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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post isnt directed at anyone in particular, this is directed to the hunting community as a whole. Im not a "professional hunter" and I dont have degrees in fields related to this topic. This is simply my opinion on matters I feel passionate about. If you disagree with them, please do so in a civil manner. I dont want to cause problems on a website filled with many friends.:)


Hunter, or Steward of the woods and wildlife?

As I sit here writing this, I have to wonder if you can be both a hunter and steward of the land? To me it seems as though you can't. I've always considered myself a "hunter" out to commune with nature and attempting to harvest some meat for the freezer. Ive been bowhunting for fifteen years now but I didn't always consider the impact I had on the very nature I was enjoying. It wasnt until a few short years ago, that I realized my role in the woods is much more important than "hunter". Im a caretaker of the woods, waters, and wildlife that live there. A steward of the land. Everything I do and every decision I make has an impact on nature.

From the small sapling I cut for a shooting lane, to the deer I choose to harvest. It all impacts the woods and wildlife in some way. I think of my
actions in the woods as stones tossed into a pond. I want most of my actions to cause the smallest ripple possible, I dont want to cause a major splash.
Unless of course that "splash" is needed. Like when there is an abundance of one species or sex of an animal or plant. It can be necessary to cause
bigger "ripples".

It seems as though to be accepted as a hunter now a days though, you have to be willing to accept whatever anyone else chooses to do, whether it be good for the woods & wildlife or not. Speaking your mind about the size of the animal, or the decision to take more than your share of one sex is taboo.
Whatever happened to policing your ranks? Questioning the reasoning for certain actions, questioning your own reasons. It seems to me as though too many things are accepted these days when it comes to our actions and role as hunters. We are becoming so "tolerant" of what others do, that we have lost sight of the reason we are really out there. To CONSERVE nature.

We arent acting as stewards of the land, as we should. We are merely sport hunters looking for a good time. Focusing on what makes us happy and what
is good for us at the time being.

Laws and Ethics, whats the difference?

The first argument that usually follows criticism of the size of an animal or the manner in which it was taken is that it is legal to take. Well, in my eyes, there can be a vast difference between legal and ethical. Is it legal to harvest a bear cub? Yes, but unless you are the one carrying the cub out of the woods, others look down upon it. Is it legal to kill a Turkey Poult, or young turkey during the fall turkey season. Of course, but who in their right mind would? How about a turkey on its roost? Legal yes! Ethical though? These three examples are all legal, but widely accepted as un-ethical. So
why is it ethical then to shoot fawns? Why is it ethical to shoot deer over bait? Why is it ethical to knowingly shoot bucks to "earn" a bigger buck?
Why do we accept these things yet choose to shun others? Talk about selective enforcement of the "rules". Ive never seen a more cut and dry
example.

Why not discourage these acts that make us look bad to the non-hunter?

Have we become so afraid of arguing amongst ourselves in fear of antis capitalizing on it, that WE are creating our own "sports" demise by allowing just about anything and everything? I know a lot of what we condone is looked down upon by the majority of the non-hunting public. Talk to most any non-hunter and you will see that accepting these questionable practices is leading to fewer and fewer people supportive of our "sport". The fact that it is legal just makes the whole system look unethical.

My prediction is that the end of our "sport" wont come from antis, but from a lack of concern/policing on our part, as to what we look like from the outside in. The two extreme sides of hunters and antis arent the sole warriors in this battle. The m [no swearing please] of voting fence sitters is where the future of our sport lies. Keep condoning unethical actions and be prepared to lose their support and our privilege to hunt.

We cant expect to convert everyone into hunters, so strength in numbers isnt necessarally the key. I believe that strength in integrity and ethics is more important. Having lots of the "right" kind of hunter is more important than sheer numbers alone.

Through guidance and knowledge we will continue to enjoy our sport with the support of a non-hunting public for years to come.

Thats my thoughts on the matter anyway!


Have a good day to all, and good luck this season!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks BHC.:)
 

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I was hunting back in 1980 and a lot of things have changed in the 25 years since I started. The only constant over all that time is the "ethics" that have made me very proud to be a bowhunter. I have always considered what God has given all of us in the great outdoors and I for one want to hand that special gift down to my children and grandchildren. So whenever I step foot in the woods in New Jersey or New Hampshire or wherever it may be, I make it a point to be a positive influence and do my part to care for the habitat and the animals that live in it. I am sure we all want to be "Stewards of the forest" but sometimes we need to remind ourselves as it can become easy to forget.
 

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Very good writeup Matty, you hit the nail on the head[up]
 

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Matty I agree but disagree at the same time. Ethics are in the eyes of the beholder. Take pheasant hunting for example. Is it ethical to shoot a pheasant in a tree or running on the ground? Ask almost any bird dog owner or serious uplander and they will say no. Ask me and I will say yes. For me it is still fair game. When my pup starts hunting will I do it? Probably not, but in my eyes it is still fair game. If you don't have a dog take them any way you can. Take the the example of the fawn. What if it was limping or only had 3 legs, would it still be unethical to shoot? The disabilties are not necessarily hindering it's life.
Ethics are not as easy to see. They are grey areas. Legality is easier. It is more black and white.
Matty once again another thought provoking post. We are all getting deep.
 

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Why is it ethical to knowingly shoot bucks to "earn" a bigger buck?
Well for me, I do not care about the size of antlers. I hunt for the fun and for the meat.

Given a choice or oppurtunity I would harvest a button as an antlerless over a doe for my EAB.

My reason being that If I shoot the button or spike, I have harvested 1 deer for the freezer.
Now on the other hand if I shoot a doe I have taken 1 deer for the freezer this year , but also have taken out of the picture 1 or 2 deer that she would have given birth to next year. There by spiteing (sp) myself. The state might want to cull the does to lessen the herd but I don't. A buck will impregnate many females, but only a female will give birth. So as long as it is legal I see no wrong.But I will shoot the first legal deer that comes by.

This is just my opinion not to start a war. But like I have said I care nothing about antlers, I'll leave that to you trophy hunters. My trophies are put on a plate not a wall.:)
 

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Well after 25 years of hunting I can honestly say that bowhunters are some of the most ethical hunters.

I won't comment on Slobgun ethics. I hunt Slobgun season but do I enjoy it?

Nope[down]
 
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Now on the other hand if I shoot a doe I have taken 1 deer for the freezer this year , but also have taken out of the picture 1 or 2 deer that she would have given birth to next year. There by spiteing (sp) myself. The state might want to cull the does to lessen the herd but I don't. A buck will impregnate many females, but only a female will give birth
and thats why I don't like the unlimited antlerless hunts, take a few antlerless deer per hunter per year and thats it, what that number should be I don't know 2, 3, maybe 4
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well for me, I do not care about the size of antlers. I hunt for the fun and for the meat.

Given a choice or oppurtunity I would harvest a button as an antlerless over a doe for my EAB.

My reason being that If I shoot the button or spike, I have harvested 1 deer for the freezer.
Now on the other hand if I shoot a doe I have taken 1 deer for the freezer this year , but also have taken out of the picture 1 or 2 deer that she would have given birth to next year. There by spiteing (sp) myself. The state might want to cull the does to lessen the herd but I don't. A buck will impregnate many females, but only a female will give birth. So as long as it is legal I see no wrong.But I will shoot the first legal deer that comes by.

This is just my opinion not to start a war. But like I have said I care nothing about antlers, I'll leave that to you trophy hunters. My trophies are put on a plate not a wall.
Thats fine, and I respect your right to hunt for the table and not for the wall. I dont expect everyone to worry about the size of antlers. But can I explain to you that your logic is not right from a "stewardship" standpoint without everyone getting upset?

If you are in an EAB zone there is good reason. The state biologists have concluded that these areas are overburdened with deer, and the best way to bring these areas back into check is to shoot does. The way you described it is the exact reason you need to shoot does. Almost everywhere you go, there will be more does than bucks, so there is no need to fear a "doeless herd" if you take a few females out. It will just cause a more balanced buck to doe ratio, and a healthier population of deer. It also helps to restore the natural food sources that deer can destroy. These food sources also feed other wildlife. SO its not just good for the deer herd, its good for the surrounding wildlife. Now Im not even talking antlers here, Im simply talking about a healthier more balanced wildlife population. If you care about the animals, that is what you want!

Mpemt, a wounded fawn is up to the person in the tree. Some people let mother nature run her course, others take the animal and end its suffering. Im not talking about wounded fawns though, Im talking about healthy fawns. Why take them? We look down on taking any other animal baby. Why are deer any different?

I understand ethics are a "grey area" and up to the person faced with the situation. But certain things are simply looked down upon by other hunters and the non-hunting public. Why then do we condone these acts?

Also, as mentioned, I hold no degrees in wildlife biology, but I do have a good understanding of it. I have been reading books about it since I was a little kid. It fascinates me. I also dont think its necessary to have a degree to be considered knowledgeable. Read up on these subjects, and you will see that this IS what the experts say.
 

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I've been holding off entering this debate as I see both points of view. For me I went through stages. When I first started becoming a successful deer hunter I shot any deer I could. I shot so many to the point I was giving away whole field dressed deer to friends. I have never killed a "Scoreable" buck. by that I mean something over 120 B&C. I would really like too. I also enjoy eating venison, hence my username:D
This will be the first year I take my son on a deer hunting trip. He is 5 yrs. old. I'm waiting for the permit shotgun season for him to tag along. I want the trip to be fun, action packed, and successful. I am probably going to shoot the first deer that presents a good shot. Why? Because I think that is the culmination of the experience for him. That is my plan anyway...
Matty thanks for your point of view and I concur. I chose to shoot a mature doe who had no fawns with her. I have passed on a couple of smaller bucks in hopes they will make it to maturity. But our states buck kill statistics don't reflect that he will.
I have a buddy in his 40's kill a smaller buck this year. It was his second bow kill buck. Would I have shot it... probably not. Would I have shot it having only killed one other buck before... You're damn right I would.
I went through levels of maturity in my hunting career. I like to think I'm in my older adolesence in terms of progression. I can't judge another hunters progression. I can only lead by example, which is what I hope to do with my son.
Thanks for letting me add my $.02
 
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2 times this year while hunting I allowed antlerless deer to walk, and Im glad I did, I felt good doing it, and it paid off I got a 5 pointer, but thats me
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
BHC, in the zone you hunt, its ok to let antlerless deer walk. The browse lines are not clearly evident, and the food sources arent so dwindled that deer are unhealthy in body weight. I hunt up there often, and I know this is the case. Thats not to say the buck to doe ratio is right on, its not, but the deer are not exceeding the carrying capacity of the land.

Most areas in the EAB zones are a different story though. Before they brush-hogged the woods I hunt, there was a browse line that a blind man could see. The foods that the deer were eating were browsed down to the stem. It looked like someone had come through and landscaped the entire woods. Thats a population problem that is best controlled by taking does, and quite a few of them.
 
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last year on December 18th while muzzleloader hunting, I saw almost 60 deer on that day. I saw 40 deer walking single file at 9:30am, they where 60ish yards away all bald, I thought for sure a buck would be in there, I let them all walk. That was a great day, no wind, clear skies, and maybe 15 degrees
 

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Matty, Where I hunt there are groups of drivers. I know one of the groups and have seen them pull out 9 deer on one drive. 3or 4 years ago they tagged out 146 deer, 119 the next year, I'll let these guys keep the herd in check while I try to manage 1 or 2 for the table. Oh and good post and good luck.
 
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