I recently got in an argument with my hunting buddy over what to do when our bird dogs flush quail onto an adjoining landowner's property, where we don't have permission to hunt. He says it's okay to go on that property and try to flush the birds back into our field. I say if we don't have permission, we stay off, including our dogs. What's the courteous thing to do here?
Fortunately, the old saw that says animals can't read posted signs doesn't hold true for humans. Unless you get permission to be on that property, stay off and keep your dogs off, too. Don't be surprised if your buddy finds fewer and fewer places to hunt in the future.
Dear Ms. Outdoor Manners, I had a problem last hunting season when the deer I shot ran onto property where I didn't have permission to hunt. I tracked it down and hauled it out, but I felt like a criminal sneaking around to retrieve it. What should I do if this happens again?
Ms. Outdoor Manners understands your predicament. Hunters should always pursue a wounded animal, but it's discourteous and illegal to be on private property without permission. If it happens again, you should first find the landowner and secure permission to go on the property to retrieve your deer. (A little target practice before season opens would help, too.)
Dear Ms. Outdoor Manners, I am a 14 year-old girl who cares about the environment, especially endangered species. I want to learn to hunt, but my friend says if I care about animals I shouldn't hunt them. What do you think?
Ms. Outdoor Manners says go right ahead and learn to hunt. If it hadn't been for hunters, many animals we now take for granted would have disappeared from our state. The money hunters provide through excise taxes on equipment helps pay for improved habitat for all wildlife, including endangered species.
By learning to hunt, you will also learn a lot about animals - their habits, survival needs, appearance and life cycles. Hunters develop great respect for their prey and acquire superior powers of observation.
Dear Ms. Outdoor Manners, I gave a nice young fellow permission to turkey hunt on my farm. The first day he brought his son, the second day he brought his son, his buddy and his son's buddy, and by the third day the party had grown to about seven hunters. The following week some of them came back without the young fellow who'd asked permission and proceeded to go hunting like they owned the place. I'll sure think twice about giving permission to hunt here in the future.
- Burned Up
Dear Burned Up,
Ms. Outdoor Manners doesn't blame you a bit. The young man should have made it clear to his friends that he was the only one with permission to hunt, and he should have checked with you before coming back or bringing any additional hunters.
Dear Ms. Outdoor Manners, "Don't do this, don't do that" - that's all I hear from you and other Goody-Two-Shoes hunters and anglers. We have great populations of fish and wildlife in Missouri, so what's the big deal about "ethics," as long as we obey the law?
- Manners Are No Big Deal
Dear Big Deal,
Ms. Outdoor Manners reminds all hunters and anglers that we can't afford to take our fish and wildlife privileges for granted. More people than ever before are quick to condemn us all based on the behavior of one or two slobs. If you don't like the word "don't," here are some "do's":
Do practice courtesy toward landowners and fellow hunters.
Do use common sense when handling firearms, and do show respect for the animals you pursue.
Do you have questions for Ms. Outdoor Manners? You may send them to: Outdoor Manners, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.
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