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Am I My Hunting Buddy’s Keeper?


By Guest Blogger, Trent Doan

I recently had a friend who was new to western hunting start coming on hunting trips with my family. He has hunted before but in thick jungle type terrain, not the vast desert expanses of Nevada. After two hunting trips we really hit it off and have come to look forward to camping and hunting together. His wife also joins us although she is not a hunter – yet.

With many opportunities for conversation around the fire Joe and his wife Jamie have asked great questions covering field care to shot placement. I did my best to give answers that any ethical hunter and sportsperson would give. My hope was that the knowledge I gained over many years of hunting rubbed off on them.

Joe was lucky enough to draw a deer tag in a very popular area and had previously made plans to hunt with a mutual friend of ours before they started to come with us on our hunts. We had discussed other methods of hunting that other folks use, and to each their own – driving roads, hiking to the tops of the mountains or having a good time with friends and family at camp. For me there is a time and place for everything and as long as the states laws and ethics are abided by, then enjoy.

Joe found himself in a situation that I feel is unethical. His hunting partner took a shot at a deer and wounded him. The buck ran up and over the ridge then disappeared. Joe and his partner tracked the deer to the ridge and looked over the opposite side with no luck finding him. Joe’s partner decided to head back and keep hunting.

To me, that’s where things went bad. Why didn’t he continue to look for the wounded buck? Keep tracking, look for sign in hopes of retrieving the buck. I don’t understand why this didn’t happen. I also felt that he made a bad shot on the buck and if you’re not willing to make the effort in finding him, punch your tag the hunt is over.

You don’t get to just say, “Well that one got away…” and continue to hunt. That’s an example of poor  ethics and having a new hunter with him, what kind of lesson did that teach?

I was so angry when I heard of this, my immediate reply back to Joe was, “Don’t let him rub off on you.” As quickly as I sent that text to Joe he sent one back that said, ” I’m mad, to say the least. I’m a better sportsman than that!”

What a great response. I know that Joe will handle himself properly with the mindset of an ethical hunter and sportsman. Unfortunately, the next day Joe spotted a buck and this guy jumped out of the truck threw his gun over the hood and killed the deer Joe spotted before Joe was able to get off the road and get set up for a good shot.

I guess for Joe he will now appreciate the difference between ethical hunting and whatever this other guy does. Hunters are under so much scrutiny that it is guys like this that give real hunters like Joe a bad name. Knowing your limits with your weapon, practicing and just plain using your head can make for a fun and rewarding hunt. Hopefully, Joe will be able to have a conversation with his hunting partner and he will be humbled. Hopefully, he will learn from his mistakes and take some good ethical advice from a fellow hunter.


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  1. Scott, this is a great article. It points out the fact that not everything can or does go exactly according to the plan. What we do when it doesn’t speaks volumes about what kind of hunters we are. I think all of us have had our share of bad experiences. As we learn and develop our personal ethics so that we can live up to the standards of good sportsmanship there will always be challenges. Either we encounter someone else who doesn’t know the rules or we are confronted with a personal dilemma resulting from circumstances we can’t control. Hopefully it is easy to do the right thing.

  2. Definitely not a fan of people that blast on everything and too lazy to find it. That is basically poaching and wasting game. I would have started walking and him. Not worth losing my hunting privileges over and paying a fine being labeled an accomplice and having to pay court fees cause of this dip. Not a fan of the guy that goes out with his mothers, brothers, neighbors tags and shoots everything either. crooks. robbing the system and taking away from law abiding folks and giving good hunters a bad name.

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