I came across this great article written by the folks at huntingnet.com, and thought maybe we could learn a few things from it. It sure has helped me with a few thoughts and where my head should be. So I thought I would post it here in hopes it would help out with some questions you all may of had... . This isn't meant to change anyones convictions, but may shed some light on what others may see as the light....
Hunting Sportsmanship and Ethics
The following criteria should be the only one used for judging the status of any harvested deer: a trophy is in the eye of the beholder. Just as each sportsman must perform the ritual of the hunt alone and kill his own animal, he alone should be the judge of what constitutes a trophy.
Actually, putting a definitive numerical score on an animal's size before it can be considered a trophy is not only misleading, but also often irrelevant. Here's a good example: in a hard-hunted state such as Pennsylvania, where the average age of a harvested buck is only 1 1/2 years old, it is quite an accomplishment to locate and kill a six-point buck that's 2 1/2 years old and scores 80 points.
On the other hand, in sparsely populated Montana, the average age of a harvested buck is 3 1/2 years old and 120 points, and many bucks die of old age without hardly ever seeing a human.
Consequently, if the definition of the term "trophy" is a recognition of exemplary accomplishment, the smaller Pennsylvania buck should rank higher as a trophy because it was much more difficult to accomplish.
That's exactly how the Boone & Crockett (all methods) and Pope & Young (archery) clubs define their trophy qualifications. Even though Pope & Young's minimum requirement for entry in the record books is much less than the Boone & Crockett Club, this lesser score reflects the difficulty of getting within the effective 30 yard range for a bow shot.
But generally, both clubs are set up to recognize superior animals who have attained extraordinary size. In other words, it is the animal that is being honored. The sportsman is just recognized as the hunter who harvested it.
Hunting ethics is a term which defines the true standards, conduct and moral judgement of a sportsman. Some say that people's hunting ethics are also a mirror image of the rest of their personal lives.
Ethics for the hunter can be broken down into personal and public ethics. The personal ethics of a sportsman deal with the way he treats his sport, the animals and other hunters. Though often distasteful, personal ethics do not usually entail illegal activity. On the other hand, public ethics deal with issues such as breaking game laws, trespassing on private property, poaching, etc. Personal Ethics
Every ethical hunter should practice personal ethics as a way of showing respect for his fellow sportsmen and the animals. Instead of fighting over a particular hunting area, it is considered ethical to share the area or invite the other hunter to hunt it one day and then you hunt it the next day.
Personal disregard for another hunter's right to be in the woods should also be avoided, such as making noise to chase away game because someone beat you to your favorite spot, or putting on a drive where other hunters are stand hunting.
One of the most ethically irresponsible things a hunter can do is not follow up his shot. Always do everything possible to retrieve a wounded animal, including spending the entire day looking for it. Public Ethics
Party hunting, shooting an animal for another hunter, poaching, or leaving a deer in the woods because it is "just" a doe or small buck are not only grossly unethical, but also illegal. If the sportsman is supposed to be in the deer woods to commune with nature and enjoy the animals we love so much, it is reasonable that an ethical hunter would not even consider some of the above mentioned ethical and legal violations.
Today, hunters are waging a battle against anti-hunters. We're also waging a more discouraging battle against adverse publicity from those few unethical sportsmen who's actions give the majority of ethical, law abiding hunters a black eye.
Ultimately, public opinion will decide whether hunting as we know it will continue. It is our duty to do everything possible to win this war.
Remember this is just a little light reading, but definately made some sense to me..