October 28, 2004
Contact: Norm Minch
Frankfort, KY (October 28, 2004) - On Saturday, November 13, tens
of thousands of deer hunters will be in the woods and fields of rural Kentucky,
hoping to harvest some of the stateís 900,000 whitetails. Some will be on
hunts with family members, some with friends, and some will be there alone.
Whatever the case, this brotherhood of like interest will be out enjoying and
utilizing the bounty of Mother Nature, all anticipating an exciting hunt during
opening weekend of modern gun deer season.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), while wishing
each hunter success, and emphasizing safety and following season laws, further
urges sportsmen and women to keep hunting ethics in mind while afield this deer
Why do ethics matter? Because ethics is at the heart of the hunting sports,
and it is personal integrity that distinguishes a true "sportsmen" or
"sportswoman" from just another person out there with hunting
equipment interested in taking a crack at whatever they might see.
Some will ask what the difference between being a legal hunter and an ethical
hunter is? Some say following the law is all I need to do to be a good
sportsman. Or that as long as I have a license, Iíve met my obligation and donít
have to worry about anything else.
Being an ethical hunter includes being lawful, but goes well beyond simply
what the laws say is acceptable or unacceptable. Ethical hunting is making the
right choice when thereís no law that governs you. An ethical approach to
hunting means doing things the right way whether a wildlife officer is around or
not, and because doing it is just the right thing to do.
Take retrieving a deer that has fallen just across the line fence on someone
elseís property, for example. Often, it may be much easier to just go get it,
rather than track down the landowner and get permission to retrieve it. Even if
youíd be over there just for a few minutes, and no one would know, the ethical
hunter contacts the landowner and makes sure itís OK. Perhaps an ethical
hunter goes one step further. If the deer is right on the property line in the
first place, and the chances are good that it will go on somebody elseís land
before it goes down, perhaps you just let it walk. Maybe itís the best choice
not to hunt right on the property line, respect your neighborís space, and
thereby reduce or eliminate the chance of an animal you shoot getting on
property you donít have legal access to. None of these scenarios are covered
in a regulation, but an ethical hunter knows what the right choice is, and thatís
what he or she does.
Thereís no law for deer season that says not to shoot at a deer running
through the brush 150 yards away, or that sets a limit on the distance at which
a shot can be taken, but ethical hunters are aware of their abilities, and the
probabilities, of making good, clean kill shots. It is the sportsmanís
individual integrity that determines his decisions, and dictates when to shoot
and when to wait. An ethical sportswoman will abide by her ethics in every
situation for no more reason than itís the right thing to do. She doesnít
need a law to tell her what choice to make, because she has learned and
recognized that in many situations in the field, there can be only one right
A law-abiding hunter is a good thing. An ethical, true sportsman at heart has
the respect for the resource, the law, his fellow hunters and landowners
squarely in his sights each time out. And maybe more than that, an ethical
sportsman respects himself. Consequently, that puts him a notch ahead. His or
her hunting experiences will always be richer than those who have more selfish
things in mind. It feels good to do the right thing, and even more so when you
go it on your own.
This season, if you havenít made the transition from hunter to sportsmen,
remember the importance ethics play in the sport. Hunting is a privilege, and
appreciating the sport as a privilege includes hunting ethically, as well as
safely and legally. Donít cheat yourself. Get your bag limit of all three this
season. Take it up a level and add the proper ethics to your hunts, and enjoy
the experience to its fullest.