or a clean miss, yea it's a very small target to hit (especially bird heads....the size of peas) but hey, I'm just that good :D

I saw on TV these two guys hunted together, and when there was something to shoot they'd go 1-2-3 and both shoot at the same time to hit the animal with two bullets - naturally that cause bad shooting, and snatching at triggers....that annoyed me somewhat, it give hunting a bad name if these fagmos act like that.

August 22, 2004, 03:00 PM

My thoughts are that a lot of hunters nowdays,don't know how to hunt. While the magazines and BBS are full of technical info on loads, rifles, bullets, there is virtually nothing out there on woodscraft, or tactics.
The preponderance of the type of information available often gives a clue to what folks are interested in. The way I look at it, all the emphasis is on equipment now, not ability to spot game, track game, or cleanly kill game. Most of the guys you talk to have no clue at all as to Whitetail anatomy, or how to clean one. Sad.

Paul B.
August 22, 2004, 05:45 PM
Guess I'll jump in with a few of my horror stories. First though, let me state that I am an Arizona game and Fish certified Hunter Education, ceritfied bowhunter, and muzzlerloader instructor as well. Most fun I've ever had teaching those kids and adults that come the right and safe way to do things.
Anyway, three years ago on a cow elk hunt, I spot a herd working it's way up into a stand of trees. Well, the wind is right, they don't knoe I'm around so I start my stalk. All of a sudden, four slobs on ATVs go roaring past me at full throttle headed for the elk. After what sounds like a small short gun battle, they come out with three cow elk. As they pass my wife and I, the look at us and smirk. I swear. I was never so tempted to shoot three people in my life. Now this is the good part of all this. The next day, I do a stalk and am able to shoot my cow elk. I tagged the animal and hustled back to my truck to get my wife to help me gut and quarter the animal. We get back to where my tagged elk was, and there is a gut pile, my tag torn into shreds on the ground and two thieves on ATVs heading off into the distance. On the back of their machines was each half of my elk. God was on their side as they were well out of range. I spent the rest of that day trying to contact the game warden to report the theft and try to be reissued a new tag. The next morning, we said to hell with it as it was the last day, no tag, so we packed up and went home.
Needless to say, I have bad feelings about the use of ATVs.
Paul B.

Arizona Fusilier
August 26, 2004, 10:34 PM
Man, Paul, I never would've dreamed anyone could be that desperate, stealing from an (obviously) armed man out in the middle of nowhere!

Whereabouts was this; I've got a cow elk hint this fall!

4 Wheel Drive
August 27, 2004, 05:43 AM
I never thought I would lease hunt, but I tell you now that I might never do it any other way. Keeps the slobs away, and the property owner just happens to be a correctional officer at the state pen in Colorado City, so I don't think there will be issues in getting a response if I see trespassers and such :D

I miss my old lease in the Hill country, but there were a couple of idiots who were cutting fences, shooting over fences onto the neighbor's property, and a few were starting to bring alchohol. Outta there. I'm no teetotaller, but beer is for the house in my domain, long after the weapons are cleaned up and put away.

Fred Hansen
August 27, 2004, 01:01 PM
I am sorry to vent and I don't mean to create a storm, but why is this stuff being portrayed as normal and appropriate on television. Am I way off base here or what?No need to be sorry, and no you aren't off base.

All I can say is that each of us who love hunting really need to figure out what we can do to save it, and the RKBA. No, the RKBA ain't about hunting. We all know that. But a lot of people get negative exposure to firearms through the kind of BS TV programs you are talking about, not to mention nimrod blasting one of their cows or some other such nonsense.

Here's what a bunch of us at our local sportsmen's club do.

We have three Hunter Safety Instructors.

We give classes in the spring so we can at least encourage our students to practice what they learn before hunting season. We live on an island, so most students have to take it in the spring, or they probably won't get their license. Too hard to go elsewhere for the last minute before season classes.

We are working very hard to update/augment the Hunter Ed. materials. With all of the Pittman-Robertson money the gubmint collects, one would think that the instruction videos could have production dates post 1978. Today's kids are extremely visually oriented. Giving them a movie to watch that was made in the late 1960s doesn't get it done!

We offer NRA rifle/pistol/shotgun/home firearms safety/personal protection/range safety courses. We're working on blackpowder and reloading courses. More knowledge is better. They become better people for having become less ignorant of firearms.

We offer a Kid's NRA Shooting Sports day-camp. The more the kids shoot, the better for us as a society. They learn respect, discipline, sportsmanship.

When a controversy involving firearms comes up locally, we make sure to write letters to the editor explaining that we, as RKBA advocates are appalled, and we go on to explain those things we make available to prevent the problem in the future. People respond very positively to this. Complaining is right and necessary, but doing something is what makes the change.

We try to pick out new people to take hunting with us, so that we can try to instill the spirit of the hunt into newbies.

I could go on, but everyone gets the drift. Do what you can, when you can.

Some people have accused me in the past of too much altruism. They should hear my intro to my classes where I tell my students that my #1 reason for teaching the class is that I'm not bullet-proof, and I love to hunt, and I'm going to make sure that at least they are going to come out of this class knowing how to do it right, or they are going to fail. No in between!

Good hunting.

Fred Hansen
August 28, 2004, 12:43 AM
I'd like to add our club's website for folks to look at/critique/etc.

If you have any questions about what we all can do to stop dangerous or unethical hunting and/or screwy firearms usage, feel free to PM, e-mail, or even call me (my number is on the website).

We are succeeding in repealing bad gun laws, we are succeeding in obtaining "shall issue CCW", let's keep up the momentum.


September 16, 2004, 06:24 PM
Around here we have to use shotguns...Which as far as I'm concerned means my shots are very limited...Like MAX 50 yards at a motionless deer..because I want it to DROP, or at worst travel a short distance. Shots like that are few and far between, but when I used to hunt I had several easy shots at 150-200 yards. Most of the yahoos around here would've taken those shots (and probably wounded the deer, if they hit it at all). The gun just stayed on my lap where it belonged.

I have a friend that has some land nearby, and has a flock of 20 or so semi-tame deer that come into her yard almost every day (she feeds them). After last hunting season she saw one of the bucks (who tend to be spookier, don't come into the yard as much) with no less than 6 (yes, SIX) obvious wounds on him, none serious.

I used to work with a guy that bragged that when he went out he would "empty the gun at anything that moves". Unfortunately, there's more like him out there than there are like me out there.

September 17, 2004, 06:26 AM
I'm also in Upstate NY and have rarely used my shotgun in the past few years. I use a bow, muzzleloader and .44MAG. The bow and .44 are inside 50 yard weapons but the muzzleloader is a 200 yard gun. If you want the long shots try a ML.

My shotgun is very good out to 150 yards. It's a Winchester 1300 with full rifling and a 4x scope. I shoot 2-3/4" Federal Classis Sabots withthe Barnes Expander slugs. My nephew typically uses this gun; he gets 3 rounds and a lecture about that being all the ammo he gets for the day.

I too have a problem with some of the Upstate Hunters. I would never suggest banning semi-autos but many of these folks are more worried about the second and third shots than with getting a good first shot off. I'd almost guess that that deer with all the wounds got them in the same hunter encounter.

September 17, 2004, 04:54 PM
Besides the hunting TV shows themselves the commercials are bad. One showed a hunter shooting an out of the box muzzleloader and of course he hit dead center on the first shot. They claimed that all their guns were sighted like that. And people BELIEVE them! :rolleyes:

In a gun magazine (a commercial of sorts) a few years ago the writer tested a handful of factory rifles for long range hunting. One of them averaged something like 14 inches at 400 yards with the BEST of the loads! The writer went on to excuse this and said that all were good enough for long range deer hunting! Again imagine someone who has never tried it when he reads that. He isn't thinking that his unsupported shot, with a pounding heart and gasping lungs, will be several times worse than that benchrested group, yet he will try it, and wonder what went wrong.

I like the comments about the "empty the gun hunters". Although I don't think we should or would enact shuch a law, I believe requireing hunters to use single shots would actually increase the odds of them getting a deer.

Finally I'll close with some good news. I see an increase in hunters picking their shots, passing on little bucks, favoring bow season, and generally trending away from bad behavour. I think a lot of this is from the increase in deer populations and our correspondingly bigger bag limits. Access si still a problem (we may lose our lease this year) and there still is the "shoot everything" crowd out there, but it's encouraging to hear someone explain the idea of shooting that little buck next year to them, and they are listining.

September 28, 2004, 11:41 AM
...are taking over the world. Yesterday, for example, a guy approaches the gun counter and proclaims he needs a rifle scope and a box of ammo. Okay. In the following 30 minutes or so, I saw this dude demonstrate an uncanny level of stupidity, ignorance, arrogance, and misinformation. In preparation for an imminent elk hunt, this yahoo had purchased his first-ever rifle, a Weatherby Mk V in .30-378, just two weeks ago. With his departure date fast approaching, he figured it was time to get a scope mounted and sight it in. Obviously quite proud of his nothing-but-the-best-for-me elk blaster, he confidently told me that he wanted a premium-quality scope with at least 16x top end magnification, to take full advantage of the rifle's long-range performance capabilities. This yutz proclaimed that he had researched rifles and cartridges thoroughly, so he was totally confident that, with a big enough scope, the gun would perform easily out to at least 600 yards. I made a few subtle attempts to get this guy to rethink...well, pretty much his every notion about everything, but he knew for a fact he had selected and paid dearly for the very best, and wasn't about to give credence to some less-informed salesman's obsolete ideas. Once he had his Mt. Palomar riflescope selected, he ordered up a "box of shells". When I inquired if he had a particular bullet preference, he looked at me like I hadn't been listening, and said, "Yeah. .30-378 Weatherby, remember?" Uh-huh. Just one box, sir? Oh, sure. Shouldn't take more than a few rounds to sight-in, leaving plenty for the elk hunt.

Company policy forbids taking a customer out back and kicking some common sense into him, unfortunately. On the positive side, though, I think it's highly unlikely that this moron poses any serious threat to the wildlife. And to be fair, I suppose this d*ckhead isn't totally responsible his massive ignorance. Some of that has to go to the gunzine writers and Outdoor Network producers who keep promoting high-testosterone gear, pumping up the advertising income with rave gun reviews focused on high velocities and tiny benchrest groups. Just once I'd like to read a story that instructs hunters buy at least 100-200 rounds of ammo, sight their new rifle in, then walk away from the bench and practice under field conditions regularly for a couple months before hunting.

About 90% of the customers buying scopes for their deer shotguns seem to feel they need 3-9 power variables, 'cause these new slug guns are accurate out past 100 yards. Huh...

Over-powered rifles and optics, under-powered shooting ability and hunting prowess, and a misplaced confidence in the one to compensate for the other. How do we fix this? I'm...