The Ethical Hunter
It is easy to find a newspaper story about hunters doing or acting poorly, doing things that reflect negatively on all of us, or endangering the lives of others.
We owe it to the greater community to make everyone aware of some of the positive, ethical acts many hunters do routinely, just as we need to publicize unlawful acts.
The Wisconsin Ethical Hunter Award committee just began reviewing nominations for the 15th annual La Crosse Tribune/Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award.
It was interesting to read what nominators believe constitutes an ethical hunter act. Nominations vary greatly from suggesting someone showing great respect to landowners, other hunters, authority, hunting partners, and hunting mentors.
People stated that someone who reported receiving double permits, or someone didn't shoot without reaffirming permission to be on private property, or helped others find wounded game, or gave up hunting hours to help others, or mentored inexperienced hunters, or reported illegal and unsafe actions were worthy of being recognized.
It's probably difficult for most nominators to figure out what a committee of four is searching for each year. Several statements by the committee are all the general hunting public (and the committee) have to go by, such as "we're looking for hunters helping others, for hunters engaged in behavior that positively reflects on Wisconsin's hunting tradition, hunters doing something for the outdoors activity and not for one's self."
That may not be much of a lead, but even though nominations vary, I think we all know the difference between an ethical and an unethical act.
Why then do some go down the wrong path when we are alone on opening day of the gun deer or waterfowl seasons?
In addition to some type of formal recognition, we owe it to those who hunt ethically to be told. Maybe to not do so could be considered unethical.
Consider nominating someone for an ethical hunting act by contacting your local conservation warden during 2012 for something you observed during 2012.
You, and they, will feel better for it.