Since the actions of trophy deer hunters are constantly being closely scrutinized by non-hunters, practicing good hunting ethics is imperative. Anti-hunting groups are constantly on the look out for unethical hunting practices, so there are a few things to keep in mind when hunting for your trophy deer. Although some of these are not required by law, they are rules that must be practiced when hunting to preserve the right to hunt for game.
Make sure that you know and understand all hunting laws in your area. Educate yourself, and check into it before you hit the woods. Many areas will offer classes, so check with your local game commission. You will also receive a booklet that explains all the rules, laws and regulations of hunting in your area when you sign up for your hunting license.
It is your duty to know all of the laws. This may include types of weapons permitted, what you are allowed to hunt for and when, and how many you are allowed to take. Remember that ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
Respect Other Hunters
Always respect other hunters in the area. If two hunters should happen to come across the same area that they wish to hunt, there should be a compromise in which all parties are in agreement. This can be sharing hunting grounds for the day or alternating days that each party will hunt there.
Every hunter has the right to be in the woods. Disregard for other hunters in the area must be avoided. A hunting party should never put on a drive where others are stand hunting, or chase away game for personal vengeance or other reasons.
Follow Up Your Shot
One of the most difficult things to do when hunting is following up your shot, but it is necessary. A hunter must do everything in his power to track down any game that they may have hit, even if they think that it was a miss. In almost all parts of the United States, this is the law.
Sometimes an animal won’t bleed until it has ran twenty yards or more. Other times it will bleed heavily, then the bleeding will slow to just about nothing. Even if it takes all day and part of the next, it is the right thing to do.
Hunting on Private Property
Not only is it the law, but obtaining permission from private landowners before hunting on the land is just common courtesy. Most land owners will put up posted signs on the boundaries of their property with phone numbers to contact them.
Whether they give permission or not, it is polite to respectfully thank the individual. If permission is given, always scout out the property before hunting season has started. Know the position of all buildings, including barns, sheds, and houses. Also know the position of property boundaries, any roads nearby, and any livestock or other domestic animals.
Respect the Land
Leaving your hunting area as clean as or cleaner than you found it shows your respect for the environment and the animals that you hunt. Pick up any trash that you have, including spent shell casing. As a rule of thumb, if you take it in, you take it out.
Displaying Harvested Game
Although you may think that the eight point buck that you just shot is an amazing trophy to be displayed, others may not share your opinion. Be sensitive to others, and realize that others may not share your enthusiasm with hunting.
Keep in mind that seeing a prominently displayed deer in the back of your pick up may make some people uncomfortable. It can also scare the daylights out of small children with no knowledge of the sport. Always cover your deer with a tarp before transporting it.
Young hunters tend to pick up their habits from the older, more experienced hunters. They look at their elders as mentors, and teaching proper hunting ethics to the younger generation is imperative. Practice what you preach, and keep in mind that actions speak louder than words.