There is so much to be said about ethics when it comes to hunting and fishing. I want to open the topic of conversation with a short story about where my groundwork comes from.
When I was really young, maybe 5 or 6, my dad and mom gave me my first BB gun. We have this huge deck overlooking the backyard, so we set up a table down on the lawn with cans for me to shoot at. I will never forget the lesson my father taught me that day. He said something along the lines of: we don’t shoot anything we don’t eat, so if I find you shooting anything at the bird feeder, I’ll feed it to you for dinner. I was mortified at the thought of eating a chickadee or a squirrel. Both of my parents helped form the foundation of my current ethical perspective. Today, I only hunt what I like to eat, and I typically fish on a catch and release basis. I don’t feel comfortable taking the life of an animal if I am not going to use the meat. I spent a lot of my childhood trying all the different types of both fish and game meat.
I think that the teaching ethics at a young age for kids who are learning to hunt and fish is extremely important. This will shape them as a future hunter or angler. I also think it’s important to provide this perspective openly and honestly to anyone and everyone who will listen. Hunters & anglers sometimes get a bad reputation, which unfortunately some have earned, but we are NOT all “bad”. If we can openly continue to have this conversation of ethics, we can change the way that we are seen in the world around us.