Our ability to hunt, to be hunters, is natural and well-earned. But, in this day and age, we must never forget that it is a privilege that could, in theory, be lost. In the 21st Century and beyond, hunting’s continued existence will depend much on how we conduct ourselves as hunters…in other words, our ethics.
Ethics are a moral code of conduct. They pertain to what is considered right and wrong. Such a collection of principles and values can be both on an individual personal level, and as part of a shared group belief system.
Aldo Leopold wrote, “A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”
In his book, Beyond Fair Chase, Jim Posewitz noted, “The most important measure of hunting success is how you feel about yourself…”
Accepting an ethical code will naturally bring you greater satisfaction in what you do. As time goes by, and as an ethical code is exercised, it will grow stronger and “higher.” This is what we should all aspire to do.