As outspoken as I am about caring for and protecting wildlife, I often get asked if I believe that there is such a thing as an ethical hunter. Shockingly for some the answer is yes, I do. Although I do not like hunting or the culture that surrounds it, I do believe that there are many ethical hunters out there. The problem is that we rarely hear from them. Why is that? I think that much of this has to do with their voice being hijacked by people like George Meyer, Don Peay, and Ted Nugent and extremist kill everything groups like the NRA, Safari Club International on the national level, and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association on the state level.
I also believe that there is no such thing as an ethical hounder or trapper. So what do I believe is an ethical hunter?
An ethical hunter does not get pleasure out of killing something.
An ethical hunter does not make a spectacle out of the act of hunting.
An ethical hunter eats what they kill.
An ethical hunter does not take grinning photographs of themselves or their children over a dead bloody animal.
An ethical hunter does not videotape their killing exploits to re-live as “horn porn” at a later date.
An ethical hunter does not kill animals just because they can.
An ethical hunter follows all rules and regulations even when no one is looking.
An ethical hunter does not hate predators or view them as competition.
An ethical hunter admits that they are killing an animal, not “harvesting” it.
Then there are the slob hunters. These are the ones that those of us in the non-hunting community see most often. You know the ones who wear camouflage everywhere they go and drive giant pickup trucks with stickers bragging about how they love killing animals. Trappers, hounders, and predator hunters fall within this category as well.
A slob hunter kills animals strictly for recreation.
A slob hunter kills an animal just to hang their head or hide on a wall.
A slob hunter get pleasure out of tormenting and killing wildlife (see Josh Bransford).
A slob hunter kills animals like mourning doves and crows just because he can.
A slob hunter brags about their killing exploits to anyone who will listen in person or on the web.
A slob hunter participates in killing contests like the pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania.
A slob hunter thinks that they own all wildlife.
A slob hunter has no concept of property rights or trespassing (see bear hounders).
A slob hunter kills any predator that they can because they are “competition” for that “big buck.”
A slob hunter thinks that killing animals with dogs is a “tradition” (see Scott Suder).
A slob hunter is anyone that operates or participates in canned hunting (see Ted Nugent).
I could basically go on all day, but I am sure that you get the idea. Ethical hunters need to realize that the slob hunters and the groups who enable them are irreparably destroying the image of ALL hunters. By not speaking out against the slob hunters, ethical hunters are basically enabling them. Of course a few ethical hunters have contacted me through this website and are as disgusted as I am with what the slob hunters are doing. I can respect them for that, but there needs to be far more speaking up to make a difference.
Tell me what you think defines and ethical hunter and a slob hunter.