New hunters don’t always know all of the ends and outs of proper hunting etiquette, like new golfers don’t know that they shouldn’t speak during someone’s back swing. Know the etiquette before hitting the woods, give respect and get respect.
Following laws and regulations, respecting land owners, other hunters and the game that you hunt will ultimately make you a better hunter and conservationist. Below are some tips to follow if you are new to hunting, or if you just want to learn what needs to be done to represent hunting in the right way.
Laws and Regulations
Hunters should follow and respect all laws and regulations set for hunter’s safety and conservation. If the law only allows a single hunter to take one buck during a deer season, that hunter should only take one buck during the deer season. If the law prohibits hunting deer with spotlights after dark, you should not attempt to hunt deer after dark.
Regulations in Kentucky require hunters to wear a blaze orange hat and a blaze orange vest during any firearm season. Hunters are required to log a harvest on the back of their hunting license and they are required to call the harvest in on the Telecheck system. The Telecheck system records harvests so as to track the number of deer that are taken by hunters each year.
Laws and regulations are not set in place to impede on the hunting experience, they are set to improve the hunting experience. Regulating buck harvests is part of conservation and it is a hunter’s obligation to act as a conservationist in field.
Conservation is the protection and management of resources, a conservationist is an advocate of environmental conservation. If hunters wish to continue to enjoy the outdoors they must take care of their surroundings.
Hunting deer in the dark would require a spotlight and deer freeze when a bright light hits their eyes. This is not hunting, it does not take skill to pull up to a field shine bright lights at deer and shoot. These laws are put into place to protect fair chase.
Hunters must wear a blaze orange hat and vest during firearm seasons for the safety of everyone in the woods. Hunters are required to check in their harvest with the Telecheck system so that data can be collected to help improve conservation efforts.
The 2011-2012 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide lists all of the rules and regulations that a hunter should know and follow. Being aware of these rules make you a better hunter and a better conservationist.
Respect property owners and property lines
A hunter should always respect land owners and property boundaries. Land owners provide hunters with a place to hunt and it is important to be respectful in response to that hospitality. Most hunters in Kentucky hunt on private land because 95 percent of the land in the Bluegrass State is privately owned, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Web site.
If you have been fortunate enough to be permitted to hunt on private property here are some ways you can respect the land owner.
Follow his guidelines and wishes for his property. If the land owner has cattle on the property and they have gates opened or closed where you need to cross, make sure you leave those gates the way you found them. If you leave a gate open that is supposed to be closed and cattle get where they aren’t supposed to be, you might be out of a place to hunt.
If the land owner allows you to drive through the property to get closer to an area be respectful with your means of transportation. If you are on a dirt road and it’s damp or muddy, don’t rip and tear through the area. Avoid leaving huge ruts and tire divots by driving slow. Take the time to make sure you are doing your best to keep the road looking the way it did before you got there.
If you bring your lunch to the woods don’t leave trash on property that isn’t yours. If participate in any type of hunting where you are using a gun, pick up your shell casings after you shoot. You start leaving soda cans, bottles; sandwich bags and Snickers wrappers down in the woods you are bound to losing your hunting paradise.
Respect the land owner’s property boundary. The woodlot just on the other side of the fence may look like a dandy place to find a good buck, but don’t’ even think about it. The last problem a land owner needs is the neighbor calling about seeing you on their property. Stay on the property you have consent to be on.
The land owner was kind enough to allow you to hunt on their property, show your appreciation through random acts of kindness. Bake the land owner cookies around the holidays and offer them some of the meat from the game you harvested off of their land. Offer to help fix fencing on the farm; buy them a new cattle gate, help them cut tobacco, this hard work will show them that you care.
Respect other hunters and their property
All hunters should respect other hunters in the woods to ensure that everyone enjoys each hunting experience.
If you are scouting and you walk up to an empty tree stand and it isn’t yours, this isn’t an opportunity claim it as yours. If you don’t know who the tree stand belongs to don’t touch it. If you see a trail camera hanging on a tree and you know it isn’t yours, don’t take it off of the tree.
Being respectful toward other hunters and their property is especially important when hunting public property. Everyone has equal rights to the hunting area as long as they are following laws and regulations of the public land. If you are hunting private property with other hunters always ask them where they have tree stands and trail cameras so you are aware. If someone is hunting private land without permission, report that hunter to the land owner.
Respecting other hunters on private land is important because it maintains order on the property. Don’t sit in another hunter’s tree stand if you didn’t ask them for permission. If you’re headed back to the truck after a hunt, don’t walk through another hunter’s area when you know they are still hunting.
Always keep in mind that there are more hunters in the woods than just you. If you shoot a turkey or deer, don’t hoot, holler and scream after the harvest. This is not to say you can’t be excited, but screaming for all to hear is disrespectful to others. If another hunter is hunting close by and you’re screaming, you ruined their hunt because no animal is going to come into that area after hearing a human voice.
Be aware and think about how upset you would be if someone screamed and yelled in your hunting area. Respect and disrespect can be handed down in several ways.
Respect the game
Respecting the game should be a top priority for all hunters because the animals provide the food. Don’t defy the beauty of a deer by emptying your ammo at it. Strive to harvest the game you’re after in the most efficient way possible.