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Ethical kills?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by beehlebf, Feb 14, 2012.

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  1. beehlebf

    beehlebf Member

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    An ethical kill on a game animal would be anything that effectively takes it down with the least amount of suffering. Yet many peoples definition of this seems to change with the animal. Many deer hunters would be horified to here of a head shot kill but if u told them u killed a squirrel they wouldnt thint twice. Shooting gamebirds is just disabling them to be dispatched by the hunter. Any varmint can get a gutshot and i doesnt matter. Why are deer so special to have people argue whether or not a head or neck shot is ok. If a hunter is skilled enough knows his limitations i dont see anyhing wrong with this.
     
  2. caribou

    caribou Member

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    I hunt for a living. The most Ethical shots ,to me, are blowing out their brains or busting their neck, basicly 'pithing" them, for an instant drop in thier tracks kind of Dead. No running awa across the tundra. I shoot Bears, Muskox, Caribou and all manners of meat in the head. I do this very well and have for most of my adult life. I use an accurate rifle, (open sights) and FMJ's that are very consitant and accurate. I post such shooting here too, you can look them up. If I couldnt place the shot as such, I would simply move to the Heart Lung shot, and Often I do , when lack of concelement on open Tundra wont allow me to get closer and I must secure a sled load of Meat.
    The contention most seem to have is that the average Joe doesnt place the shot as well as some do. Newer hunters are encouraged to shoot "heart/lungs" as the target is larger, and if they cannot make a "Great shot" they can at least do a "Good shot" and kill rather than wound the animal.
    This is the target of the begining hunter, and with time, experiance and developed shooting skills, I see nothing wrong with moving onto placeing the shot in the smaller but more quickly encapitating shots.

    The Ethics of the shot are where you place it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  3. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    We have been over this more than a few times.

    And I would agree. But thinking one knows their limits and actually knowing them are two different things. You see it a lot when people start talking about long range hunting. There are many folks that can make a clean kill at 500 or 600y. Most hunters can't. Just beacuse you can do it off a bench on a clear, calm, sunny day does not mean you can do it on a cold, windy, snowy day in mountains from a field position.

    Same goes for head or neck shots. Art swears by neck shots. Do what works best for you and makes for a quick clean death for the animal.
     
  4. adelbridge

    adelbridge Member

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    Down here in Texas head shots are common, guys go out with .223, .22-250, .222, .243 and get surgical. A head shot or neck is usually a clean kill or a clean miss and I dont know of anything more ethical. I have seen too many gut shot animals run off when a hunter was trying to take an "ethical" shot. A lot of hunting is tradition and rules passed on from generation to generation. If you are hunting for meat, head and neck is good and if you have a shot under 50 yards go for it. If you are hunting for a wall hanger you might pay a little extra in taxidermy.
     
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    So, if a fast take down defines "ethical", where does that leave the bow hunter?

    Hunting ethics is in YOUR mind, not necessarily universal.
     
  6. irondavy

    irondavy Member

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    So, if a fast take down defines "ethical", where does that leave the bow hunter?

    Hunting ethics is in YOUR mind, not necessarily universal.

    -MCgunner-

    Right, mother nature is anything but ethical, I have seen what coyotes can do to livestock, and how long they take to do it.

    on the other hand I think part of what makes us human (and some people less human in my opinion) is our compassion for other forms of life. On my property wild hogs do thousands of dollars of damage per year but I refuse to set traps because I do not work the property full time and sometimes it could be days before I could check my traps. Leaving any animal in a steel cage with no food or water for days at a time in the Texas summer is unethical in my mind.

    On to shooting, I wouldn't hesitate to take a neck or head shot on a deer but I am not out to fill my wall with heads (my wife would kill me), I am out to fill my freezer, a solid DRT shot seems to come mostly with shots to the head or breaking the spine. And I feel that I have the practice in with my rifle to take the shot that I need to.

    as for the differentiation between animals I think it is largely due to tradition. shotguns and small cal rifles were what my grandparents had so that is what they hunted with, and they killed any animal shot as fast and efficiently as possible for their era and monetary ability.

    Most people (psychopaths aside) don't want the animal to suffer, but they do want food in the freezer or a good wall mount. Also most people I think fall into the middle of the road category as far as marksmanship goes and opt for the middle of the road shot, in the "boiler room". Not a guaranteed DRT but I can follow the blood for a little bit and get the deer there.

    I think of the heart lung shot as the compromise between excellent shot/ DRT hit, and have a life besides hunting and shooting/ need to fill the freezer.

    hope I helped answer your question and didn't muddy the waters to much
    ID
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    beehlebf, many of the negative comments about head or neck shots have to do with some people's belief that movement could result in a wound and not a kill--and they have concern that such movement at the moment of trigger-pull is either likely or common.

    "Eye of the beholder," I guess. It's not something I worry about...
     
  8. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Member

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    Ethical is a very differed opinion, I think most folks are ethical but there are some folks that go beyond what I feel is right. There was a thread recently about fishing for coyotes. I don't think thats right but if I had alot of stock damage and loses and had tryed everything else......I would probably use that method.

    Recently my son was rabbit hunting on our land and came across a young doe that didn't make it over the fence. It was hung up and had been for a while, with a broke leg. He shot it and we took what little meat she had. Some folks would say this is wrong, I don't think so. In my eyes leaving her strung up half starved with a broke leg would be wrong. Ethics?

    You should know if you can make the shot or not under perfect circumstances. Most times u take that shot and hope they don't move. In actual hunting situations drt is not how it works most times. IF that means boom.....fall over dead. Shooting an animal in the guts on purpose and letting them run and suffer is forever is wrong. But I never knew a man that would take such a poor shot that had intentions of harvesting meat. Met a few like that took shots like that.....but apparently they have a recipe that make horns taste good.
     
  9. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Ethics as applied in this case means rules of conduct recognized in respect to a certain class of human actions of a particular group, hunter ethics, specifically in this case.

    The question pertained to a humane kill, and ethics involved. So to answer the question, a person with sufficient skill combined with a known, accurate tool, who takes a head or neck shot at a deer is not unethical, for the skill and the tool makes the act ethical, as there is a very plausible belief by the hunter that such a shot will result in a humane harvest of the animal. The intent is a humane harvest; the skill and accuracy led to the hunter's conclusion that such would happen.

    That does not mean that all risk of a less than successfully humane harvest is removed, as there are variables beyond the control or knowledge of the hunter, that might influence the outcome. One of these variables is the behavior of the animal, another is the weather, and another is the ammunition. The first two are never completely predictable, while the third (no matter how thorough the quality control) sometimes includes an erratic round. (there are other variables)

    Folks tend to discourage such shots as a general rule, for there is a good chance that a person who thinks they can take such a shot, is not as skilled as is needed. As was pointed out..., hunting is different from shooting targets on a range.

    The question really is, if a hunter is incorrect about their skill level, but honestly thought such a shot was not only possible, but probable in making a humane harvest, is that hunter unethical? I would say "no", but here is where the debate begins on whether the hunter should have known their skill level wasn't very high, or was using a poor standard to judge skill, or should've known the tool they chose was not as accurate as ethics demanded, etc etc.

    So in conclusion, the shot taken is always up to the hunter, and to that hunter's judgement whether or not their skill, and the accuracy of their chosen tool, makes such a shot "ethical".

    LD
     
  10. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    I think that if you have found a deer with its jaw shot off, and know that it died because it was unable to drink or eat, things get a little more understandable.

    Ethics is not about placement, it is about shot selection. If you have a head shot, you probably also have an easier-to-make chest shot. That's a decision. If you KNOW you can make that head shot, and you have good reason to prefer it, then fine.

    If you're unsure about the head shot, or you're only making the shot to "test yourself" or impress your friends, and you take it, that is not, IMHO, ethical.
    Why was the hunter incorrect? Too little range time, and too much false confidence? Then he was unethical.

    Missed because he had a simple human failing (a one in a hundred flinch)? Well, we're all human. Mistakes like that are part of hunting. Ethical.

    Part of the equation is, what does the hunter DO with his mistake? If the miss happened because he took a long shot, but misjudged the distance because of poor lighting, or because the wind at the target was way different than where he was? Well, if he just says to himself, "Better luck next time," unethical. If he says, "I'm bringing a range-finder next time," or, "I'm not going to try a head shot at that distance ever again," ethical.

    We all prefer to learn from others' mistakes (I mean experience :)). But learning from your own is ethical enough. Not learning a darn thing is not ethical.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    But, again, what about bow hunters? There are few DRTs with a bow. It's like stabbing hogs, what about that? I've done that, run 'em down with dogs, the dogs pin the animal, a hunter grabs the legs while the other slits the throat or stabs at the heart. The pig squeals as he bleeds out. He doesn't die immediately. Then there's gator hunting, more akin to trot line fishing, is in the water for an extended period with a large treble hook stuck through its mouth. You could extend that one to cat fish if you're a PETA type. And then there's PETA who feels any harassment of the animal world is "unethical", especially shooting one. Seems the fuzzier the animal, the more unethical it is to shoot. Deer are cute, after all. Then there was Johnny Appleseed who put out his camp fire when he noticed it was killing mosquitoes.

    Ethics is an individual opinion, is not written in stone, and one man's ethics cannot be applied to all. If you think bow hunting or alligator hunting is "unethical" by your standards, don't do it, but don't try to push your ethics on ME. Nothing worse than some condescending PETA butt wipe telling me how cruel I am. They have no clue of the real world. All the world is not a Starbucks coffee shop. They're telling ME, a life long outdoorsman with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife and fisheries management that hunting is cruel? Really? At what ivy league university were they taught this? :rolleyes:

    Be careful of pushing YOUR ethics on others as others may try to push THEIRS upon YOU.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  12. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Bow-hunters should not take the shot unless they are confident it will result in a recovered animal. Just like every other hunter.

    The ethics of a sport like hunting are NOT decided willly-nilly by each individual. A hunter (for example) taking a shot at an animal without zeroing his new scope is neither as competent or ethical as a hunter who does.

    There are many gray areas; we can agree that they are gray, and disagree about what we'd indvidually do. But there are also far more areas that are clearly defined. Saying that whatever any hunter decides to do is "just his ethics" is the same as saying that hunting has no ethics at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    But, a bow shot through the heart lungs results in a tracking job, not a DRT. The animal SUFFERS un-necessarily as he bleeds out, no DRTs. All you folks are talking about head shots and DRTs. You can't do that with a bow. So, to you, bows must be unethical? If not, where's your logic? And, again, how about running down a hog with dogs or snagging a gator with a hook? Is a gator not an animal just because it's not warm and fuzzy?

    You guys are NOT using logic here to create your 'ethics" and apparently my ethics are not compatible with YOURS. Who sets these rules, anyway? I didn't read all these "ethical kill" opinions in Aldo Leupold's "A Sand County Almanac". Are these "ethics" written some where, chiseled on a tablet or something? Excuse my sarcasm, but it just irks me when someone speaks from the pulpit about such things, especially when they start to sound like the "animal rights" opposition.
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    BTW, I believe in "ethics", always make the most effort I can in retrieving my game. I've not lost a deer, ever, or a hog. I have lost ducks and doves as I've not always owned, nor do I now, a retriever. Even with a retriever you loose one now and again. I'm primarily a bird hunter/wing shooter. I'd rather hunt DOVES, let alone ducks or geese, than deer or any other big game animal, though I do hunt both. So, perhaps this gives me another perspective on the guy that never hunted anything other than 4 legged critters. You lose a bird now and then, cripple a lot. It just happens.

    I remember my uncle who gave up deer hunting because he shot one and it "looked him in the eyes with those sad, big eyes" supposedly pleading to him or something. :rolleyes: He never quit hunting birds, though, loved his quail dogs and hunting as well as doves. Seems they couldn't plead for mercy or something. :rolleyes: I think part of his opinions, though, came from all the horrible action he saw in WW2, men dying around him. I can only speculate on this, though. That sort of thing can skew reality, if you know what I mean. I never went to war. I'm fortunate. I had a high draft number.

    Again, this sort of "ethics" is just one man's opinion, not universal truth. State your opinion, but don't be condescending to others about such things.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, with respect to ethics and hunting, the main deal is for a quick kill. Sure, a DRT shot with a firearm is right at being the ultimate for "quick". From what I've read, though, skilled bow-hunters don't have their game last very long after the hit. And many a quickly-dead deer lasted some minutes before the final breath. That's just the way it goes.

    "Quick kill" and all that doesn't (IMO) mean "Instant!"

    I'm not a Philadelphia Lawyer, and I've never really been interested in nit-picking over what to me are trivial details. I just figure folks do the best they can with what they've got. I mostly just want folks to think before acting--which of course is rather cruel of me. Heck, maybe unethical: Causing pain and suffering! :D
     
  16. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    That is the the type of Bambi-esque anthropomorphism I'd expect from a PETA antihunter.

    Does an animal suffer when it's cold? Hungry? In labor? Dying of "old-age" (starvation if it's worn out its teeth), cold, disease? Taken down by coyotes, or by a Honda Accord?

    What about when it's lonely? [​IMG]

    Any hunter who thinks he can get a DRT every time hasn't been hunting the same animals that I have. But any hunter who can "so what?" a lost animal that he wounded hasn't got much of a soul, IMHO.
    Why, hunters, of course. Hunting has been going on a long time, and (I sincerely hope and expect) will go on a long time after you and I have passed through our brief stint. There has always been a right way to do it, and there always will.
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, the "right way to do it" for the plains Indians (okay, native Americans, I'm one eighth Cherokee myself, but not PC) was to run 'em off a cliff in herds while others below clubbed 'em to death as they tried to crawl away with their one unbroken leg. :rolleyes:

    One man's "wrong way" is another man's only way. It's opinion, just opinion, YOUR opinion which I may or may not share completely.
     
  18. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    No.

    Ethics is a group decision. In your example of the plains Indians (assuming you are correct), the entire group decided that that was the way to hunt.

    Saying that (as you apparently are) whatever way "one man" hunts, that is ethical "for him" is contradictory of the concept of ethics; it is saying that ethics doesn't exist.

    If you are about to argue that the ethics of a survival situation is different than the ethics of a sport hunt, well of course they are. That doesn't mean that neither set of ethics is valid; or that because the two sets are different, that ethics is a "do whatever you feel like" proposition.
     
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    No, I'm just saying whatever is your opinion of "ethics", if it is contrary to MINE, don't think I'm going to care. You can moan all you want about me sticking pigs (for instance, if you think that's unethical, some do) or using a feeder (a big yankee gripe even on this board), but I really don't care what you think about it, it's the way I hunt and it's legal and not unethical to me. If it's illegal in YOUR state and you think it's unethical, just don't do it, but don't think that I'm going to lose sleep over YOUR opinions. I'll keep tossing deer corn in my feeder.

    I get fed up with holier than thou, condescending northerners/north westerners, etc, that, for instance, tell me feeders are unethical. :rolleyes: "WHY, it's ILLEGAL and you should be shot on sight for doing it!" They are a way of life in Texas, don't like it, stay out of Texas. We don't need ya here, anyway. :D THAT is an example of the rants that have gone on here in the name of ethics, which is, after all, a matter of one man's opinion and not written in stone. Even LAWS vary. Texas allows feeders for deer and it's become an industry. One can buy feed corn at most convenience stores in small towns around here. Feeders sell by the boat load.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  20. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    On what do you base this assumption? I have hunted doves for 26 years. Of the thousands that I have shot, 80% or more were dead before they hit the ground.

    I try to kill any animal as cleanly as possible, even if it is considered a varmint. The only varmints I hunt, yeah I go for head shots. If I miss, it is a clean miss. With the varmints I hunt, and the ammunition I use, if I hit them in the head, they are going to die within seconds.
     
  21. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    mc..they were out to get meat from the only source available...they weren't hunting for sport, or to replace meat they could buy at the grocery. They were hunting because if they didn't, people died. There was no other method to gather meat for them. And what ever farming they were doing probably was not sufficient to keep them all fed. Add to that the animals were also pretty much their source for building goods/clothing (skins, tendons, etc)... and they are even more compelled to get a kill, how ever it is done.

    Find me a hunter in the woods today in that situation, and I won't gripe about him using a 22lr, at 100y, through a bush (as long as he does get his kill, regardless of damage to animal and whatever suffering it causes). For everyone else.. Kill that animal as quickly and humanely as you can with your skill.. Bring the right tool for the right job, and dont take sketchy shots just because you can.

    The situational ethics of hunting from a tree stand, stalking.. when you don't HAVE to kill that animal to keep people from death is a whole lot different than when lives depend on it.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Perhaps, but I'll still hunt as I see fit. I know how and where to shoot animals, have been doing it since age 7. I was the terror of the squirrel woods with my Remington M512X (still have it) .22, head shots at 50 yards with iron sights not a problem. My eyes require optics for anything past 50 yards now days though, dare I say it, bo be "ethical". :rolleyes: LOL! Those are MY ethics, though. Some consider optics as cheating. Some think smokeless powder is cheating. Some thing anything with powder is cheating. Some think having wheels on their bow is cheating. To each his own. I won't gripe if you will only use a .458 Win Mag on whitetail for an "ethical kill". Just don't gripe if I stab a hog with a knife now and then.

    Someone put up a hog kill vid on this very board and, my gawd, all the whining about the lack of ethics. :rolleyes: "Why, that's CRUEL. Those kids looked like they actually enjoyed that!" Guess what, I'm sure they did. :D
     
  23. beehlebf

    beehlebf Member

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    My priginal question came from the fact that i waited for a perfect shot on a deer it was facing directly away from me tail in vision and when it lifted its head and stopped i dropped it the bullet hit the dead center of the back of its head it would have been a clear miss or ear shot at worse. What fot me upset was other hunters telling what if you would of... and that just wasnt the case. People will take running shots wont lead an animal and gut shot them thats way worse imo
     
  24. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

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    I'll let the law determine what is ethical. Outside the rules of law there is only speculation and opinion. I tend to be extremely conservative when it comes to animal suffering. In fact, I've nearly completely quit eating meat and only buy what little meat I consume from a kosher butcher. Frankly, I'm extremely offended by hunting techniques that result in extended suffering. And I will never understand killing any creature just for the sake of the kill. Don't misunderstand me... I think hunting, overall, is better than our wretched slaughter houses. Call me a sissy if you like but you'd better be outside of my reach.;)
     
  25. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    You might wish to reflect that a poacher or other criminal would have exactly that same opinion. Not meaning at all to imply you are either (I'm sure you're note), but I'm not sure why you'd choose a philosophy that can accommodate such folks.

    As I said, there's black, white and gray to ethics. I'd be surprised if you and I disagree on the black and white stuff. To the extent that we disagreed about the gray, I think I'd still care enough to want to understand your reasoning. I've learned a lot over the years from such discussions.

    So far, your reasoning consists of "anyone else doesn't matter to me at all."
    There is a space between "everyone gets to make up his own individual rules" and "one set of rules applies to everyone, at every time, in every place." It's a pretty large space: as far as I know, the entire world lives there. :D

    But you seem to insist there are just the two extremes, and so you justify prefering your extreme.
     
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