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Chuck-n-Alaska's picture
Location: Southcentral Alaska
Joined: 04/26/2007
Posts: 222
Ethics & fair chase

There are some pretty interesting threads dealing with hunting ethics and fair chase going on over at the blog site. However there are some responses I don't quite understand the logic. In one blog a guy from Colorado denned a black bear and another a reporter from Forbes took his first elk and wonders if he is a murder.

Like one response stated ethics are subjective. They are ethics vary from person to person and more so from culture to culture. For centuries denning bears was common practice in many northern cultures. Even into the 60’s and later Alaska natives denned bears for winter meat. Now some guy in Colorado tracked a black bear into its den then went in after him. Now he is being hammered on as being unethical by taking a bear outside of the parameters of fair chase. Fair chase is one of those terms that make me cringe every time I hear it. As far as I’m concerned the term fair chase is just a politically correct way to justify taking an animal. Is it ethical to lure a deer to a man made food plot so he can be shot for a TV audience? How about a moose that was nailed at 3 or 400 yards using  state of the  art optics and modern ammo. What about ethics when a flight of mallards come into a bunch of manmade decoys thinking all is well and good only to get blasted. How many of the nay sayers would hesitate to shoot a spring brown bear just out of the den? That is a very common and legal way to take an Alaskan brown/grizzly. When they come out I can tell you from experience they are still in a stupor. For those of you who have never crawled into a bear den don’t know what you are missing. In my opinion going into a bears den not knowing what you are getting into is more sporting than any of the scenarios I just used, by the way I don’t have a problem with any of them. Hunting is just that hunting no one should have to justify to any one why they took an animal or the way they took it. I don't mean poaching like what happened at Ft Cambell or Point Hope. To me there is way too much hypocrisy among hunters when it comes to ethics and fair chase. Worrying about someone else’s hunting ethics keeps hunters arguing and divided. That is just what the wolf worshiping little Walter Mitty,s want. We can either stand together and over look methods we don’t agree with or the wolf worshipers will take us down one group at a time.



CVC's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Kansas
Joined: 03/04/2006
Posts: 3579
Let me emphatically state

Let me emphatically state that I would not go into a bear den to kill a bear.  Not because I think it is unethical but because I am too chicken.  I'd be scared to death of meeting Mr. Bear face to face in close quarters.  Nope, I'd rather stick to shooting him from a safe distance.

Hmmmmm.....you know after reading what I wrote I am wondering who is less ethical; the guy that crawls in the den and meets a snarling bear head on or the hunter who stays at a safe distance and shoots the bear (almost) in the back?

As I said in my previous post, there is no such thing as ethical hunting, just legal or not legal hunting.

expatriate's picture
Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
I've hunted around the US

I've hunted around the US enough to know that "fair chase" is a nebulous term that just gets people riled up.  The biggest hot buttons seem to be baiting and use of dogs.  What's unthinkable in one part of the country is considered normal ops somewhere else.  We do a lot of things now our ancestors would've considered violations of fair chase - vehicles, optics, GPS, flashlights, camouflage, scent-elimination clothing, etc.

I think the definition is based on the individual.  I thought I had it, but my views on some things have changed based on where I was.  However, I once knew a guy who bragged about his "buffalo hunt."  His hunt was on a ranch.  They drove him out to the herd in a pickup, gave him a choice of a couple animals, and called the shot for him.  The rest of the herd was visible behind him in the photo of him and his kill.  They then picked his animal up with a tractor and took it back to the ranch for processing.

So while I may not be sure what fair chase is, I know that ain't it.  But then again, if you're hunting an animal that's too stupid to run, is there any such thing as fair chase?

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