Ethical Harvests and Hunting | Killing Quickly and Effectively
As hunters, we face a whole new set of challenges than thirty years ago. Government regulation, anti-hunting groups, and diversity amongst our fellow hunter seem to have brought a spotlight onto our sport of which many of us are not accustomed. It seems the sanctity and purity of our sport gets distorted more every day by the perceptions encouraged by the media and tales of perverted sportsmanship displayed by poachers across the nation. For some of us, bowhunting ethics and sportsmanship still exist. In fact, they are the very core of our sport and dictate every shot taken afield. Ethical harvests and hunting, making every shot count, and killing quickly and effectively are still the most important aspect of the hunt for us, and if you’ve read this far, we must not be the only ones.
The best way we can exhibit bowhunting ethics and sportsmanship is by being as deadly as possible. Every bowhunter has made a bad shot or misjudged the range of their target at some point or another, and those who haven’t surely will. There is an indescribable ache in your gut that comes with knowing you have caused that animal undue suffering. This is nothing to be ashamed of. This feeling comes from a great respect for the game we chase and a desire to harvest it cleanly and ethically. This is bowhunting.
The saying “practice makes perfect” is something bowhunters need to take seriously. The more we practice shooting in different scenarios and gain experience through encounters in the field, the more deadly we become and the more able we are to make every shot count. Many times, a bad shot in the field is not caused by poor form or not knowing your anchor point. Ninety percent of the time, hunting scenarios impose new elements to the shot that many of us aren’t prepared for. Loose clothing, hanging branches, and the all too common “Buck Fever” have all prevented hunters from making the most of an opportunity. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. You didn’t see the branch. The buckle on your arm guard broke. Things happen that are out of our hands that we cannot do anything about.
Some things however, we can prepare for. Try running up a hill or doing jumping jacks before your shoot during practice to imitate the increased heart and respiratory rate that comes with buck fever. Wear your hunting gear and take shots from the blind or treestand you will be hunting from. Have you buddy pull the target across the yard with a long string to imitate a moving target. Whatever you do to become a better shot, make every shot count. It will pay off immensely when it really needs to.
So, as bowhunters it is not only our goal but our duty to exhibit bowhunting ethics and sportsmanship by making every shot count to produce ethical harvests and hunting. To do this, we need to practice year round by putting ourselves in real hunting scenarios that are similar to those we will be hunting in. If you do this, you will surely become a better bowhunter who is able to make ethical harvests and hunting by making your shots count when it really matters.