The Hunter's Game
Hunting is very much a personal experience.
Hunting. Is it a right, a privilege, or something else? There seems to be a lot of wild animals and wild habitats left in Montana, so why should it matter if all the hunting laws, rules and regulations are closely followed?
This training program will attempt to answer these and other questions by introducing you to the origin and growth of wildlife conservation in Montana and throughout the United States. It will show you how our nation's initial attempts to manage wildlife were rooted in the hunter's need to practice personal restraint and reveal why your willing participation as a hunter has become so important to all the people of this country.
The trail you are about to follow leads to specific explanations and historic examples of: A. how our system of wildlife management came about; B. the role hunters and state and federal governments have in wildlife management; and C. why you and all hunters are so important to the future of hunting in America.
Make no mistake, how you feel about the laws, rules and regulations that govern the pursuit of wildlife-and your pride in the hunting tradition-will determine if hunting will survive as a healthy part of American society.
Why is personal restraint so important to the future of hunting?
Who Owns the Game?
Before wildlife was held as a public trust, individuals took what they wanted, when they wanted. These bull elk were killed in the summer: note the antlers are still in velvet.
When our nation was settled, most immigrants came from Europe where wildlife-and the ability to hunt them-belonged only to royalty or property owners. It was not always a comfortable arrangement. In England, for instance, poaching was the number one rural crime for centuries. Punishment for taking the king's game was harsh. In fact, at times the death penalty was imposed for poaching.
How we regard wildlife is quite different in the United States of America. While wildlife was not mentioned in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights, wildlife in the U.S. has always belonged to the people and is held as a public trust by each state. Resources "held in public trust" must be managed for the benefit of all the people, not any single individual or special interest group. This responsibility was established in a series of court decisions beginning in 1832 and extends into modern times.
The "public trust" concept is important to you as a hunter because it affirms not only your personal ownership of this nation's wildlife, but it also establishes an implied responsibility to care for its welfare.
When a natural resource like wildlife is held as a public trust which of the following statements is true?
Thomas Jefferson to Theodore Roosevelt: Wildlife's Dark Years
Subsistence, market, and sport hunting decimated the buffalo; little thought was given to the welfare of the species.
Thomas Jefferson, America's third president (1801-1809), sent Capt. Merriweather Lewis and Capt. William Clark west in 1803 to explore our nation's newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. When Lewis and Clark passed through Montana, they documented an awesome wildlife abundance. At the time, 60 million buffalo roamed the American West and elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep were in great abundance in Montana east of the Rocky Mountains.
By the 1880s, all that had changed. In 1888, Benjamin F. Potts, the governor of Montana Territory, looked across the prairie and lamented, "In many parts of the territory, deer, antelope and elk are openly killed for the hides only and no part of the carcass used for food. If this wholesale slaughter is to continue, the game of the territory will soon be exhausted."
Hides were sold while the rest of the animal was often left to rot.
The unrestrained slaughter of wildlife for market, subsistence, and sport did not just occur in Montana, but was being repeated all across America. In the midst of this destruction, Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, formed a club in 1887 to work with about 100 like-minded hunters for the restoration and conservation of big game. Roosevelt, like Montana's own Gov. Potts, knew that the citizens of the United States and its territories had to practice considerable personal restraint to preserve the nation's dwindling wildlife populations.
By the time Theodore Roosevelt became our 26th president (1901-1909), the buffalo were virtually gone from the western plains and Montana's own elk, deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep were reduced to small, remnant populations.
Which of the following statements was true when Theodore Roosevelt was president?
The Pioneering Years and the Commercial Slaughter
Montana hunters posing with their trophies.
Bucks, does, fawns—everything was fair game in those days.
When Montana became a Territory in 1863, the commercial, subsistence and sport killing of wildlife was underway. In 1876, a record 80,000 buffalo hides were shipped to market down the Missouri River from Fort Benton. Eight years later, those shipments had fallen to zero.
The market and hide hunting that so troubled Montana's Gov. Potts in 1888 continued unrestrained as Montana's early fortune seekers slaughtered wildlife for hides and for sale to the mining towns. Montana pioneer legislators passed many laws in an attempt to stop the slaughter, but without means to enforce the laws our ancestors' early efforts were to no avail.
Knowing something had to be done, Montana lawmakers created an official state position in 1901 to enforce all of Montana's fish and game laws. W. F. Scott became Montana's first State Game Warden and Montana's department of "Fish and Game" was born.
Montana's first hunting and fishing licenses were sold to nonresidents the same year. They paid $25 to hunt big game and $15 for game birds. By 1905, Montanans, too, would pay $1 per family for the privilege to hunt and fish. With that modest fee, Montanans gained a voice as wildlife conservation advocates that continues to be heard today.
Which of the following statements about Montana wildlife populations is correct?
The Nation finds a Conservation Leader
When Theodore Roosevelt (TR) was hunting mountain goats with a guide from Libby, Montana, it was reported that "Theodore talked constantly...about the necessity for conserving wildlife...Theodore had made of him [the guide] a staunch believer in conservation and he thereafter not only ceased to be a game butcher but had become a strong worker for its preservation."
"We are not building this nation of ours for a day, it is to last through the ages."
As president, TR was equally persuasive and he backed up his words and ideas with action. "Conservation of our natural resources is the most weighty question now before the people of the United States," he once said. "We are not building this nation of ours for a day, it is to last through the ages."
Using the power of the presidency, TR created the national wildlife refuge system, set aside 51 bird reserves, designated the first national monuments, signed bills creating five national parks, added 130 million acres to our national forest reserves, and created the U.S. Forest service to manage these public forests.
All of these things happened because there was a hunter in the White House. He told the nation "... the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination." TR's words still have the ring of truth. Today's hunters remain the most important element in conserving North America's wildlife and hunting heritage.
Where did Theodore Roosevelt's commitment to wildlife conservation originate?
Refuges and Law Enforcement: Seeing the Need for Management and Restraint
The Moiese Bison Range was part of Montana's growing conservation movement.
When Theodore Roosevelt's presidency was nearing completion, he invited the nation's governors to a Conservation Congress urging them to take up the cause of conservation. He later wrote, "It is doubtful whether, except in time of war, any new idea of like importance has ever been presented to a Nation and accepted by it with such effectiveness..."
First car of wild elk ever shipped out of Yellowstone National Park, March 1910.
Back in Montana, soon after W.F. Scott was appointed State Game Warden in 1901, he appointed eight deputies. Each of them patrolled an area that averaged 18,000 square miles, about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined. In 1903, forty-three arrests were made for killing wildlife out of season and other violations. Montana's first game wardens began establishing the principle that if we were to have wildlife we would all have to practice personal restraint and play by the rules.
Because wildlife was almost totally depleted, the distribution of elk out of Yellowstone National Park began in 1910 to restart herds eliminated by market and subsistence killing as well as sport hunting. In Montana the bison range at Moiese and our national forests were part of these restoration and conservation efforts. From these public lands the national wildlife recovery was launched. Following TR's conservation lead, Montana would create 12 wildlife refuges before 1920. Although more dark days would lie ahead for Montana's wildlife, a widespread conservation conscience had finally arrived.
What conservation ideas or principles had to be established regarding our relationship with wildlife during TR's presidency?
The Hard Times: A Setback for Wildlife and People
A group of homesteaders hunting for meat near Glasgow.
For Montana's wildlife to prosper again it would take the cooperation of people and nature. Montana's young conservation movement struggled as our state developed. Trappers, hide hunters, and miners were followed by homesteaders in the 1920s who attempted to succeed in Montana. That meant more subsistence use of wildlife and turning million acres of native grasslands under the plow.
Persistent drought and drifting soil rendered much of Montana temporarily unproductive for people as well as wildlife.
Initially, the conservation program responded with season restrictions, predator control, refuge expansion, and species introductions. Then, nature dealt a devastating blow; drought parched the landscape introducing the decade called the "Dirty '30s." It was a time of despair as a national economic depression stressed the people and drought withered rangeland, crops, streams, and wildlife habitat. Hard times gripped Montana and the rest of the nation and we learned the dream of wildlife recovery was going to be elusive for a while.
What forces were slowing the recovery of wildlife in the '20s and '30s?
The People Step Forward For Wildlife
In 1933 Congress passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act which established a permanent source of revenue for the protection of waterfowl habitat by requiring waterfowl hunters to buy a "duck stamp." Over the past 65 years, proceeds have financed the purchase of millions of acres of wetlands-lands that provide valuable habitat for waterfowl and hunters alike.
If the programs and reforms of Theodore Roosevelt and the state wildlife agencies were to work, the people and the government needed to come together for wildlife in the hard times of the "Dirty 1930s." The response of the people was spectacular.
President Franklin Roosevelt called the first North American Wildlife Conference to address wildlife conservation. Seven Montana hunters answered his call: Ray Lowe (Chairman of the Fish & Game Commission); L.W. Wendt (president of the Great Falls Wildlife Association); B.L. Price (president of the Montana Wildlife Conservation Association); M. A. Malone (Sanders County Sportsmen's Association); Emil Knoepke (Helena Chapter of the Montana Wildlife Conservation Association); Glen Smith (Assistant Regional Forester); and Ken McDonald (Fish & Game Department Director). The Montana and National Wildlife Federations formed as a result of this conference.
In this same time period, the U.S. Congress passed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act for a national refuge system and the Pittman-Robertson Act, a manufacturer's excise tax on sale of firearms and ammunition returned to states for wildlife conservation. Ducks Unlimited also organized to raise private funds for restoration of wetlands across the country. America's political leaders began to recognize that if we all worked at wildlife restoration, hunters and non-hunters alike could share in the opportunity to enjoy wildlife. Montana hunters did their part.
What was remarkable about the 1930s?
Montanans Launch a Crusade for Wildlife
Montana's wildlife trappers captured mountain goats, placed them in crates, and transported them by raft down the South Fork of the Flathead River.
When Montana's Wildlife Restoration Program began in the 1930s, the Fish and Game Department's official goal was "to provide hunting of all species in every suitable bit of habitat..." Three of the remarkable individuals involved in accomplishing this monumental task were (from left to right) Bob Cooney, Rex Smart, and Jim McLucas.
It's difficult to imagine Montana without great numbers of wildlife, but just a few generations ago Montana was a very different place. By the 1930s, game populations had been spent, and in many areas deer, elk, antelope bighorn sheep, and mountain goats could not be hunted. As surprising as it may seem now, eastern Montana was known as a "biological desert" virtually barren of antelope and deer. With the exception of a 3-day mountain grouse season in one county in northwestern Montana, the conditions in 1936 were so grim that game bird seasons were closed statewide.
It took a federal program, the support of hundreds of Montana hunters and landowners, and a handful of extraordinary and dedicated men to restore Montana's wildlife populations. The real hard restoration work had begun in 1931 when Montana wildlife officials began to trap and relocate mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
Bob Cooney, who at the time had become the administrative chief of the Wildlife Restoration Program, noted that the idea to refill the landscape with wildlife "seemed like the obvious thing to do... We wanted to expand the range of our big game species by balancing the number of game with the available habitat. That was our most important activity."
What efforts were being made in the early '30s to restore wildlife in Montana?
The Pittman-Robertson Act and How It Works
It's the Montana hunter who supports wildlife restoration and management through the purchase of hunting licenses and equipment.
The Pittman-Robinson Act (PR) places an 11 percent manufacturer's excise tax on all firearms and ammunition sold in America. The law requires each state wildlife agency to dedicate all hunting-license fees to wildlife restoration programs to qualify for its share of the federal tax. Thus, everyone who buys a gun, ammunition, and a license to hunt makes a financial contribution to wildlife restoration and management.
Montana entered the program in 1931 and has since received millions in federal wildlife restoration funds. When the program began, trapping and transplanting wildlife to depleted habitat and acquisition of critical game ranges were priority projects. From 1931 to 1970 over 3,000 elk were transported from Yellowstone Park to restart local herds all across Montana. To date, 250,000 acres of key wildlife habitat have been acquired. In addition, the PR dollars are used to support the scientific management and research necessary to produce, monitor and sustain healthy and productive wildlife populations capable of supporting public hunting.
Who provides the money specifically for the restoration and conservation of Montana's wildlife?
Citizen Conservation: The Rocky Mountain Front
Visionary hunters, ranchers, and biologists worked together to protect the Rocky Mountain Front as a jewel among modern conservation accomplishments.
Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is known as one of the finest wildlife areas in the world. Elers Koch, the first forest ranger in the area, hunted along the "Front" and in the wilderness to the west in 1905 and 1906. In 60 days of hunting he saw only one big game animal-a lone mountain goat. Elers Koch 's experience is another example of how near we came to losing our wildlife heritage. In 1913, at the urging of local hunters and ranchers, the Montana Legislature created the Sun River Game Preserve to protect wildlife species, especially elk. Enforcement of game laws added protection across the entire area. As elk began recovering they sought winter forage along the Front. To make room for this growing and important elk herd, a group of hunters and landowners formed the Sun River Conservation Council and led a state effort to acquire three critical game ranges along the Front.
In time, private organizations like the Nature Conservancy and the Boone & Crockett Club also bought ranches for wildlife. Where fewer than a thousand elk once struggled to survive, there are now 11,000. Grizzly bear, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, black bear and a long list of other species enjoy the benefits of actions taken by conservation-minded individuals and organizations. And today, all hunters are given access and welcome to share in these places and resources.
Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is rich in wildlife today because:
The Citizen Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission
Commission receives the "Commission of the Year" award presented by Governor Marc Racicot on behalf of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in 1996. From left to right Dale Tash, Patrick Graham (former FWP Director), Governor Marc Racicot, Stan Meyer, Darlyne Dacher, and Charlie Decker (absent Dave Simpson).
Six years after Montana became a state, our state Legislature created a Board of Game and Fish Commissioners to guide Montana's early attempts at protecting wildlife. Always selected by the governor, Montana law specifies that these appointments be made without regard to political affiliation and solely for the wise management of fish, wildlife, state parks and recreational resources of this state. Today's Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission continues to serve Montana citizens with an interest in wildlife without ever receiving any form of compensation.
In 1900, Commission Chairman Morton Elrod said; "If ever a state needed protection for game and needed it badly, Montana needs it now."
Through the years, the power and duties of the Commission evolved beyond the need to protect wildlife and toward managing today's most important conservation issues: land acquisition, hunting seasons, hunter access, and conservation policy, to name only a few. Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks commissioners balance conflicting public interests while remaining committed to the fish and wildlife resource of this great state. Their volunteer work requires wisdom, patience and enormous contributions of personal time and they serve so those of us who enjoy the outdoors always have the opportunity to fish and hunt and experience all Montana has to offer.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioners get on the Commission by:
Today's Conservation Professionals and Volunteers
Montana's game wardens use decoys to curb game and hunting violations. In 1991, a law went into effect making it illegal for a person to discharge a firearm at simulated wildlife in violation of any state law regulating the hunting or taking of the wildlife being simulated.
Perhaps more than ever before, management of wildlife today requires the cooperation of professionals and volunteers and, especially, a personal commitment by hunters to follow game laws and to show personal restraint. Successful wildlife conservation hinges on making sure wildlife have suitable places to live and managing habitats to meet the needs of the animals so they might prosper.
Scientific management was introduced with the funding provided by the federal Pittman-Robertson program and is the corner stone of modern wildlife management. Professional biologists work to meet the needs of wild animals. The conservation effort also depends on volunteers willing to contribute time to the details of enhancing wildlife habitat and production. Sportsmen and women engage in activities such as: building nesting structures for ducks and geese, fencing stream banks to restore habitat, planting trees and shrubs to improve forage and stabilize erosion, assist at hunting checking stations, and meet other conservation needs. These actions, and the personal restraint we all exercise in following the rules of the hunt makes conservation work.
In addition, through programs like TIP-MONT (Turn In Poachers, 1-800-TIP-MONT) hunters and others assist game wardens by supplying information related to game law violations or suspicious activities. This form of policing our own enhances the state's ability to manage wildlife. All of these professional and volunteer efforts guarantee that our wildlife will continue to prosper and delight Montana hunters.
What can you do to make a personal contribution to wildlife conservation?
Due to the conservation work by hunter groups such as Ducks Unlimited, duck hunters can be as successful today as those in earlier times who bagged ducks indiscriminately with little concern given to the welfare of the species and their habitat.
In 1937, one year after the first North American Wildlife Conference, Ducks Unlimited (DU) formed to preserve wetlands for waterfowl. Founded by duck hunters, their purpose is to raise money to protect important habitat. The money is raised through memberships and other forms of voluntary contributions to enhance, build, and restore waterfowl habitats. Since its inception, DU has conserved 10 million acres of wetlands and has raised $900 million. The benefits of their remarkable habitat work are shared by hunters and by bird lovers across an entire continent.
A more recent and similar example of citizen conservation is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) created in 1983. It was started by four Montana elk hunters with the explicit goal to benefit elk and their habitat. Since its inception, the RMEF has acquired, protected or improved, on average, 500 acres of elk habitat per day.
Hunters and non-hunters throughout North America and many species of wildlife benefit from these outstanding conservation efforts.
This work, and your role in it as an American hunter, is a continuation of Theodore Roosevelt's dream and legacy.
Private conservation groups like DU and the RMEF were formed for which of the following reasons?
Wildlife, the New Abundance
Play by the rules and enjoy the game!
Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson was President. He sent Lewis and Clark up the Missouri and they reported eastern and central Montana teaming with wildlife. One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt (TR) was our president and almost all that Lewis and Clark observed was gone. When TR was born there were 10 Americans and 17 buffalo per square mile in the United States.
Today, 100 years after TR's presidency, elk have increased from 30,000 in all America to nearly a million. Antelope, once down to a few thousand, now number more than one million. White-tailed deer, reduced to one-half million, now exceed 30 million. Wild turkey dwindled to about 100,000 birds, and today now number several million strong.
This abundance is not the result of luck or an accident. It was achieved because American hunters worked at restoration for four generations, complied with the rules, shared the hunting opportunity, and pursued wildlife only in fair chase.
Which of the following factors are responsible for wildlife's current abundance?
The Hunter Education Volunteers
Mother and daughter practice safe gun handling while crossing a fence during a recent hunter education field course.
All hunters between the ages of 12 and 17 must pass a Montana hunter education course before they can buy a license. In addition, bowhunters between these same ages, and first-time adult bowhunters, must pass a bowhunters education course before they can buy an archery license.
Every year about 10,000 Montana people need, and will enter, the hunter education program. All 50 states offer hunter education and some states require any and all hunters to have taken and passed a course. An education responsibility of this size is a significant challenge. Fortunately, Montana hunters step forward to volunteer as instructors for those preparing to take up hunting. Without this enormous commitment of time, energy and talent the state would have been unable to respond to this need. Initially focused on gun safety, these instructors made hunting one of the safest of all forms of outdoor recreation in Montana and elsewhere. Through the years, the education program has grown to also include everything from preparation for the hunt including how to care for game.
The program now addresses game management, laws and regulations, survival, wildlife identification, hunting-landowner relations and hunting ethics. This program would not be possible without the volunteer educators. Each year 1,600 of these people step forward and make another contribution, so that any Montanan who chooses can have a safe and memorable hunt.
How does the state meet the responsibility to teach the thousands of students who require hunter education every year?
Sharing Montana's Game
Montana game wardens enforce the law so that everyone who wants has an equal opportunity to enjoy the privilege of hunting.
The management and enjoyment of a public resource we own in common, and that is held in public trust by the State of Montana, requires a lot of sharing. There once was a time when wildlife was abundant, the land open, transport primitive and firearms marginal and we soon learned that we could strip all of the game animals from the American landscape, and ship the remains off to market by wagon, steamboat and behind coal-fired steam locomotives.
Today, with many more people, a heavy impact on habitat, modern transportation, and modern hunting gear, we have managed and conserved wildlife for everyone to enjoy. For some wildlife species in America, there may be as many or more animals than ever before. This conservation achievement was driven by a simple principle-we all shared in the effort to conserve and we all share in the benefit. Sharing is something we learned in kindergarten and a lesson we must retain through life. Sharing in the context of wildlife and hunting means participating in conservation, following all the rules and regulations when we hunt, and respecting that all other hunters own the same privileges you enjoy.
Which of the following actions represent sharing in the conservation responsibility?
Stealing the People's Game
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks enforcement officer Bill Dawson from Jordan with 90 mounts taken from two recent FWP enforcement operations in eastern Montana. Photo courtesy of the Miles City Star.
The notion that all the people in a society can share something held in common, like our national wildlife resource, is an uniquely American idea. As unusual as this is, the idea took root and has helped to make our nation special. A recent poaching case is a sad reminder that great achievements can be soiled by criminal activity.
Three illegal operations in the Broadus and Forsyth areas sold Montana's game in total disregard for either the principles of wildlife management or regulations regarding taking and transporting of game. State and federal wildlife law officers apprehended 53 defendants scattered over 10 states. The amount of evidence in this case was described as an "obscene amount of damage." Over 100 years ago Congress passed the Lacey Act making it a federal crime to transport unlawfully taken game across state lines.
The 'bust' of these poachers was a victory for the people of Montana. Wardens confiscated 90 trophies and the 53 defendants paid $179,000 in fines and restitution, and were hit with a combined 76 years of revoked hunting privileges. Montana is part of a "Wildlife Violator Compact" which means 12 other Western states will honor the period of revoked hunting privileges. As this network expands there will soon be no place to hide.
Which of the following applies to wildlife taken illegally in Montana?
There is More to be Done
Protecting wildlife habitat is just one of the many things hunters can do to ensure that future generations can enjoy Montana's wildlife and hunting legacy.
Over the past 100 years, hunters worked with wildlife conservation agencies to restore wildlife to depleted habitats. As we have learned, original wildlife populations were lost to market killing and subsistence as well as sport hunting. Effective law enforcement, wildlife management programs and cooperative citizens working for four generations have brought these animals back to a wonderful abundance.
We also know that there are many factors still damaging habitat, polluting water and a few people who still selfishly poach public wildlife. Yet, opportunities to contribute to wildlife conservation are still around us every day.
Montana is about one-third public land and two-thirds private land, but all of Montana's wildlife management decisions are open to public review. Those decisions will affect wildlife and hunting. The Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission needs public comment to help guide its management on all Montana lands and its inhabitants. Citizen conservation groups have become an important component of life in Montana. Some of these organizations specialize in a particular species like elk, mule deer, ducks, pheasants, or antelope. Other groups focus on land use decisions that affect wild lands necessary for the habitat security and fair-chase hunting. All of these groups need working volunteers and supporting members. We must remember that every individual contribution counts. Our predecessors taught us that if we work together, treat each other and wildlife fairly, and stick with the effort long enough exceptional things will continue to happen.
Which of the following is an example of where today's hunters can make a contribution to wildlife conservation? (Check all correct answers.)
Individual Hunter Responsibility
The hunting story stays alive as hunters honor the privilege afforded to them and pass it on to the next generation of hunters.
We have learned our wildlife abundance was delivered to us by hunters who showed personal restraint afield and who took personal responsibility for wildlife conservation. The miracle of hunting for all people from all walks of life would not have happened without our Declaration of Independence, those who fought to save it, Theodore Roosevelt's bold action; those thousands of hunters who stepped forward for conservation in the "Dirty '30s"; the private fund raising groups; and the millions of people who followed the rules of the game. These people accepted personal responsibility for the welfare of wildlife and their actions in the field. If America had been a nation of cheaters, it would have failed. America would not have recovered from the lawless slaughter that picked our nation clean of most game. Individuals in every generation for more than a century have accepted personal responsibility to keep the American wildlife and hunting legacy alive. For us, it is a privilege to be a member of the generation blessed with this gift. If this heritage is to be passed to the next generation, it will be because each of us accepts the conservation and hunter responsibility that came with this remarkable gift.
Which of the following statements describe Americans who contributed to hunting, as we know it?
The Public and the Hunter
How we as hunters behave and what is considered acceptable behavior changes over time.
One thing that has changed in recent years is the hunter's position in a largely urban society. What has not changed is the public's interest in wildlife and its welfare.
The public interest quickly translates to the importance of how the general public views the hunter. As long as Americans continue to view hunting and hunters favorably we will continue to enjoy hunting and a respected place in society. National surveys reveal general support for hunting. However that support is conditioned with expectations that: the animals hunted are not in peril of extinction; the animals are not wasted; the hunters are not killing for 'the fun of it'; the hunting is conducted in a fair chase setting; and, that all hunting laws and regulations are followed.
In other words, the public expects hunting and hunters to behave in a legal, honorable, and ethical way.
While strictly following laws and regulations is a straightforward proposition, judgments required of the hunter on matters of ethics, fair chase and honorable behavior are often difficult to make. What we can and must do, and what the public has the right to expect, is that we continue to do our best to maintain high standards of behavior while hunting.
Public expectations of hunter behavior include which of the following? (Check all correct answers.)