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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.

  1. redneck

    redneck Member

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    If I need/choose to kill an animal I strive to do it as quickly as possible. I hate to see any animal suffer, let alone know that I caused it. I routinely tell people that the raccoon are just trying to earn a living the easiest way they know how, if they weren't causing damage and spreading disease I wouldn't bother them. Once they've found the horse or cat food in the barn there's no way to make them forget it though.

    That said, my methods do change a little bit between meat hunting and varmint hunting. If I want to kill a deer I try to use appropriate equipment and do the job with one well placed shot. If I have to kill a varmint I use whatever I have available and shoot however many times it takes. I'm not trying to save meat or hide so I just try to put them down quickly.
     
  2. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    I hate using poison, but not necessarily because I think the animal suffers a whole lot. I just pulled a rat (good size, probably would have been at least one taco) out of my attic last week, probably poisoned. I've posted before on my questions about drowning actually being any more cruel than any other form of death. I also question how much an animal (say, a rat) knows it is suffering after ingesting poison. From what I understand it makes them really thirsty, but I get thirsty without considering it to be "suffering". How thirsty do they get? I don't know.

    I've also got questions about how much central nervous system an organism needs to actually feel pain the way we think of pain causing suffering. Fish? Mice? Insects?
     
  3. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I pretty much agree with MacAR. I will add that my main reason for attempting to shoot game animals as ethically and efficiently as possible is I intend to eat them. Thus I want the meat as unaffected by both bullet damage, and distress caused by unnecessary adrenaline dump and lactic acid build up due to attempting escape.
    I tried eating coyote once, it tasted horrible, and that one was shot at 20 yards and DRT, I can't imagine what one that ran would taste like. Since I am not eating them, I'm not as concerned about DRT'ing them, I've taken running shots at coyotes that I'd pass up on deer.
    That said, I don't deliberately try to gut shoot anything, and when others have (accidently) done so, I have dispatched the animal quickly and efficiently. (ever hear a gut shot rabbit scream?)
     
  4. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Ethics are in the eyes of the beholder. My .02 is that as long as you are doing it legally and operating within the abilities of yourself and your equipment (which is what gets us those humane kills and successful recoveries) its all good. A "pest" like a coyote or feral hog didn't choose to be born a pest. Just because such critters can be a pain in the butt for a host of reasons doesn't mean they haven't earned a humane end. I would certainly be grateful for one- after all, I've seen it go the other way for people, more than a few times Those critters feel pain, fear, etc too. Don't be a jerk.
     
  5. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    To me, there is a difference between humans and wild animals. Wild animals are doing what they must to survive. Even if they take the easy road to a full stomach. They all deserve quick kills. And after every kill I do feel some sadness. However, there are humans I wouldn’t bat an eye if I had to watch suffer.
     
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  6. caribou

    caribou Member

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    In the Fall, before Rut ruins the meats, we hunt Bulls from a boat at river crossings.
    This is meats for my family and others we get for the coming Arctic freeze up and thin ice, and loss of day light.
    Im often chastised for shooting swimming bull Caribou in the brain, 5 feet away, amist the herds packing up and swimming, a .22lr wont exit the head and wound other animals, we dont panic the herd and have the calves separate from their moms, we dont wound any that way, we get exactly what we look over and clean the meats beside the river and let the carcass freeze up on the sand bar, in its skin and take it home for further processing/storing/eating.
    With no meat loss we kill fewer animals that way, as we dont have to make up for bullet damaged meats,, and we dont have to skin and butcher on the Tundra, so we dont have to start processing right away, because once you skin an animal , you have to deal with the meats, as well as protect from flys and sand/dirt.
    Its all the right thing to do and the hunt is very brief, a week or less long.
    When we have 20 or so Bulls put up we dont have to hunt again until March or so, so 5 months worth of food.
    My household easily eats one Caribou a week, or about 200 lbs.
    Comes to about 3lbs for 9 per day, easily.

    7,700 people, of all ages in our Borough, with the Western Arctic caribou Herd at 275,000 Caribou and the game unit is larger than Illinois.

    There used to be more people and each household had a team of dogs back in the day, so hunting pressure is way decreased nowdays.

    Same gos for hitting Geese and ducks in the head with a stick to kill them very fast and have no meat loss, alot of people think and say to me that we have to be "Sporting" and shoot them from below in the breasts and ruin what were trying to eat.

    Its not a sport for me, I could never tell my kids "I missed, so I let it go...." or some fairytail excuse.

    We find joy and excitement in "The Catch.
    Its our payoff and were gonna eat good, so no tearful prayers, but an excited "Thank You" and often a short ritual to the meats or fur weve caught.
    Not hi-five material, more like a smile when handed a paycheck kind of excitement.
    I do live in a Hunting culture, quite unlike Sports hunting in many vast differences and ways of looking at such.

    A thank you with a smile, as we were not killing the animals out of hate or with anger, but need and with respect. Its the oldest chase.

    Thats where Killing as fast as possible comes in, and its done.
     
  7. upptick

    upptick Member

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    My wife grew up on a sheep ranch where every meal included piles of meat. When she was 14, she took a job in the local slaughter-house, like a lot of the teenagers. It changed her. She said slaughtering the lambs within earshot of their mothers — and witnessing the distress of the mothers -- caused her to have nightmares. She decided that it was simply too cruel and inhumane to slaughter animals for food, particularly when it's just not necessary for survival. She has been a vegetarian ever since. I don't necessarily agree with her and personally believe that the human diet should include some amount of animal products, but I do respect her ethical choices and admire her commitment. I wonder how many other people would become vegetarians if they had to kill and dress their own animals. At least hunters eat what they kill, which makes it ethically defensible, seems to me. Killing varmints for fun, on the other hand, is going to at least earn you extra time in purgatory if you're lucky...
     
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  8. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    You gonna kill it? Kill it.
    Coming to the decision to kill.....well that's something everyone has to figure out for themselves.

    I see zero difference in killing a deer, sheep, goat, dog or cat....or anything else I've ever killed. Its alive and I've decided to make it not alive anymore.
    My reasons are my own (I'm sure as hell not killing something just because someone tells me to), and the only time I've ever felt conflicted, it's been when putting down animals because they were suffering.
    Would it be kinder/right to let them go and perhaps survive, or kill them quickly to avoid extending needless suffering?
    Otherwise, if there's any question in my mind if killing is the right thing to do, then it's not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  9. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    My wife this past fall serious injured a wood chuck trying to get under the house. She picked a softball, used as a dog toy, threw it to scare it away and hit Irvin the head. She felt awful, I finished it off ending it's suffering, but it stuck with her she still feels bad every time that chick is mentioned.
     
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  10. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    Shot 3 raccoons 10mins ago. I can’t have those chumps around my livestock, but I still took careful aim at the spot between the two shining eyes looking down at me from a tree. Lights out before they hit the ground.
     
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Fair enough, if we made a thread about, anything in the animal kingdom that one would kill by any means or any circumstances that would allow one to alter their moral principles that govern behavior or the conducting of an activity (ethics). We could see how they are different from one to another and are movable within every individual too.

    In some States, it’s illegal to shoot say a deer that has been hit by a car and suffering while dying slowly. Do you break the law and finish it off with a single shot quickly and risk arrest and jail time for yourself or allow it to continue to suffer?
     
  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Around here it’s called “the skillet shot.” A non “sporting” way of feeding yourself. Again depends on the person and how much they like to eat.

    Isn’t it odd that “sporting” or “fair” ways actually increase the chance an animal might just become wounded or die a less instant death?

    The “furthest shot” question would be a great one for those who chastise you, as well as what is the nearest distance they would ethically take. Would be interesting to know the difference in acceptable distances others have, both near and far.
     
  13. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    No....no caveats. We should strive to make clean humane kills regardless of what animal is in our sights. Anything else is just sick. Taking a poor shot on a animal just because it's not a prized "game" animal shows poor ethics that more than likely, probably trickles down into one's "game" hunting. Those likely to "gut shoot" a 'yote by "accident", are probably likely to "gut shoot" their next deer too. The only caveat to me would be in the scenario of quickly defending oneself from an attack, either to oneself or one's property. In those scenarios, altho I would still strive to make a quick kill shot, I would not pass up a shot only because it was not a high percentage shot.
     
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  14. mcb

    mcb Member

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    What is legal is not always right and what is right is not always legal.

    I have had the misfortune of being in a very similar situation to what you describe twice in my life so far. In both cases it was illegal for me to have killed the mortally injured animal in question. In one situation I did intervene and in the other I did not. I have regrets from both situations. Sometime there is no good decision only less bad ones.

    But this does slightly miss the focus of the thread, where the focus is about how much suffering we will allow when we choose to kill something and does that animals status/label or other conditions effect that allowable amount of suffering. Clearly we all have some variability in that. I would like to think I minimize my variability as I really do try to avoid unnecessary suffering of the creatures I choose to kill if at all possible and their status/label and the particular situation does not diminish or enhance my desire for a quick kill.
     
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    What makes one man follow the law, another do what’s right and who is deciding what “right” is.

    Same looping argument.

    I haven’t ever tried to extend any animals suffering, of that counts. There are a number of animals I just can’t kill fast enough to even keep their population under control.

    I must say some methods I have used are not selective in what animals they kill. So if I dust my tomato plants I can kill stuff I didn’t even want to or need to they just had the misfortune of hanging out in the same place as something that ate what I intended to. Again, all I really know is effectiveness of some methods they don’t even talk about expediency of death on the labels.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  16. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    You make it sound like I enjoy it.

    But, I think Entropy said it best:

    For the record, I've never taken what I consider to be a poor shot on animal. I've had to track a few of them, but I have found 99% of all animals I've ever shot. The other 1% are usually groundhogs or possums that made it into their hole to die. So what? Dead is dead and I will not feel sorry for them. Ethics do not and will not enter into the defense of my crops and livestock from any predator/varmint. I will even go on to say that emotion doesn't enter into hunting for me. It's a means to put food on my table, as God intended. Just like growing a garden or killing a chicken for Sunday supper. I grew up looking at game as food, not as trophies. There have never been any tearful prayers or hi-fives, but as @caribou put it, simply a bit of thankfulness that there's meat on the table or one less varmint to worry about. It's my staunch belief that if you "feel sorry" for something, you might ought'en to kill it. As for me, I like to eat meat.

    Mac
     
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  17. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

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    Personally, I was taught that you didn't kill unless you needed to and if you needed to then you did as quickly and effectively as possible. That meant different things for different animals in different situations.

    If it was a fox, raccoon, or coyote that had gotten into the hen house then it meant shooting it with whatever was readily available until it was dead, even if that meant that the firearm used or first shot you took wasn't ideal. Those same animals out in the surrounding woods would either be let walk or taken with a good clean shot that would kill it quickly.

    Deer that were damaging our crops would get shot even if you had to use what would otherwise be considered illegal means (ie. spotlighting, 22LR to the head, or shooting them out of the truck) but once the crops were harvested and we were actually hunting them, we would only take mature animals and would be extremely selective of what shots we took.

    Does that mean that one or the other was killed unethically? In my opinion, the answer is no, they were just killed differently. I believe that every animal my family ever killed on our farm or while hunting was killed in as humane and ethical a manner as was possible.

    It's also illegal to kill livestock or pets that have been stuck by vehicles in most states. For myself, I will do what allows me to sleep at night regardless of whether the law allows it or not.

    And in the end I think that is what defines ethical hunting/killing. It may or may not be the legal thing to do in that particular situation but it is the right thing to do in that particular situation.
     
  18. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    Respectfully disagree. There certainly are caveats. Have you never used a mouse trap or poison? Would you consider a leg hold trap ethical for deer? There clearly are differences.
     
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  19. wombat13

    wombat13 Member

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    This is what it comes down to for me as well. Rodents in my home or cabin will be killed using any means that will work safely. I use poison and traps on them that certainly induce suffering, perhaps a great deal of suffering. I would never use a method likely to cause such suffering on a deer or other game animal. Why? The rodents can cause significant problems. Rodent droppings are unhealthy and they can cause damage to the house. Secondly, I can't chase mice around the house all day and night, so traps and poison it is. I try to head shoot and dispatch the red squirrels if they get too close to the house, but won't worry too much if they run off (other than that maybe the won't die).

    Game animals are different. Unlike caribou, my family will not won't go hungry if I don't bring back an animal and those deer and turkey aren't causing me any trouble. So I take great effort to minimize game animal suffering.

    This extends for me to every situation where I have to decide whether to kill an animal. I don't intentionally kill spiders in the house (because they kill pests) and put stink bugs outside (because they are easy to catch), but will kill all flies in the house with vengeance. On the other hand, a number of posters disagreed with me a couple months ago when I discussed my intention to kill two stray/feral dogs chasing deer on my hunting property. Why? They were causing me trouble. I spend thousands of dollars per year on mortgage, property taxes, fuel, etc. and they're chasing the deer around and off my property. That makes them a pest and I would kill them without qualms. As it happens, I got lucky and it appears the coyotes got them before I did.

    ETA: I shouldn't have written that I don't intentionally kill spiders in the house. If a spider gets the attention of the Mrs., then I'll kill it because at that point it is causing a problem, specifically marital strife. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  20. JustSomeGuy264

    JustSomeGuy264 Member

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    Wish I lived closer to you, I'd love to give you a hand with those "worthless" turkey's in the spring
     
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  21. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Excellent, valid questions.

    However, I've found that discussing morality and values on the internet only leads to shouting matches since there is no right or wrong answer, except whatever that answer is for each of us.

    Personally my answer is to dispatch every animal as quickly and as cleanly as possible. That said, there are shots I'll take on feral pigs that I won't take on a whitetail or other game animal. Why? First, because the goal with the pigs is to eradicate them, and I don't have to find them and place a tag on them. Second, because I often pay quite a lot of money for a limited number of tags, and I don't want to waste one on a gut-shot animal that I have to spend all day looking for, and the meat is ruined once I find it. But as I said, my goal with every shot is a quick one-shot kill. I think we all as hunters have that responsibility.
     
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  22. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Who waits till spring?
     
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  23. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I really liked the answer from the previous thread: "If you're going to kill it, then kill it, but don't hurt it". From the most insignificant insect to the noblest big game animal, that is how I've tried to conduct myself, and I don't want to be associated with anyone who feels otherwise. I think it is a black-and-white issue.

    The broader issue of hunting ethics is much more complicated and multi-faceted, though. Is it ethical to use a small caliber when a larger one might kill more quickly? Is it ethical to use a recurve bow with less accuracy and killing power than a compound? What about high fenced hunting vs. free range; is "ethical" the same thing as "sporting" or are they two different arguments? And what is the moral difference between catching trout from a stocked pond and shooting a pig fenced into a hundred acre compound? And if shooting that pig is unethical, what about asphyxiating it in a slaughterhouse?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  24. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    One question on ethics which I have been turning over for decades has to do with the enjoyment of killing: prairie dog shooting in particular. I can understand a landowner killing (or having killed) pests which put his stock at risk. I will even listen to the fellow who claims that prairie dog shoots on public land where livestock graze or horses travel is a sort of public service. But ultimately, folks who travel to the middle of nowhere to kill prairie dogs are doing it for no purpose other than the enjoyment of killing, and to little benefit to anyone but the scavengers. Is that unethical? I still haven't made up my mind on it.
     
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  25. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

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    I will absolutely agree with that sentiment with the caveat of "don't intentionally hurt it." I have unfortunately made a bad shot on a few animals, mostly birds or small game like squirrels, that definately caused the animal pain but that was certainly not my intention.

    To me those are two completely different questions. It's not sporting to use (insert gadget, lure, or whatever you don't like that some hunters do) but that does not mean that it isn't ethical. I personally don't find it sporting to hunt deer over bait but as long as the person doing it is selective and kills the animals as humanely as possible then it is ethical.
     
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