7 Worst Offenses in Hunting Etiquette

7 Worst Offenses in Hunting Etiquette

We define a break in hunting etiquette as "an action by one male to another male friend which violates understood social expectations, especially where the transgressor obtains a slight advantage in comparison with a relatively large inconvenience imposed upon the aggrieved party."

The world of hunting is full of them. Here are some of the most egregious examples.

Not Breaking In Your Boots Before a Trip

This problem has caused more blown hunts than bad weather and angry spouses combined. You make plans to pack into an elk spot that's eight miles into a designated wilderness area for a weeklong hunt. You urge your partner to get into shape, do some jogging, and for God's sake, make sure his new boots are broken in. Really, really broken in. You suggest that he wear his boots to work everyday, however warm his feet might get, and to take some long hikes and even do some jogging in them. When he shows up at the trailhead you see that his boots are still so new and shiny that he'd be able to return them without a hassle from the sale's clerk. You mention this to him, and he says, 'Yeah, but they're really comfortable. The guy at the store said that they're kind of built to be already broken in. ' The next morning, it takes forever to get out of camp because he's dinking around with bandage duct tape as he tries to pad his mutilated heels. That day, you cover a third of the ground you might have. All the while, you listen to him complain.

Sleeping In

This was a much bigger problem for me back when I was a college kid in Montana whose only interest beyond hunting and fishing was drinking in bars. You'd be out at the local watering hole downing beers and/or cocktails, and you and a pal start talking about how the lakes and ponds are beginning to freeze up and the ducks are really starting to congregate on the river. You agree that it'd be a great idea to get up really early and do a float for waterfowl and maybe set up some decoys — even though really early is just three hours away. You go home and load everything up: the canoe, paddles, decoys, some food and extra clothes because your buddy never packs properly. Then, you get two hours of sleep and wake up with a splitting headache. Never mind the headache, you hop in your truck and drive to your buddies. You wait. Then you honk and wait some more. Then you knock and wait. Then you pound on the door and wait. Then you pound on his window and wait. He finally comes to the door and says, 'Man, I forgot that I have something I'm supposed to do this morning. '

Not Putting Your Time or Money -- or Mouth -- Where Your Heart Is

This is perhaps the biggest offense of them all. It happens when a guy loves to complain about losing his hunting spots. Or not seeing much game. Or finding that the good areas are too crowded with other hunters. Or that his state's hunting laws seem to be coming from PETA rather than biologists. But he doesn't belong to a single conservation organization. He votes for political candidates who want to drill or develop crucial pieces of wildlife habitat. He's afraid to argue the proper side of controversial environmental issues for fear of looking like a tree-hugger in front of his co-workers. He doesn't give financial or volunteer support to sportsman's groups such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership because he blew all his time and money playing golf over the summer.

Giving Away Spots

This is a version of No. 1, and happens almost as often. You take a buddy to one of your hunting spots a few times, and eventually he gets the hang of the area. Since you're going to be busy for the next few weeks, or out of town, you tell your buddy to go ahead and hit the spot while you're away. No problem. Then, you get home and you realize that your buddy has been hunting the spot with his buddies, and now those guys are doing the same thing with their own friends. This dick move leads to hunting spots that aren't good for anyone. Of course, I'm not saying that you shouldn't share your spots with your friends. But I am saying that you shouldn't think that agreements of exclusivity are implicit. Be clear. If you don't want your buddies to tell their friends about your spot, say something tactful. I find that the following sentences works well: 'Listen, dude. Never take anyone out here. Ever. '

Bailing on Game Cleaning

Because I'm such an ardent proponent of eating wild game, and have such strong opinions, I've been stuck with the cleaning duties more times than Cinderella. This offense always starts the same way: You have a great day's hunt and get a limit of geese, squirrels, pheasants, quail, rabbits or whatever. Your buddy is totally gung-ho during the hunt, but afterward you notice that his enthusiasm is beginning to wane. He looks sleepy and distracted. You start plucking birds and your buddy suggests that you should maybe just breast them out in a hurry. You remind your buddy that the state's wanton waste laws prohibit you from discarding the legs. He suggests that maybe you maybe just skin them instead of plucking them. You say that it's better to pluck them, as it's less wasteful and they taste better and it's thus well worth the investment of time. He says that he's now running late, and that the missus is going to be pissed as hell as him. He takes a couple of the plucked birds as his share and leaves you with the rest. You pluck, alone, for hours.

Stealing Spots

This one is best explained through a short story. A buddy of mine from Fairbanks has a great story about an acquaintance asking to be taken along on a grouse hunt. The acquaintance insisted on driving separately, and followed my buddy to his secret grouse area along an obscure 4x4 trail just outside of town. As they geared up to head into the woods, the acquaintance got a text message announcing some 'emergency ' that had summoned him back to town. The next day, my buddy drove out to hunt a nearby area before work and noticed that the acquaintance's vehicle was in the exact spot that he'd shown him the day before.

Saying, \"I Know I Got That One!\"

This offense is more generally the realm of bird hunters, where there's a good chance that multiple guys are gunning at the same bird. It usually goes like this:

You and a couple buddies are pushing a patch of pheasant cover. Throughout the morning, one of your buddies misses a number of easy straightaway shots. He gets a little annoyed and discouraged. Later, a bird kicks up far out and off to the right. The bird does a quartering away crossover. You draw a bead, calculate a huge lead, and the bird drops from the sky just as your buddy's gun goes off. He then cries out, 'I know I got that one! I was right on him. ' While your initial tendency might be to say no way, and cite the number of easy misses that he's racked up so far, it's better to treat his claim with little or no acknowledgement. Try saying, 'Well, there, Sharpshooter, you best run over and get your bird. '

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 14: Swamp Bulls

With his Mozambique forest bull in the salt, Craig Boddington sets his sights on the Marromeu grasslands in pursuit of a swamp buffalo.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From deer to bear, these 10 big-game rifle cartridges have proven themselves most worthy in the field. Ammo

Top 10 Big Game Cartridges for North America

Joseph von Benedikt

From deer to bear, these 10 big-game rifle cartridges have proven themselves most worthy in...

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Is there any fall activity more enjoyable than a good ole' bonfire? Just imagining gathering around Stories

Redneck Bonfire Really Lights Up a Party

Awesome Rednecks - September 16, 2013

Is there any fall activity more enjoyable than a good ole' bonfire? Just imagining gathering...

Go Long While hunting skill is paramount to the sport 'in order to gain a shot opportunity in the Stories

Versus: Is Long-Range Hunting Ethical?

Joseph von Benedikt & Mike Schoby - October 14, 2014

Go Long While hunting skill is paramount to the sport 'in order to gain a shot opportunity in...

For your redneck brother who is about to make the biggest mistake of his life is blessed enough to Stories

Redneck Bachelor Party is a Blast

Awesome Rednecks - September 23, 2013

For your redneck brother who is about to make the biggest mistake of his life is blessed...

Stories

I Went Hunting With a Girl

David Faubion - July 30, 2016

"It won't be easy," I told her. "In fact, you'll be cold, hot, tired, dirty and sweaty. Your

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now