Some hunters lack ethics

Brandon Delvo


I grew up around the farm in NW ND, where many across ND and neighboring states come out to hunt pheasants and deer every fall. Since childhood, I remember fondly going with my father and being taught about the ethics of hunting. I watched as he told me to shoot by sight, not by sound. To always look behind the target to not inadvertently hit something like a house or grain bin. To always treat landowners with dignity, respect and to ask for permission. He taught me deer are a wild animal and that it can do what it wants based on its instincts. He told me to never assume the deer is mine because I saw it first.

Good ethics is looking beyond the Hunter’s Education curriculum. Using a firearm and utilizing terrain wisely in a safe manner for everyone.

I understand that receiving a Rifle Antlered Deer Tag in North Dakota is a treasured opportunity that many don’t get. That opportunity should be used wisely.

I make mention of these examples because I know many other hunters witness these same ethical violations as well.

I have seen where many hunters basically get, “buck drunk” and will do anything to shoot the first thing they see. They will watch intently on a buck they know is in posted land and wait for an opportunity to shoot when no one is looking.

I have seen and heard hunters shoot repeatedly at one animal. If one must shoot repeatedly, then one needs to go back to the gun range. A clear shot that kills the target is safe and a just means to ending the life of the animal in a way that doesn’t create unwanted misery.

I have seen where people will use a Gratis tag and hunt as a group, on land that doesn’t belong to them. A Gratis tag is for land owned by the bearer of the tag. Also, party hunting is illegal.

I have seen and heard where multiple hunters will be in a small PLOTS area and basically stumble on top of each other. How is this safe? Where a bullet can travel over 2,000 ft. per second. A truck parked at the gate should be the first warning sign.

You may be asking why I don’t call a game warden or call out a hunter directly. First, I don’t trust a stranger who is holding a firearm. Second, many circumstances are hard to record and can become a game of, “He said, she said.” Third, contacting game wardens in western ND can be difficult. I have called and have got a voicemail or an answering machine with no follow-up after a message has been left. I don’t know if the mission of Game Wardens has changed since the price of oil has dropped in western ND, but I do know during the oil boom that many wardens also assisted local authorities due to shortfalls in staffing agencies.

One thing we all can agree on is that we cherish the outdoors. I also know that Fish and Game can’t be everywhere at once. I know they value input and constructive criticism from sportsmen to make things better. I hope this helps to improve the overall outdoor experience, discussion and to raise awareness of improving ethics in hunting in North Dakota.