From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- As fall approaches, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources urges everyone who plans to hunt to be an ethical and responsible hunter, according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.
In his 1994 book "Beyond Fair Chase," Jim Posewitz defines an ethical hunter as "a person who knows and respects the animals hunted, follows the law and behaves in a way that will satisfy what society expects of him or her as a hunter.
"As modern sportsmen and women, we are descendants of people who less than 100 years ago, witnessed dwindling wildlife populations due to unregulated hunting and widespread habitat destruction" Posewitz wrote. "They believed the only thing that could save many wildlife species from going extinct was the sportsmen conservationist. This was a hunter, with high ethical standards who believed in fair chase and who would follow laws and regulations established to protect wildlife populations.
"It also involved insightful sportsmen, like Teddy Roosevelt (credited with coining the word conservation), who saw the need to protect areas for wildlife and hunting. Furthermore, it was these past sportsmen that recognized the need to financially support wildlife, and habitat recovery and enhancement programs."
To this day, many state fish and wildlife agencies throughout the country, including West Virginia, rely almost solely on money generated from hunting and fishing license sales and from a federal excise tax placed on hunting and shooting sports equipment, ammunition and fishing equipment (Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingle-Johnson Act) to support their wildlife programs and operations.
"Sportsmen and women share a rich heritage and one that we can all be very proud of, as we have footed the bill for most of the fish and wildlife programs in West Virginia and throughout the nation," Taylor said. "As we begin another fall hunting season, let's uphold the proud hunting tradition we have inherited, conduct ourselves as responsible and ethical hunters, being sound stewards of the land and our wildlife resources."
Taylor advised this can be accomplished by obtaining written permission from the landowner, offering the landowner some of your harvested game, lending a helping hand on the farm in which you have permission to hunt, letting them know you appreciate the opportunity to hunt on their land, and by adhering to the hunting regulations.