Out There Southern Adventures ethos, morals and ethics.
When I first started hunting, you really couldn't have started hunting at a worst time. Helicopter hunting was in full swing and deer worth a lot of money. We hunted all over the place and saw nothing, probably took 4 years before we actually saw and shot our first deer. So from a Ethics point of view, if we saw a deer we shot it, regardless of what it was, male or female, time of year, big or small. And that was purely because there just wasn't the numbers and the opportunity to shoot one was just so small so whatever you saw you shot.
Our first Red deer. My Nephew Tony (left, My hunting buddy). and myself, awhile back now.
How times have changed. Right now 2023, I could take most able-bodied people out for a hunt and see deer, probably get them onto a deer for a shot or if it was me going out to get meat pretty confident I could shoot a deer on any given day.
Easy enough. This young Red deer stag photographed from about 10m
My ethics have changed from a 'there's a deer, shoot it' to 'no we don't have to shoot that deer, lets shoot that one'. Good game management is about protecting our ecosystems from over browsing by reducing female numbers but still retaining animals to enable hunters to get out and shoot an animal to supply meat for their family.
It may be you pass up this 4 point stag to shoot the hind. This reduces the breading population but allows the stag to develop. In afew years time that stag might produce a magnificent set of antlers and he can pass on his genetics to other hinds.
This young Red deer stag is a beauty and not yet in his prime. A few years and he will be a great trophy. So I did not shoot him. Only with the camera.
But I want also to hear and see the native birds so that might mean shooting more opossums or wild cats. Trapping stoats, weasels or ferrets. It might mean picking up that piece of rubbish and carrying it out. You carry it in, you carry it out.
Simple stuff like carrying a shovel, at camp dig a hole for #2's and then fill it in when finished. Shoot an animal carry out as much of the usable meat as possible. I'm walking along in the back country I pull out any wilding Pines I can. I will pick up others rubbish and carry it out.
A bit graphic but as you can see I take every bit of usable meat.
Hunters are probably the biggest conservationists in New Zealand and do a huge amount in pest control, game management and training of new hunters to respect our back country and have good ethics. And that is how I teach new hunters and back country users when they are with me.
The Aldo Leopold quote ' Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal'
I have gone from a 'see it shoot it' mentality to a 'you don't have to shoot it because it there' I get more pleasure now seeing how close I can get to an animal and getting a good photo than going out and shooting one.