Just because itís legal doesnít make it right

I normally attempt to pass on my knowledge of how to harvest game in my columns. I have found, more importantly than the how to, is the how not to in some cases. What is legal and what is ethical can be night and day for outdoorsmen.

For nearly all outdoor sports, there is an unwritten code of conduct sportsmen are expected to follow. While a few sportsmen out there repeatedly break these codes purposely, most haven't been taught or just donít understand why an outdoors code of ethics exists. I now realize that when I was learning how to hunt and fish, I fell into the latter category. For the new outdoorsmen out there, don't worry, there are a few ways to prevent stepping on others toes afield.

The fact that there is no book or handout on ethics for outdoorsmen leaves it up to the angler or hunter to draw the line as to what is proper or improper conduct. For self-taught outdoorsmen as myself, sometimes lessons in ethics were learned at someone elseís expense. Because the trial-and-error sportsman has no idea these rules exist, the only way they can learn them is by being yelled at or explained to by the more patient outdoorsmen that a line has actually been crossed. It then becomes the offending party's job to remember and refrain from that particular action in the future.

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