Hunting ethics

Perhaps a poor subject title, pardon me. Neighbor Scout inspired me to start this thread.
How do the hunters select their prey within a species? Do you base it on sex, age, physical well being, or rather, lack of it? If so how?
If a certain species is particularly abundant or invasive, I personally don’t discriminate by anything other than size. If it’s too small to warrant killing for consumption I leave things alone. While hunting rabbits that had overrun a local city park we didn’t discriminate, and probably wouldn’t have even if we had know how to. I had killed two lactating ones, and I think my brothers got one full of fetus’ once. I think that in no way was their population threatened by us in spite of this. I also feel that when having food or going hungry are your options, you might tend to discriminate less.

Old school deer hunters often operated on the notions that females carried, birthed and raised the young and only a few males were needed to breed a large number of females, so the ethical hunter would kill males. By doing this the idea is the least amount of damage would be done to the population.

What modern biologists are telling us and also what I have seen here, where it is mostly bucks only hunting that is allowed, is that a deeper understanding and more complete picture is necessary.

If there are only a small number of bucks in a population it will suffer. When the does go into heat the bucks will try to breed all of them. If there are too many does the bucks will run themselves ragged and go into the winter in very poor shape. If a doe does not get bread she will go into heat again 28 days later and repeat that cycle until a buck can breed with her. So if there are too few bucks to do the breeding the first time around many does will not get bread until later in the year. So their fawns will be much smaller and younger heading into the next winter.
I’ve seen lots of small fawns still with spots in Sept. here. We have mostly bucks only hunting and a very poor buck to doe ratio here.

In view of this a lot of people advocate more doe hunting in order to keep the population in a healthy state.

On the Colville Indian res. they have a very long hunting season for the tribal members only. I think it goes like this. Starting in July they can kill bucks only. Around October I think it opens up for does. The thinking being that by that time the fawns are not so dependent on their mothers.

Now, this is a shortened version and I’m sure there is plenty more to learn and understand about this yet.

A lot of contemporary ideas about hunting ethics come from Disney movies and old ideas from the European hunting traditions of the nobility rather than cultures that hunted for food. Ideas like fair chase and trophy hunting.

For me if I am going to eat an animal and feed my family, I don’t want to eat a sick one. I want to eat a healthy animal and one that will be tender and enjoyable to eat, not old shoe leather meat.
I would not choose a sick looking animal or an old weak looking one. I’ve hunted for about 25 years and my kids grew up on wild meat.

For small game I like box traps partly because you can release an individual if it’s not what you are looking for.

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Yeah, I guess with the live traps you have the chance to find out the sex and health of most animals prior to das clubbing. Once I’m on my own land, being discreet about box traps won’t be as intense as it would be in a Seattle public park.

Funny that I never questioned the whole idea of everything being fine as long as you don’t kill the females. Thanks for the info Victor.

Good thread… guess it all depends on how hungry you are.

or how respectful you are. or where you are. and what you’re hunting.