November 22, 2019

An Ethical Shot?

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I was reading V. Paul Reynolds very good article the other day about how important it is when hunting moose, to do your best in placing a killing shot. What I got thinking about though was the idea that so many writers/hunters/trappers these days put emphasis on the term of an “ethical” shot or “ethical” kill.

Let’s first examine the definition of the term “ethical.” By definition, ethical means: “relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge dealing with these. Morally good or correct. Avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment.”

Hmmm! It seems we need to examine what “moral” means. “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.” Er, ah… or maybe: “Examining the nature of ethics and the foundations of good and bad character and conduct.”

Getting closer: “Holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.”

I think this one pretty much covers what drives comments about “taking an ethical shot” when hunting. “Concerned with or derived from the code of interpersonal behavior that is considered right or acceptable in a particular society.”

So, essentially an “ethical” shot means one that accomplishes the “morally good” conduct that meets the standing acceptable behavior in this particular society at this particular moment.

Perfect! Not really. It’s hogwash!

Geez! If we are going to get all “moral” about this issue of shooting and killing, then perhaps those opposed to hunting have some valid ground to stand on. I mean, seriously. Is killing anything “morally ethical” in this “particular society?”

We hunt for various reasons. To be successful hunters must kill. We hope the kill is quick, for more reasons than just “ethical.” Some practice their skill of hitting a target. Some are better equipped to make “ethical” kills than others. They have better eyes and coordination to make a quick “ethical” kill.

But let’s face it. When we pull the trigger are we really thinking about ethics? Or are we thinking much of anything except we hope we make the shot and not have to chase our prey all day?

I understand the desire of many to not allow any animal that is a resource to suffer when being taken. I think it is dishonest to lay the term “ethical” onto any taking. I think it is more ethical to be honest about the truth than to place some conjured term to the act of shooting to kill.

Perhaps we can find a better more honest word or term to describe simply a quick kill. Oh, hey! Why not “quick kill?”

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