Monday, August 22, 2011Surveys show that three of every four Americans approve of legal hunting, and support is trending upwards. As long as the majority of citizens continue to see this sporting tradition as fair, safe and meaningful, hunting will remain a privilege of citizenship--as well as a boon to conservation.
For hunters headed afield this fall, the Boone and Crockett Club offers 10 ways to help keep the public on our side.
"Modern society has high expectations of hunters," said Ben Wallace, president of the Club. "In a changing culture with ever more scrutiny of all things related to the environment, our behavior toward animals, the land, firearms and even each other is more important today than anytime in our history."
Here’s how to do your part:
- Hunting is allowed today because the vast majority of hunters through the ages have respectfully followed laws, regulations, safety rules and high ethical standards known as fair chase--the sporting pursuit and taking of native free-ranging game species in a manner that does not give the hunter improper advantage. Continue the tradition.
- Remember: Any animal taken in fair chase is a trophy.
- America's system of conservation and wildlife management is the most successful ever developed. It works only because of funding from hunters. Spread the word.
- Respect the customs of the local area where you're hunting, including the beliefs and values of those who do not hunt.
- This season, make every attempt to take a youngster hunting. If you already hunt with your son or daughter, invite one of their friends to come along.
- Technology is a wonderful thing until it replaces the skills necessary to be a complete hunter. If it seems gratuitous, leave it at home.
- Always ask permission before hunting private land. Respect landowners.
- Tread lightly, especially on public land. ATVs have their place--on roads and trails. If you pack it in, pack it out.
- Sportsmen have always been instrumental in managing big game herds. If antlerless harvest is encouraged in your area and you have the opportunity, take a doe or cow.
- Remember: The reason for a hunt is intrinsically about the experience. A kill is a justifiable outcome but not the only definition of a successful hunt.
Surveys by research firm Responsive Management showed that 73 percent of Americans approved of hunting in 1995. Support had grown to 75 percent by 2003, and to 78 percent by 2006.