Ethics is as personal a thing as anything in life. We all have a conscience and we all know what is right and what is wrong.
Everybody is different and we are all capable of varying judgement calls, decisions and choices. We can all agree that the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule are good basic guidelines for righteous, ethical conduct and behavior in a free society.
When it comes to laws and regulations, especially in the hunting world, things start to get rather murky.
I often reference the great American hero Rosa Parks that defied unethical and immoral laws when she refused to give up her seat on that bus. God bless Rosa Parks!
For example, it is pretty much against the law nationwide to kill a game animal out of season.
But let’s say a farmer is working the fields, or a landowner is scouting his private land and they come across a severely crippled deer that can barely walk and appears so injured as to be near death.
The law forbids us to dispatch this animal and tells us we need to call some government “official” to perform an obvious task than any capable individual could perform ourselves.
I don’t believe for one second that “illegally” putting that animal out of its misery is unethical by any stretch of the imagination.
I was transporting a seriously injured, possibly life-threatening, gunshot victim to the ER in Montana many years ago, traveling well over the speed limit in a desperate move to save my friend’s life.
A state highway patrolman with lights a flashing frantically attempted to pull me over for speeding, even after I made it clear we were in a life-and-death emergency situation.
Refusing to pull over under those circumstance certainly could not be considered unethical by any thoughtful person.
Two young hunters had 30 doves in their cooler when a conservation officer asked them which doves belonged to whom. Two legal bag limits were in the cooler together as each hunter had each bagged their legal 15.
The nasty CO made a terrible mistake and wrote them both up when clearly no unethical behavior took place. It was dove season, they had their guns plugged, (which makes no sense whatsoever and is a law we need to eliminate ASAP) and were hunting 100 percent legally, except for the abject silliness of having their birds separated.
In this instance I firmly believe the law and the officer were unethical.
Michigan farmers can kill sandhill cranes (ribeye in the sky) on crop depredation permits, but by law are forbidden to eat their kills. The law is unethical and deeply offensive to our common conservation ethic.
In Colorado, hunters are not allowed to use hounds or bait to hunt bears and there is no spring season, but government hunters waste and abuse our tax dollars to kill numerous bears all year using hounds and bait as damage control because the unethical law itself creates the overpopulation of nuisance bear numbers.
Everybody knows we are obligated to kill millions of deer each fall and winter hunting season to balance herds and continue the proven perfect successful “pay as you go” modern game management model.
Some power-abusing bureaucrat’s faulty ethics are weaved into hunting regulations in every state that have nothing to do with safety or the science of sustainable yield wildlife management.
What if a farmer, who knows he must kill a certain number of deer on his property, isn’t interested in sport, challenge or someone else’s ethics, he just wants to protect his crops, balance the herd and feed his family some delicious venison.
So many brainwashed people would go berserk if it were suggested this farmer would be allowed to shoot some deer from his tractor or combine, because it isn’t sporting or ethical.
What man can dictate what sporting considerations another man must pursue when the end objective remains the same?
The hunter who seeks sport and challenge can pursue his deerhunting for his own purposes, but the farmer, rancher or landowner who just wants to kill the deer that need to be killed and have some backstraps certainly should not have to answer to another’s sporting demands.
Whose ethics dictate what?
In Iowa we can feed deer all year until the hunting season starts. Clearly deer biologists have concluded, rightly so, that feeding deer has no negative of ill effects on wildlife, but then for no reason they forbid it during the season.
This is in direct defiance and denial that in every state where baiting and feeding is against the law, all commercial feeding and baiting products fly off the shelves wherever they are sold because the vast majority of hunters enjoy this methodology.
Dictating personal ethics like this is judgmental, selfish and dishonest and spits in the face of 90+ percent of American hunting families who prefer to hunt this way.
Just for your information, the late great Fred Bear hunted over bait and he epitomized the ultimate ethical hunter.
The unethical game department in California continues their crime of banning cougar hunting, instead burning precious tax dollars killing lions as damage control and burying these magnificent beasts in a hole in the ground instead of showing respect for this incredible big-game resource.
Shame on them. How unethical can you get!
In Montana it is against the law to operate a trail camera after the hunting season opens. Huh! In the rugged individual, ranching, freedom state of Montana?
Who could possibly think the government has any say so whatsoever as to whether an American citizen is authorized to set up a game camera on their own property?
Michigan bureaucrats continue to embarrass themselves lying that the mourning dove is a songbird. It is not a songbird, it is the #1 hunted migratory gamebird on the planet and the Michigan Natural Resource Commissioners and Department of Natural Resources goons are unethical with their lies.
All too often the government is unethical, but we all know that.
Gungho riflemen dedicate themselves to long-range proficiency and take extreme long shots on game out to 1,000 yards and more.
Some would call such long shots unethical, but if it’s about wounding game, there are plenty of casual riflemen out there that make plenty of bad shots on game within 100 yards, so an arbitrary decree identifying at what range ethics plays a part is presumptuous guesswork at best.
Some people are ethical, and some people are not. It is up to those of us who have a decent grasp on right and wrong to communicate such guidance to family, friends and our buddies at hunting camp and at the range.
When you see laws that mandate unethical behavior like Michigan’s sandhill crane and dove fiascos, the California cougar and bear crimes and the Colorado bear hunting laws, we who know better must continually hammer our elected employees to change the laws to abide by wildlife science, not politically correct unethical folly.
With more than 40 million albums sold, rock legend Ted Nugent is equally well known as the nation’s most outspoken proponent of our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, conducting thousands of pro-gun, pro-freedom, pro-American interviews in major media worldwide. Nugent is a New York Times best-selling author whose works include Ted, White & Blue —The Nugent Manifesto; God, Guns & Rock ‘n’ Roll and Kill It & Grill It.This year, his award-winning Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild TV show celebrates its 500th episode! For all things Nuge, visit www.tednugent.com