Earth logo

Ethical Hunters

Is there a way to be ethical if you are a hunter?

By Stephen Kramer AvitabilePublished 2 months ago 7 min read
Ethical Hunters
Photo by Scott Carroll on Unsplash

I saw a video that really bothered me; men posing as compassionate heroes, and getting so many views and comments labeling them as such… but they’re in fact, murderers.

I won’t share the video, because I don’t want to do them the service of getting them more “views” which today is as good as getting many gold coins, right? But if you really wish to look it up, you can find it online. It will probably come up easily if you search, hunters save deer from fence… or ethical hunters save deer from fence. Because that’s what they’re labeled as… ethical hunters. Can you imagine? What a phrase. Right up there with “jumbo shrimp” and “60% of the time it works every time.”

So, this is what happens in the video. These hunters are out, with their gear, with their guns, ready to kill some deer. But they come across a deer who has his foot stuck in a fence. He’s trapped. So, the hunters being the “ethical hunters” that they are, go over to help the deer. Now, I do appreciate this… helping an animal in need. And they slowly approach, trying to keep the deer calm, and they remove his foot from the fence.

And you watch the video and they absolutely want you to feel as if your heart strings are being pulled on and they hope to make you go “aww, those kind men.” But these dudes just rolled out here with large guns strapped to their bodies ready to go murder animals. How does one overlook this? How does anyone say the phrase “ethical hunters” and not throw up from laughter immediately after?

The idea that they wouldn’t kill a defenseless animal… the animal was trapped… they’d never kill it. That wouldn’t be ethical of us. That wouldn’t be sportsmanlike of us. Okay, is it sportsmanlike to go shoot an animal in the woods that’s just out there living its life? Has the animal entered into an agreement with you and it knows its game to be shot? No. The animal likely doesn’t know what you’re doing with a gun. It is the equivalent to a sucker punch. You’re out there sucker punching deer. The “ethical hunting” makes it sound like they wouldn’t kill a wounded or defenseless animal but if the animal isn’t trapped then it’s fair game. It’s still not fair, or ethical, or sportsmanlike. What would be fair is if the hunters previously met up with the deer, gave them guns, trained them to use the guns, then set a date and time when they’d meet in the woods, and then go at it. You, ethical hunters with guns, and the deer with guns, and we see who makes it out alive.

That’s a fair fight.

I don’t understand that they won’t shoot a trapped deer but they’ll shoot one that isn’t trapped. It’s still defenseless. It’s worse than bringing a knife to a gun fight. It’s bringing a set of hooves to a long-distance gun fight.

Now, I am an animal lover, and I am glad the men saved the deer. Truly. And then there is a part of the video that occurs after they free the deer’s foot. It freaks out a little bit, and then it relaxes, and it just stands there. It looks at the men on the other side of the fence and it sort of leans over towards them. The man reaches over and the deer leans in and allows the man to scratch his head. He even asks for the man to scratch his head!

And that’s the tender moment they want you to see and go “aww, look at how sweet that is” because the deer thanked the man for saving him. And the deer did thank the man for saving him. The deer knew how to express gratitude. Deer, and all animals, are truly much more intelligent than humans at large give them credit for being. It is an astounding moment…

…from the side of the deer. Not of the man. I love the videos where someone just helps an animal out of the kindness of their heart and then the animal expresses gratitude. Not a video where a man was intent on killing an animal with his gun, but then saved a trapped animal, and the animal expressed gratitude, and then everyone acts like all is well and fine.

Had the deer not been trapped… had the deer just been standing in the woods… this man would have shot and killed it. We’re supposed to think of him as compassionate solely because the deer was so unfortunate to get his foot stuck in a fence? If the fence wasn’t there… this deer never would’ve gotten caught… and this man would’ve killed the deer. We should be thanking the fence!

And by the way, I can be swayed from my opinion… under one condition. And I do hope this is exactly what happened. I just don’t think it is what happened. But I hope that the men saved the deer from the fence, experienced that sweet moment where the deer showed gratitude and leaned in and asked for his head to be scratched, and then the man scratched the deer’s head… and then the men saw how intelligent and caring these animals are… and then they said, “You know what? These animals are magnificent. We shouldn’t be hunting them.” And then they sold their guns and vowed to never hunt again.


Because if these men continued to hunt, then what happened? They had a heartwarming moment with the deer. And then a week later they came out hunting again and blasted bullets into another deer. Or… since I am sure they’re not able to distinguish this deer from any of the others… it’s very likely they come back out in a week’s time or two week’s time… and kill the very deer that they had that special moment with! Because they won’t know the difference between these deer.

So, why is this heartwarming? Why does anybody say “ethical hunting” with a serious face?

I do hope this video prompted these men to stop hunting. Or it prompted other people who watched it to stop hunting. That would be truly amazing if that happened. I just don’t believe it.

The human race, as a whole, is so close to coming to some very strong realizations… but they sometimes just CANNOT push themselves over that edge. Some of it is the fault of these people, but a lot of it is stuff that came long before us, and it isn’t our fault. We’re brainwashed into thinking certain things are okay, these things have been set in society for many, many years before we were even a thought. I used to have trouble comprehending some of that stuff. But videos like this… they’re so close to just opening our eyes as a whole. So close. We can just never make that necessary jump. Like, why do I say “aww that’s so sweet” at a HUNTER saving a deer from being stuck in a fence… but I then, don’t think… but he would’ve killed him had he not been trapped… and that should be considered the opposite, right? So, that should be considered bad?

Why do our insides melt as we watch a video of a dog being saved… while we justify hunting as “population control” and gnaw on a hamburger? Why is it not clicking? Why are we so happy to see the deer get saved? And why do we applaud the men who set out that day to kill deer? Why is it not clicking?

Because it’s all normal. It’s all always happened this way so it must all be normal. Right? Things just are a certain way before our birth so we must just accept them. Right? The way things were in America in the 1700’s and 1800’s… new people came along… were born into a certain world… and they just accepted the way things were, right? Nope. In the mid 1900’s… people were born, grew into young adults… and they accepted the United States as it was around them, with all its laws, right? Nope.

I guess it is hard to untrain yourself when you’ve been trained to be a certain way your whole life. When you’ve had influences around you your entire life. But hard doesn’t mean impossible. It is very possible.


About the Creator

Stephen Kramer Avitabile

I'm a creative writer in the way that I write. I hold the pen in this unique and creative way you've never seen. The content which I write... well, it's still to be determined if that's any good.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (7)

Sign in to comment
  • Mr.Smith2 months ago

    My man Stephen.Challenging people's heart posture while invoking critical thought and careful analysis.Was reading through some of the comments.I was reminded of the series Life Below Zero and what they do to survive and how they honor the resources the land is shrouded with all around them. Then I thought of a recent story stating that a man was mauled to death by his Pit bulls or by a different/breed referred to by his girlfriend.All 13/14 were euthanized,considered dangerous to genpop.Sounds like they were being used for breeding.A lot of unnecessary casualties involved unfortunately. Then I thought to myself a lot of movies I am starting to realize have under/over tones and messages.I was thinking perhaps that was one of the messages Predator was/is trying to get across.It shouldn't be the hunted by way of hunters but the hunted by way of the hunters. I now I am thinking of Hunter Biden. I used to go to school with a gentleman named Hunter Doyle. Your words invoke stable\calm cognitive calamity Stephen.Well done.Encouraging people to think with more then just their minds.

  • Constance Grey2 months ago

    Excellent work

  • Rene Volpi 2 months ago

    Unless you need to hunt for your very survival, I fail to see this cruelty executed in the name of "sport". Worse, If the hunter hunts with a bow and arrow, that makes the suffering much worse. I have to call it sadistic at this point. These animals have families too, so when a hunter kills a parent, they might be killing an entire family. Not because they care. Great post! Bravo!

  • I do have to dicker with you on one point, Stephen. The deer does know that it's prey, that it's an herbivore after which others come hunting. That's why it along with virtually any other wild animal we come across gets skittish around us (even big cats). My biggest problem with this heart warming moment is that it now makes it more likely that this particular deer becomes easy prey to the next hunter because it's wariness has been diminished. I have so many friends who are avid hunters. They do so responsibly in the sense that they've gotten the licenses that have been issued by Games, Fish & Parks that are estimated to be what are needed to keep the population under control so as not to have too many starving to death during the winter months or upsetting the balance with other species they might be hunting. That is as close to "ethical" as it's possible to become, unless they also happen to be doing their hunting to provide the necessary stores for themselves. Those who hunt simply for sport or for the trophies, not even using the meat, hide or other parts of the animal (honoring & thanking them for their unwitting sacrifice as is the custom among American indigenous), make it harder to understand. But I understand where you're coming from & have to swallow a lot of personal feelings when I'm around my parishioners & friends & small towns in the rural Great Plains region of the United States. When I was in college I was required to take a physical education course in three units. We were guaranteed our first pick & the other two were assigned randomly. One of those was a hunter safety instruction course for which I scored high enough to qualify as a hunter safety instructor in the state of South Dakota, though I was only 18 at the time & to the requirement for an instructor was 21. I thought it quite ironic inasmuch as I had determined long before that I could never bring myself to shoot Bambi's mother. (My brothers loved to hunt on the other hand. My older brother didn't seem to appreciate it too much when I pointed out that the story he told of having fallen down in the snow muzzle first & then never checking to make sure it was clear before firing it a half hour later could have resulted in a backfire which could have killed him.) That & my wife has a parishioner who gifts us a half hog every year about this time. She's not willing to tell them no & risk insulting them. My doctor has prescribed that I should be eating three ounces of meat every meal as it will help control my blood sugar between meals. I grieve for the hog with every meal but do my best to honor it.

  • Just because something has happened this way for a long time, doesn't mean it's normal. Humans are just stupid and it's us humans that need to be killed in the name of "population control"! To me, killing an animal for whatever bullshit purpose, be it for "population control", recreation or even for food, is WRONG. Also, another believe of mine is that a person cannot be an animal lover and eat animals at the same time. I have nothing against people who eat meat, it's their life choices. But just don't come to me saying you love animals. I will laugh at your face! If hunters can hunt animals, then why make a fuss when an animal kills a human? Why the discrimination? Why the double standards? And yes, like you said, they freed this deer and some time from now, they'd kill that same deer because they wouldn't be able to recognise it! I'm so sorryyyyy for this long comment. I got so triggered reading this!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    I'm not anti-hunting but let's even the odds. Instead of using an AK-style rifle with a 50-mag clip, go back to bow and arrows. It's not like we need to scavage for food any longer so let's turn it into an actual sport. No one sheds any tears for fish, but dynamite isn't used to catch them.

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Loved your nature story!!! Agree with you!!!💕♥️♥️

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.