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Moments of Choice

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

the respect of others in the outdoors.

Whether you're hunting, fishing or using the outdoors in some other manner, there are always variables and elements that you can't control. Weather, wildlife and fish movements and many other events are out of your control. However, one thing that you can control is your personal behavior. Unethical behavior by one person can ruin an outdoor experience for others and give hunters or anglers as a whole a bad reputation. The continued existence of hunting and fishing may rest on our collective outdoor ethical behavior.

Join me in a series of resource related situations to test your outdoor ethics. All of the questions involve common field situations where you are required to make a decision on the spot. As you read the following moments of choice (MOC), answer honestly, reflect inwardly and dedicate yourself to high ethical standards in all future outdoor endeavors.

The rooster pheasant is trying to sneak away down a harvested corn row. He stops, thinking he is well hidden despite his gaudy colors. The season is open and he is well within range for your shotgun. In Missouri it's not against the law to shoot pheasants on the ground. Should you shoot?

One of the basic ethical codes for hunting upland game birds is to flush them into the air before shooting. Shooting birds on the ground or even low flying birds can be dangerous for other members of your party or dogs that are working the birds.

Just a week ago your friend took you to a farm pond that had good fishing and she caught a 5-pound bass, which she promptly released after weighing it. You noticed she was protective of the pond's location and assured the landowner that you would respect his property. You've got the Sunday off and think you can talk the landowner into letting you fish. Should you go without your friend?

No. Good hunting and fishing spots often are hard to find and important to individuals. You were a guest of your friend the first time, so don't jeopardize your friendship or future fishing opportunities. The landowner may limit the number of people fishing the pond or not want extra anglers. Find your own spots and reciprocate by taking your friend to one of your best hunting and fishing areas.

It's slightly before shooting hours, and the wild turkey has been gobbling

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