Saturday, December 12, 2009

FAIR CHASE: What Does It Mean In The 90's?

From Outdoor Idaho:

FAIR CHASE: What Does It Mean In The 90's?

The traditions of hunting dictate that game be taken in the spirt of fair play. In other words, pitting the human's skills against the animal's strong instincts for survival.

Theodore Roosevelt established his "Credo of Fair Chase" back in 1893. It is the pattern for hunting that exists to this day in the rulings of the Boone and Crockett Club...

"The term 'Fair Chase' shall not be held to include killing bear, wolf, or cougar in traps, nor 'fire hunting,' nor 'crusting' moose, elk or deer in deep snow, nor killing game from a boat while it is swimming in the water, nor killing deer by any other method than fair stalking or still hunting."

One who has spent time thinking about "Fair Chase" is Jim Posewitz, a biologist who founded Orion - The Hunters' Institute, in 1993. Posewitz also wrote the book Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. The book is used in hunter education classes in 38 states. The following is excerpted from Beyond Fair Chase.

"Fundamental to ethical hunting is the idea of fair chase. This concept addresses the balance between the hunter and the hunted. it is a balance that allows hunters to occasionally succeed while animals generally avoid being taken." (p.57)

"There are some activities that are clearly unfair as well as unethical. At the top of the list is shooting captive or domesticated big game animals in commercial killing areas where a person with a gun is guaranteed an animal to shoot. These shooting grounds are alien to any consideration of ethical hunting. When discussing the ethic of fair chase, it is important to clarify that we are talking about hunting free-ranging wild animals." (p.59)

"The ethical hunter must make many fair-chase choices. In some areas, chasing big game with dogs is an accepted custom. In other places, it is considered an unfair advantage for the hunter. Likewise, luring animals with bait or hunting in certain seasons sometimes is viewed as giving unfair advantage to the hunter. While local custom and practice need to be respected, it is equally important to be honest about the result of these practices. If there is a doubt, advantage must be given to the animal being hunted." (p.61)

"In addition to hunting practices, there is a constant flow of products developed to provide advantages to hunters. Sights, scents, calls, baits, decoys, devices, and techniques of infinite variety fill the marketplace. In each case an individual choice must be made as to what sustains fair chase and what violates that concept." (p.62)

Jim Posewitz. Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. 1994. Falcon Press, Helena, Montana.

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