Of Hunting Ethics and Tablefare


Of Hunting Ethics and Tablefare

Many hunters hunt for the prized game meat, but they certainly don’t have to. I mean, the majority of us all live close to fully stocked grocery stores with all the meat choices one could imagine. Venison is good food, but it isn’t required.

Then, there is the matter of big game heads bearing huge antler racks. Some of the “horn” hunters could care less about the meat. They just want more bragging rights to hang on the wall. In your estimation, how much or how many trophy heads is enough?

There is certainly nothing wrong with trophy hunting for a huge rack of antlers. That is, depending on how it is done. Some hunters push the envelope on what is legal, while others fudge the ethics of the hunting sports. For example, do you think it is fair game to fly a drone over hunting areas to search out trophy animals, while the hunter sits in camp or nearby in a truck waiting on the call?

A friend of mine in Nevada just returned from a bow hunt for elk in Wyoming. He was using a legal crossbow and took a very nice 5×5 bull. In advance, he towed a trailer with coolers behind his jeep so he could bring all the meat home. He is proud of the elk rack, but just as proud of the meat he brought home to eat and share with others. He spent thousands of dollars on this trip. He hunted hard on a totally fair chase hunt.

Contrast that with two other hunts I know about. One was in a Midwestern state, inside a fenced preserve. Elk are not native to Missouri, and there are no 8-10,000 foot mountains in the Show-Me State. The hunter rode around “scouting” for his kill with a guide. He finally shot a dandy 6×6 bull, and now brags about his “elk hunt.” To me, this was not a hunt at all compared to the elk hunts I have been on out west.

The other “hunt” was on a high dollar Indian reservation, where the hunter was carried around by a native guide in a pickup truck. Various bulls were pointed out, one of which he killed. It scored around 350 and adorns his home’s living room. A real hunt? You be the judge. He “donated” the meat to the tribe.

Real hunts are done by real hunters expending the effort to climb, walk, stalk, and pursue an animal with a fair chance to escape. Then they bring home the meat to enjoy. That is ethical table fare. What do you think?

Avatar Author ID 67 - 1240996705

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

Read More