The Ethics of Sport Hunting Essay

The Ethics of Sport Hunting Essay

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Aldo Leopold pioneered “land ethics” in the first half of the 20th century. Inspired by Leopold, his fellow professor at the University of Wisconsin, Van Rensselaer Potter, coined the term “bioethics” in the second half of the 20th century (1970). Both terms have a powerful social and personal component. Both terms connote an integration of values and the environment. So, too, do “hunt ethics,” an integration of values and an action based upon biology and the ‘land.’

The hunter has affection and awe for all of nature’s creations, perhaps more so than any other human observer, for the hunter must read the most subtle signs of his quarry, its habitat and its behavior, to be successful. If successful, respect and regret are dominant sensibilities. The hunter’s moral responsibility is linked to the purpose for which the quarry is killed. Is it for food? for the human joy of the chase? to build a tangible repository of memories? or to test the civilized human self against an amoral and harsh natural world? Buried within us, too deep for memory, but only under a few layers of civilization, lie the ancient instincts of the hunter/gatherer who makes no distinction between the artificial and the natural and who is entirely focused on the chase. Our Paleolithic era was millions of years, our Neolithic just a few millennia.

Today, triumph and power of possession have become common values for some sport hunters. By 2008, these latter values “triumph” and “possession” seem to infect the ethos of such hunters and their fraternities, especially the Safari Club International (SCI) and what became more recently, the Grand Slam Club/Ovis (GSCO). (Both of which I am a life member.) These values serve only the goal of the “collector” where t...


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... author of American & British 410 Shotguns , has been a mountain hunter all of his life with over four dozen expeditions for the wild sheep and ibex of the world. This book is a series of vignettes of some of those hunts, a consuming avocation. Ron’s professional vocation is that of a pediatric neurologist; now a clinical professor emeritus in neurology and pediatrics at the University of California (Los Angeles) School of Medicine where he had taught for 40 years. He is certified by the American Boards of Child Neurology & Pediatrics and certified as a Pediatric Neuroimager by the American Society of Neuroimaging. He co-authored the Textbook of Child Neurology for the first four editions and has authored other professional publications. Presently he takes care of children with neurological disorders and enjoys the company of a large family in Southern California.

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