Elk Hunting Ethics
Just to give you some background, I have been hunting elk in Colorado for close to 35 years now, and I believe that there are three values that need to be passed on to the next generation of hunters–Respect, Reverence, and Ethics. I have shot one 5 point bull in this time, but the biggest “trophy” I have shot was a big cow that forced me to get another freezer. Hunting is about getting out into the woods and spending quality time with family/friends and not really worrying about whether or not you have something to hang on the wall or even if you put anything in the freezer.
Respect–When you go out into the woods for your elk hunt, you need to look around you and appreciate the beauty that is all around you. Look at the squirrel middens, the Gray Jay flying around, the way the trees are growing in a particular area, the vegetation under your feet, and most importantly the clues the elk are leaving behind. The areas that most elk hunters hike into are the places that the large majority of people have not been. Treat these areas and the wildlife you encounter with the respect they deserve.
Reverance–Whether you shoot a big bull or a cow/calf, you should step back and give thanks to whatever belief system you have for the gift in front of you. This was once a living animal, and as such, should be treated with dignity. Please take care of the meat and do not waste any edible part of the elk.
- Follow the law.
- Respect your fellow hunters.
- Leave no trace behind.
- Do not do something stupid that will get you written about in the news and give a bad name to all of the other hunters out there who are observing the guidelines above.
Remember, it is about the adventure. A time away from your job, a time to relax, and a time to reconnect with the beauty of nature around you. For me, it is not about the taking, but rather the completeness that I feel after having spent some time in the beauty of nature and the awe that I feel for the greatness of the outdoors.