Moments of Choice

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

nonstop for several minutes. As you near the bird, you see and hear another turkey hunter setting up on the bird. You are excited, and you want to call the bird. What should you do?

It may be hard, but walk away. Leave the bird to the hunter who arrived ahead of you. Infringing on another turkey hunter is unethical and unsafe. Good basic manners in the outdoors are a cornerstone of many ethical decisions.

The doe is only 20 yards away and an easy shot. You don't have an any deer permit this year, but your son has an any-deer permit. In fact, his permit is in your pocket. Both of you had hunted opening weekend without success, and your son is in school today. The doe won't be here long; she is already taking a step or two. You could easily shoot her and tag her with your son's tag. Who would know? Should you shoot?

No. The two people who would definitely know are you and your son. Not only would shooting the doe deer be unethical and illegal but imagine what your actions are saying to your son. It's disheartening when a father lies and cheats by killing his son's deer and ruining the youngster's hunting experience. To promote quality outdoor experiences and train young hunters and anglers, we must set and practice high ethical standards.

The dog is on point along the fence row. You step in to flush the birds, and a large bunch of quail thunder up in a heart-stopping covey rise. You pick out one bird and a good shot drops it. As the dog retrieves the quail, you notice the rest of the covey flies south about 300 yards onto another person's property. The land is not posted and you don't have permission to hunt there, but the birds are so close. You saw them land, and the dog is working so well. Should you try to reflush the quail?

No. Respecting other people's property is one of the foundations of good ethical behavior. Trespass is an "absolute liability situation," which means anytime you are on someone else's property without their permission, it's classified as trespass. In Missouri, land does not have to be posted in order for people to be held liable for trespassing.

No spring bird has ever gobbled this much for you. He's appeared almost magically twice, then

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