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13 yr old poses ethics question...

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Cranky CJ, Mar 8, 2011.

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  1. Cranky CJ

    Cranky CJ Well-Known Member

    My 13 yr old is taking Hunter Safety this week. Tonight was ethics and the question posed to the adults was; "If your child shot the wrong animal, doe for a buck or some such, would you turn them in?"

    I haven't answered him yet. I already know my answer, yes I would- with a lengthy explaination about the difference between a mistake, the dishonesty of purposefully shooting the wrong animal, and trying to cover up a mistake- along with the consequences of each.

    What say ye of The High Road? Would you turn your own kid in for shooting the wrong animal. this is just an academic discussion.
  2. WTBguns10kOK

    WTBguns10kOK Well-Known Member

    this is why I hunt alone...we all make mistakes and too many DNR agents are anal beyond belief...this outta be a greeeeat thread
  3. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    No I don't think I would, i'd raise hell about it because I think it would do more good at a young age then a police record. I'm assuming game violations show up just like other things.

    Police (game wardens) aren't like they used to be. They see too much BS from all ages. In my youth they'd read you the riot act and send you home, I don't think it's like that today.

    Besides I can come up with a whole lot of punishments that are alot worse than a fine to pay. Which I would have to pay because my son's allowance just wouldn't cut it.
  4. jhngardner367

    jhngardner367 Well-Known Member

    I would,and I have.Three years ago,my son shot a doe.He had fallen asleep in his ground blind,and five or six deer wandered within range,just as he awoke.He raised and fired,but ,instead of a buck,the doe dropped.I've always tried to teach him good ethics,but I was still nervous when the DNR offficer got there.I told him about it,and he talked to my son,then he pulled a pad out of his pocket,and started writing.By the way---my son was 21 at the time!He handed my son the paper,and asked him why we called the DNR.My son simply said"It was the way I was taught." The paper? It was a simple release-of-game form!He even helped drag it to the truck Most DNR officers I've met,can tell the difference between truth/lies,so just be honest about it.
  5. Gromky

    Gromky Well-Known Member

    Police (game wardens) aren't like they used to be. They see too much BS from all ages. In my youth they'd read you the riot act and send you home, I don't think it's like that today.

    I hope they're different, I was stabbed in the knee by a F&G officer as a boy scout decades ago! Of course, it was an accident, and he missed the soft spots. I apologized more for being too close than he did for nearly crippling me.

    My dealings with game service have always been positive, other than being behind a skinning knife. When I decided to start hunting a few years ago, there were no records of me passing hunter's safety decades ago. A simple call, and they fixed it. I've talked to them a couple times in the field, and they were often the best source of advice possible. Last year I watched a moron ride up on a F&G station on a four wheeler. Holding a a loaded rifle with one hand. They let him by with a warning.

    Yes, there are officers just out to nail you, but most I've seen really care. My honest response is that I would walk into the local office and ask to speak to an officer. If he seemed understanding, I would broach the subject. With the end goal that he talk to the child about being careful, and how much trouble it could cause. It may not be the textbook answer, but that is reality.

    Almost every F&G officer, or Forest Service ranger, or what have you...is concerned with education and really cares about protecting the forest. As long as you're not a dick to them. They often deal with being shot at and lied to. Everyone they approach in the field is defensive. So yes, they may be mistrustful, but they also have a lot of leeway if you approach it in the right way.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  6. Gromky

    Gromky Well-Known Member

    jhngardner367 I'm very glad that worked out for you, and that's how things should work. If someone reports a mistake, especially for a child or young adult, it makes no sense to prosecute. It just encourages people to lie and ignore the rules. I think every member of F&G I've met would have done something similar. Scaring the crap out of them might be good, but that just makes the relief more powerful.

    I have a friend from New Mexico, when she was there they had exceptions to game laws for extreme hardship. She had a friend who was in the Forest Service. He was often shot at, and actually armed himself in a way that would make your average suburban family very nervous. Yet he might meet a destitute poacher who was honest, drive the game back to home to determine truth, and might even help butcher it.
  7. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    Jgardener, that is a good story. I wish I had the same experience. But in my experience I was straight up and not defensive at all when stopped in my boat because I hadn't done anything wrong, all my ducks in a row. I got a ticket because my bass was 1/2 to short for the lake standards. Seriously? 1/2 inch!!! I'd be really panicked if it was a deer because the fish wasn't cheap!

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    I mistakenly shot a fox out of season back about 25 years ago, I thought it was a coyote (don't laugh).

    Anyway, I ended up calling the game warden who said he would meet me where it happened.

    When we met (the next day as I recall), he asked the time of day and it was near dusk. He said he would write a report, but that my name would not be in it and he thanked me for telling him. He said, with the sun just right, he could understand my mistaking a fox for a coyote.

    It was an uneasy 24 hours or so until I finally met up with him.

    I guess it reinforced the fact of making sure I know what it is I am shooting. I don't have children, but if I did, I would most likely have answered that I would report it.
  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    Good question.

    How as a parent you handle this could affect the way you child hunts and the ethics he has for hunting the rest of his life. In most cases honest mistakes, especially by youths, are accepted as that by game wardens. Most would rather have you report the mistake so they can retrieve the game instead of it rotting in the woods. Accepting the fact that it's okay to make a mistake and walk away from it is not the image that we as hunters want to represent. As in everything in life there are consequences for the actions we take. Young people need to realize this early on, not only in hunting, but in all aspects of life. Bein' easy on them when they screw up generally just adds to the problem.
  10. chas08

    chas08 Well-Known Member

    A resounding NO. Admonish? Yes. Forbid to hunt alone on my property? Most probably. Trusting any law enforcement agency to do the right thing toward family? Never.
  11. FTG-05

    FTG-05 Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine and I went about 10 years ago on my hunting club lease. While on the way in, we discussed the various changes to the hunting season over the last few years (he was deployed overseas for several years); one of which was the more liberal doe season here in north Alabama. While I never said that it was doe season, by implication it was clear that he thought they were.

    So he shot a doe.

    We took it into the deer processing place, they said "Oh well." Later that night I called the hunting club president and told him what happened. Basically, it was miscommunication on my part.

    Never involved the Game Warden or Wildlife people, mostly because they wouldn't have cared. They've been trying to kill more does in our area anyway.
  12. yyz

    yyz Active Member

    once again this depends on the area. were i live i would call and explain what happened. an honest mistake is an honest mistake, at least to the local game warden. this has not always been true. 10 years ago i would have to say no way!
  13. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    No, I would not.
    If someone was out killing illegal animals left and right with no reguard for the law, I would turn them in. But an honest mistake? Nope. I live and let live. It wouldn't even have to be my child. I wouldn't turn anyone in for that. A lecture on responsibility and the law would be in order. If I thought it was intentional disreguard for the law, well that's a whole different animal altogether.
  14. jhngardner367

    jhngardner367 Well-Known Member

    I wasn't turning him in,I was teaching him honesty and responsibility.True,we could have walked away,and pretended it wasn't us that did it,but my hunting ethics won't permit it.I don't hunt what I don't eat,or use.I don't use anything but a bp to huntbecause I truly believe in "1 shot-1 kill". If I don't for some reason drop the animal and it runs off,you can bet that I'll follow a blood trail on my hands&knees,in darkness,to determine the animal's condition( I've done so , by the way !).I t is my responsibility,as a parent,and a sportsman,to teach my son good ethics---in ALL things. I honestly believe that it was the honest,open way that we ex plained the situation, that kept us out of a citation.
  15. exbiologist

    exbiologist Well-Known Member

    We have turned in the kids that have hunted with us. Twice, teenagers have shot spike elk on cow elk permits in my group. Usually the fine is pretty minor($75), but it's a matter of principle. They need to understand what they did wrong, they need to identify the animal more clearly, and they need to know they can't get away with an accident like that. And if it's truly an accident, the punishment isn't severe.

    But you NEVER cover up an accident like that for them. Asking for trouble in the long run.
  16. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    My daughter shot a small buck by accident on a her doe tag this year. I called the game and fish, the officer thanked me and her for our honesty. He told her that he was happy to see young people involved in hunting we kept the deer and were on our way. No ticket just a 15 minute educational talk.

    In Colorado I've seen several cases where guys screwed up shooting the wrong animal. In every case the guys that turned themselves in were given a small fine they were either allowed to keep the animal or were issued another tag and allowed to continue to hunt.

    Now say you shoot a spike during bull season and try to sneak it out or walk off and leave and get caught. Now you are talking $3,500 fine plus a 3 to 5 year suspension. But that is Colorado they tend to have a very good attitude towards guys that turn themselves in and they really try to promote youth hunters. They know people make mistakes especially kids.

    Now I also know that there are some states where you need to avoid the DOW at all costs as they have an entirely different attitude.
  17. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Honesty is the best policy. The CDOW even goes so far as to say they understand that mistakes happen, they just want to know about it. And as H&H said if you are honest with them you may even get to keep the animal.
  18. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    I won't comment on whether I would or would not. I am an honest law-abiding person and would like to believe I would. However, there is so little trust in Government authority, abuse of same, and ability of the Government to take away rights or impose harsh fines or criminal liability that it discourages honest dealings. I can understand why one would consider NOT confessing or reporting. You'd have to balance the factors at the time. I think no two situations are the same.

    While not directly on point - last year my two dogs got in a fight over a popular dog bone. In the process of breaking it up, I was bitten by one. I did the right thing by going to the hospital to get it cleaned. The doctor was more interested in the dog than cleaning my wound. The questions were almost accusatory in nature. Next day, animal control left a note on my house door saying that I had two options - self quarantine my dog for 10 days or they would take my dog and destroy it to test for rabies! I was furious!!!!! Absolutely furious!!!! I love those dogs and was just out of my mind with anger at the system. You can make all the arguments about why that's a good policy, but that to me was just a violation of my trust and taught me to NOT report stuff ...

    This ain't the 'good old days' of human interaction. It's beuracracy that seems intent on crushing the little guy with either civil or criminal sanctions.

    As an attorney, I would give you the following advice: ALWAYS take the 5th Amendment and never fess up to anything unless it's in your best interest. This isn't a lesson in eithics or right vs. wrong. This is a lesson on survival, frankly. Your child should understand that he's supposed to follow the law and shoot only what's on his tag; but it's a foolish lesson to teach him to go out and tell the law that he commited a crime. You have to counterbalance that by teaching him that he must always be honest in his dealings with family and people in general; but with the Government take the 5th.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  19. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    +1 leadcounsel

    I'm aware of an individual here in Colorado who had a cow tag and thought he was 100% sure that the animal in his cross-hairs was a cow, so he pulled the trigger. It turned out to be a spike bull whose spikes were just a little too long to be allowed under the cow tag. He called the DoW and they came, issued him a fine, and took away his animal. That was the first elk he ever shot, maybe the last one too. He was fairly soured after the response of the officer.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  20. pat86323

    pat86323 Well-Known Member

    Its tough, if there was a set and specific way of dealing with that problem my position would change. A few years ago a friend of mines wife killed a button bull elk (antlers about an inch long) on a cow tag. He called G&F and they were really nice to him and his wife. I cant remember if he allowed them to keep the button bull or issued them another tag but it was favorable and all was forgiven.

    I also heard of a kid accidently shooting a doe during the juniors buck hunt. They nailed him to the wall. Fined him and his dad, took the rifle, and likely turned that kid off of hunting for life.

    This inconsistancy makes me sincerely hope that i NEVER have to deal with them at all. I am however an ethical person and do my best to do what is right/legal. Im not real sure what id do in that situation. Hopefully i never find out.
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