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Ethics and Hunting


“Ethics” and Deer Hunting
Real Life, Close to Home Examples

By Chris Niehaus

Deer Hunting in your local County or City Park? This idea is not so far fetched as you might think. Recently, there have been a number of park boards open to the idea of a controlled deer hunt to help curb the population of the ever adaptable whitetail. This past fall, several Indiana park hunts took place. These were gun hunts with a high success rate and tags were allotted by a drawing.

Ohio has seen its share of these type hunts as well. When we think of Indian Hill in Cincinnati, we think of big, expensive, older homes with large wooded lots of several acres in size. Sometimes we may think that the people who live there might be opposed to hunting. Recently, however, Ohio residents were allowed to apply for a limited number of deer tags, most of which were doe tags, for a deer hunt in Indian Hill. Again, the success rate was high with many hunters taking multiple deer. The number of hunters in this case was very small, however, and the assigned weapon of choice was the bow and arrow due to the proximity of the hunt to neighboring homes.

Wayne Breeden, Four Seasons V.P. tells the story of two Northern Kentucky cities considering a controlled bowhunt. The city councils, in these cases, have a lot to consider before allowing such a hunt. Their decision will have to be based on several issues that we, as hunters, DIRECTLY AFFECT. As you read on and think of how great it would be to bowhunt that “backyard-unhunted” buck consider how the city council, the non-hunting public and the media views hunters as a group. Then consider how their perception of us will directly affect not only whether these type hunts will take place or not but if all hunting will continue to thrive. Think of how hunting is controlled by the government. Think that if the non-hunting public, government officials, the media and even your neighbors vote a certain way, you and I may lose the privilege of hunting.

It is up to us to always be on our best behavior whether we think someone is watching or not. Shut your tailgate on your truck while transporting your deer, don’t openly discuss a poor shot. Practice, so you don’t make one. In short, be ethical. Think ethics. Think courtesy, among our ranks as well as among the general public. Be aware of how others view you as a person and a hunter. Don’t condone poaching or unethical behavior. Go even further…openly discourage it and promote ethical hunting and ethical behavior.

What’s so new about this? We’ve all heard this before, right? I think it needs to be said. Why? Let me give you a real life example. I was in Pennsylvania in mid-December on business with three non-hunters in a rent-a-car. We came upon a minivan with two deer strapped to the luggage racks on the roof of the van in plain view for all to see. I wish all of you could have been there and heard the comments! Only one of the three non-hunters was a staunch anti-hunter. There is no convincing these type people that hunting is good or even tolerable. However, the other two people, one man and one woman, grew up in rural communities. Although they don’t hunt they aren’t opposed to it. The problem is that when the anti-hunter “went off” about how “gross” (and other adjectives) the sight was, the other two started to agree with the anti-hunter. If I hadn’t been in the car and openly spoke up about how irresponsible those particular hunters were, how responsible hunters do exist and how they act, how hunting actually does help control the population, reduces car/deer accidents and how we enjoy cooking and eating the venison, then hunters would have lost two votes just that easily! To make matters worse, we passed a pickup truck with two deer in the bed. The hunters had the forethought to put the tailgate up but left the legs of the deer sticking up over the tailgate. How easy it would have been for them to move the deer into a position where we wouldn’t have seen them.

Fortunately, a poll conducted on the Internet by WJLA-TV, Channel 7 in Washington, D.C. indicates that 82.7% of the 1,857 respondents favor controlled deer hunting in local county parks. Only 17.2% opposed the hunt. This poll is not scientific and may only indicate a strong show of support from bowhunters on the Internet (and there are a lot of them) but it may indicate that the public still has a tolerance for hunters and hunting in public places. We all have to hope so and work to keep up a good, ethical image. We should think about how others perceive us as a person and as a hunter. Please remember that our hunting heritage depends on how you act! Keep up the good work! Would you allow a group of guys like this to hunt on your property?

Always be aware of how others see you.

Chris is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Four Seasons Bowhunters of Northern Kentucky. Their members are from Campbell, Kenton, Boone, Grant and Pendleton Counties in Northern Kentucky.   He can be reached at this email address: 

Last modified: December 11, 1999