Ethical hunting clubs, hunters, and non-hunters alike have been in an uproar this summer after learning of the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The fact that Cecil was a popular tourist draw, a tagged lion, and was purposely lured out of a protected area and thus illegally killed has given the entire incident much more press than most big game hunts. In the Cecil case, the hunter, the guide, and the private landowner upon whose property the lion was shot are now facing legal charges.
Ethical Hunting is Everyone’s Responsibility
If the situation underscores one requirement for hunters, it is the need to adhere to local laws and hunting ethics. Every hunter is an ambassador for the sport; we have a responsibility to each other to always practice ethical and fair hunting practices in accordance with local game laws.
Many big game hunters turn to hunting clubs and guides to help them bag their desired animal. These clubs must be held to the same high standards as the hunters they guide. Which begs the question, how do you know that the hunting club you’re utilizing is ethical?
Identifying Ethical Hunting Clubs and Guide Services
To find out if the club you’re supporting is ethical or not, ask the questions that are important to you, as an ethical hunter yourself, but also be sure to ask the following:
- Where will we be hunting? Ethical clubs have their own ranches or land or have agreements with private landowners to allow hunting.
- Do you have guides? Guides will be familiar with the terrain, the herd, land boundaries, and local regulations.
- Do you abide by the philosophy of “fair chase?” That means hunting the animal in their natural environment and hunting it in sporting ways. No luring the animals to you.
- Can you help me obtain the necessary licenses and permits? An ethical club will insist you have the appropriate permitting before beginning a hunt. They may even offer to assist you through the application and permitting process.
Protect Yourself from Accusations of Unethical Hunting Practices
- Make sure you have followed all of the permitting requirements for your hunt.
- Aim for a clean and quick kill, not an injury. No pride can be found in wounding an animal and making it suffer needlessly.
- Follow all game laws, including size and limits.
- Respect the land upon which you are hunting.
Take the time to research ethical hunting clubs for your next hunt and reap the rewards of responsible hunting. Visit the R&K Hunting Club to learn more about our big game hunts in the Western U.S and our commitment to being one of the top ethical hunting clubs.