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Ethics of killing animals and their status as Game vs Predators vs Fur-bearing vs Varmint/Pest.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by mcb, Jan 13, 2021 at 1:25 PM.

  1. mcb

    mcb Member

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    So an interesting side topic is spinning off of the What your longest ethical range on whitetail deer thread:
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ngest-ethical-range-on-whitetail-deer.880417/

    So I though it was such an interesting topic that I created a new thread, this thread. :)

    The basic crux of that discussion was does the status/label placed on a animal have an impact on how strict a hunters must strive for a quick ethical kill.

    The two main arguments seem to be:

    One side argues that some animals, typically Game animals, require/deserve a higher level of care and effort when being harvested that they are killed quickly and humanely. Conversely some animals deemed Varmints, Pests, and/or invasive species did not warrant the same level of care in their harvest and taking shots with a lower percentage chance of being a quick and human kill was more acceptable due to that status.

    Another side argues that if you are going to intentionally kill an animal then it should receive a quick and humane kill independent of such labels as Game, Predators, Varmint/Pest etc.

    I am sure there are some more nuanced sides/views to the argument but I think that sets the stage.

    Also interesting is who defines what animals fit under the various labels like Game, Predators, Fur-bearing, Varmint/Pest? I am sure we can probably even come up of a few examples of animals that are considered Game animal in some parts of the country but Varmint/Pest in other parts, even setting invasive species aside.
     
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  2. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    All animals deserve a quick humane kill. They do feel pain. Just watch the last breath of any animal you have hunted and taken.
     
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  3. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    The coyote doesn't know he's a pest. I'll take more liberty in my method for pests than game animals, but not in the amount of suffering the individual animal endures. I try to eradicate rats and coyotes, I'll hunt an antelope and not shoot more than I can harvest. I'm not going to take out a dozen antelope out of a herd even if I had tags for that many because I can't process all of them myself without spoilage. I'll shoot every coyote I legally can, but I'll strive to make good heart/lung shots and any gut shot will be entirely accidental.
     
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  4. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    It seems like hunters on the interwebs are far more ethical than those in the field. Every year I find many gut shot deer and see others carrying legs. Never hear about that on the web.
     
  5. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I think most hunters are just as ethical in the field as they are on the internet, they are just poorer shots in the field than on the internet. :D I have meet very few hunters that intend to wound and loose a target animal on purpose. They want to see that animal dead on the ground even if its an animal they will just leave for the buzzards and worms. But I have witness a lot of bad shots at the range. Sight-in day at my home club back when I lived in Ohio was disturbing. The ability of both gun and hunter was frequently far worst that I though possible and yet they seem pleased with the performance.
     
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  6. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    This, but with caveats.

    If I see a 'yote, it dies. Same for possum/coon/armadillo/skunk. Dead critter. It may not be ethical to shoot them at 150 yards with a 17hmr/22lr/etc. but if that's what's in my paws at the time, that's what's getting used. I'm strongly against gut-shooting any animal. But if I accidentally gut-shoot one of the aforementioned critters, I'm not terribly heart broken. Not like I'm gonna eat them, and the fur is basically worthless anymore. Mostly they just get chucked in the ditch.

    The big reason, I think, that "ethics" play a role in "game" hunting, is mainly because if we wound a "game" animal, we have to go find it. I'd say 99% of us don't want to have to go looking for an animal we've made a bad shot on. And we darn sure don't want to drag it back (usually in the dark) to where we've parked. Therefore, we limit ourselves to distances/conditions/etc that we are more comfortable with. Is this "ethical", or just laziness disguised as such? I don't know. For my part, if I don't feel comfortable with a shot, I don't take it and that's that. With that said, I've taken some pretty sketchy ones in the "heat of the moment" and they've paid off.

    At the end of the day, no creature deserves to suffer. Whether its a squirrel, a deer, a coyote, or a man. A quick and relatively painless end is the best thing a hunter can give his quarry. But accidents do happen and we all need to accept that Mr. Murphy's law will always apply.

    Mac
     
  7. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    How many hunters are there in Iowa? How many of them are actually "Gun Guys"and on the web as such? What's the ratio? I think that might take care of the difference, the hunters posting on the interwebs may actually be far more ethical than average. At least those who say anything about such.

    How many is "many" "every year"? I can remember seeing one crippled deer, but where I grew up is not as hunter-populated as where I live now, so that explains some of that.
     
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  8. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I draw the line at fish, snakes, and insects. Everything else deserves a swift kill.

    I only kill to eat or cull. 'Trophies' are just a bonus. I dont keep feed grain around, so i let the opossums be, to eat ticks and mites.
     
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  9. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    All animals deserve as quick a death as possible. I feel if I’m going to kill something, I owe it to that animal to do it a quickly as possible.

    If I was going to be killed by an animal I’d sure appreciate them making quick work of it.
     
  10. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    If I cannot make a high percentage shot then I am not taking the shot.

    Doesn’t matter if it is a target or a tree stump or a hog or an elk.
     
  11. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I agree if the target is alive but as a completive shooter I have rolled the dice on some pretty low percentage shots in the pursuit of a higher score. But when I miss the shots on inanimate targets the only thing hurt was my pride and my score. This is not to say it was an unsafe shot since I was still 100% sure that my bullet would hit a safe backstop if I missed the scoring target.
     
  12. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    Since I've retired, I seem to have more appreciation for all animals than I use to. My brother and I have said many a time we only kill what we will eat. On recent Texas goose hunting trip, he shot a pesky crow on a bet and then plucked it and roasted it on a spit. He said it was very good. I guess I would take out pests as deemed necessary(without eating them) but there would have to be a good reason for doing it. There was a chipmunk sitting on top of my target frame as I sited in a rifle this fall, snickering and raising his/her 's tail at me. I just felt I'd show it up by placing several shots in the x-ring and scaring the crap of of it. It waited until I was done, and went back into the grass, probably to harassed some other shooter. I made my point, there was poop on the frame as I pulled my target.
     
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  13. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Nor have I but I know many that rarely if ever fire a shot other than at a deer or maybe a couple days before the season at a target on a post.

    Wounded or found dead, some years I find and see dozens easily. It is not as bad as it was 10-20 years ago. Fewer deer now and better guns allowed. Hunting practices have also changed a lot in the last 4+ decades that I have hunted. Far more people hunt from stands so fewer deer are shot at when running at top speed through the timber.

    Same here and no matter where they are hit I don't feel any more guilt than a coyote does eating a nest of pheasant chicks.
    Maybe that makes me unethical, I don't pretend to care.
     
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  14. caribou

    caribou Member

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    "Humanity" in hunting is Killing an animal as fast as possible. Thats a bit Strange to me....

    Sounds strange to me, because its any predators main mode of operadi. Humans down to Weasels.

    I dont belive in "Varmits/pests" as every animal has a use, in season to me, or at least as food for other predators, so no Killing without a usefull outcome. Thats where the "Humanity" comes in.

    Meat takes more work and care than just fur, but killing an animal for its fur or meat is fun and usefull.
     
  15. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I do not mean to judge you ethical or otherwise but your sentiment for the coyote intrigues me. You are not the only person to express such "hatred" for the coyote, and I have heard similar negative feelings for other predators, wolves, bobcats etc. Why doesn't the coyote and other predators deserve the same respect that say a pheasant, deer or elk would?

    I have always had equal or greater respect for the predators I hunt compared to the other species I hunt. They must hunt, kill, and consume their prey using only the tools (tooth and claw etc) they were born with and in the process often risk their life daily just to eat. IMHO that existence deserves a healthy dose of respect. Especially in the light of all the crutches of technology and gadgets that I lean on to give me a "fair" chance of success as I attempt to be a hunter (predator).

    When I do hunt a predator I give them the same deliberate effort I do for all animals I kill. And as with with all creatures I kill I always have a mix of feelings when the hunt end with a kill, the exhilaration and pride of successfully using my woods-skills and prowess with my chosen weapon but there is always a twinge of sadness to watch a creature die at my hand and that twinge of sadness is always slightly stronger for predators as I am envious and respectful of their skills as a hunter, skills that I can never match without aid.

    If I ever loose that twinge of sorrow when I kill that will be the last time I hunt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 7:14 PM
  16. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    When I took LEO training to be an auxiliary, I had to qualify with the local Sheriff's Dept. I was appalled by the poor shooting of the deputies. I then realized why it took most LEOs 15-30 shots to get one hit on a perp. It definitely was "spray and pray."

    However, I have tunnel vision and can exclude everything from my field of vision except the intended target. That would make me a poor LEO since I would be unaware of my surroundings and perhaps other bad guys in the area. One needs to have 360 deg. vision to keep himself alive in some situations. This 360 vision also hampers accurate shooting.
    I imagine there are many hunters out there without the ability to focus intently on the object they are shooting at. That may account for many gut-shot and missed animals.
     
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  17. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Yes.

    IIRC there are over 1.5 million animal species with more than 1 million being insects, so we are covering a lot of ground covering the entire animal kingdom. It might take days or weeks for some pesticides to work, never timed individual deaths of them. I have also poisoned my fair share of critters, that can’t be a very pleasant or quick death but it is an effective method, sometimes, to get rid of pests.

    I suppose the argument even goes all the way to the top though. Some people think the guillotine is an unethical way to kill someone even though, by many standards, it is very quick. Often they think it is more ethical to lock someone in confinement for decades until they expire. On the flip side of that are folks that think that’s MORE punishment (aka suffering), than turning them off like a switch.

    The ethics of killing is an interesting topic for sure. Definitions seem to be as different as people and are subject to change throughout ones lifetime.

    I will say this, if I could, I would kill all pests instantly and forever. It is the inability to do so that has lead me to resort to likely much slower methods of extermination.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 6:59 PM
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  18. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I took no offense.
    Coyotes are overpopulated in my area, maybe everywhere. They are not even native to Iowa, there were few if any until the late 70's early 80's. The kill everything they can including dogs, calves, deer fox and all game birds. Credit where it is due, they also kill cats but that doesn't outweigh the negatives.
    Most fur bearers go pretty much unchecked now, there is no market for hides. I shoot dozens of coon in my yard every year.
    It may not be popular but I put turkeys in the worthless varmint category as well.
     
  19. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I won't say I have never used poison, especially for insects but when I can, I avoid it. I don't use poison on rodents except in extreme cases I use traps that kill them quicker though not as quick as I would like but auto resetting dunk traps keep running even when I am not around.

    That said if I cross paths with a bug that needs killed I step on it. If, due to the lugs on my boot or similar the bug is not dead on the first stomp I stomp again rather than leave it injured to die slowly.

    I have a similar opinion of Armadillo's I shoot everyone I see but despite not wanting them on the property and working pretty hard to kill them all I would not willing wound one and let it wander off to die if I could help it. If a wounded armadillo gets away I would feel as bad as if it was a trophy 10-point buck got way. Both has happened to me over the past 4-years.

    I guess in short I would never willing chose to kill a creature slowly if a faster option was available to me.
     
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  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I think as some point everyone has some kind of qualifier, as to what they would allow.

    To some, Jack Kevorkian was a murderer to others he was a blessing. Perception depends on the reality you have.

    Is it more or less ethical to take a shot you are unsure of even harming a deer vs. wondering how long a baby mouse can swim before it can no longer breath because you cause it’s lungs to fill with water vs air?
     
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  21. mcb

    mcb Member

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    No doubt, that is why this is such and interesting question. The qualifiers and conditions in which we will allow a living creature to suffer at our hand.
     
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  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    How about a human?

    Surely you’ve seen the Sally Struthers commercials, “for $ 0.50 a day you can keep a child from starvation.”

    That’s one for over two years for every $400 gun you buy but do you do it?

    If not, why not? Is inaction not connected with action?

    A bunch of thinking that might seem off optic but some people live a life where drinking milk is an exploitation of animals and killing one by an method for consumption would be against their ethical values, much less getting rid of them for convenience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 7:51 PM
  23. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I've seen this too, I hunted with a friend who bought a new Winchester model 70 in 7mm mag, a new scope and a bore sighter. Went hunting with same opening day missed at 100 yds. He never did a sight in. I did it opening weekend first shot at 10 yds was off 6" low 6" right. Did a gross adjust moved back to 25 yds got it on with one more shot and gross correct then put 3 in one hole on poa. Should have been real close at 100 yds. For the rest of the season. He didn't get another shot on game that year.

    I

    I have personally seen 3 wounded, shot by hunters, deer in my career 2 of wich I ended their suffering the third was ended by a member of my hunting party. That number doesn't include deer I've seen with severe injuries from other causes,.

    My sentiments exactly.
     
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  24. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Those are hard questions but fairly different than my original focus. No doubt there are lots of humans and animals suffering all over the planet but this thread was to focus on how much suffering we allow when we chose to kill an animal and does how we classify a particular animal change those metrics.
     
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  25. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I admit that the goal of killing an animal that is a nuisance often overrides any thought of ethics in how it is killed.
     
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