Produced by the Izaak Walton League of America

Responsible hunting provides unique challenges and rewards. However, the future of the sport depends on each hunter’s behavior and ethics. Therefore, as a hunter, I pledge to:

Practice the Principles of Fair Chase.

Fair Chase is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and harvest of any big game animal that is naturally bred and lives in nature in a manner which does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal. Examples of unfair advantages include:

  • The shooting of caged, tied up, trapped or drugged animals violate the principles of fair chase.
  • Hunting High Fence enclosures under 1000 acres. Enclosures over 1000 acres and of which 50 percent of enclosure is forest, provides a reasonable chance for an animal to escape and will be considered Fair Chase.
  • The use of any mobile locating or tracking device, I.E. Drones violates the principles of Fair Chase.
  • The use of any picture taking device capable of immediate picture transfer.
  • Using canines to locate and push live animals.
  • Hunting, and shooting from a wheeled vehicle (except impaired individuals with limited mobility or confined to a wheel chair).
  • The practice of party hunting and Deer Drives.
  • Violating any of the applicable states hunting laws.
  • Claiming of an animal harvested by another hunter, sometimes referred to has Cross Hunting or Proxy Hunting.
  • Any other conditions determined by the Records Program to violate the principles of Fair Chase.

When trying to decide if a specific hunting practice is fair chase, ask yourself the following questions: Does the animal have a reasonable chance of escaping? Is this practice respectful to the animal? Is this practice in line with established rules, regulations and local practices? If the answer to those questions is “yes”, then it is probably in line with the principles of fair chase. If the answer is “no”, then the activity may be better described as a canned shoot than a hunt.

Respect the Environment and Wildlife.

  • Show respect for the wildlife you hunt by using a weapon powerful enough to dispatch  the animal you are pursuing. This includes the choice of arrow or bolt, Broadhead weight and cutting diameter.
  • Taking only clean, killing shots at ranges that ensure that when you pull the trigger or release an arrow, you should be almost completely certain you are going to hit and kill the animal you’re aiming at.
  • Retrieving and properly handling your game. Take only what you will use, even if it is under the legal limit.
  • Take and use all edible parts of the animal.
  • Learn to tread lightly while afield. Use vehicles only on established roads and trails, practice low-impact camping and travel, and pack out your trash, including cigarette butts and spent shell casings.
  • Report illegal activities immediately.

Respect Property and Landowners.

  • Always get permission to hunt on private land.
  • Close any gates you open and never damage crops or property, including fences, outbuildings and livestock.
  • Alert landowners or land managers about any problems you find on their property.
  • Share your game with the landowner, or say thank you in some other way.

Have Consideration for Nonhunters.

  • Remember that the future of hunting depends on hunters and non-hunter alike. Be considerate of non-hunters’ sensibilities, and strive to leave them with positive images of hunting and hunters.
  • Don’t flaunt your kill. Treat game carcasses in an inoffensive manner, particularly during transport.
  • Be considerate of all outdoor users, including other hunters.

Hunt Safely.

  • Exercise caution at all times.
  • Fire your gun or bow only when you are absolutely sure of your target and its background. Use binoculars, not your rifle scope, to identify your target.
  • Wear hunter orange whenever appropriate or required while afield.
  • Remember that hunting and alcohol don’t mix.

Know and Obey the Law.

  • Obtain proper tags and licenses.
  • Hunt only in allowed areas and during designated times and seasons. Read hunting regulations carefully.
  • Obey bag and possession limits.
  • Use only legal hunting methods and equipment.

Support Wildlife and Habitat Conservation.

  • Provide hands-on and financial support for conservation of game and nongame species and their habitats.
  • Learn more about wildlife and habitat issues, and urge policymakers to support strong conservation initiatives.
  • Become involved in wildlife conservation organizations and their programs.
  • Purchase state and federal wildlife conservation stamps, even if such stamps are not required for hunting.

Pass On an Ethical Hunting Tradition.

Invite a young person or a nonhunter next time you go afield to scout or hunt. 
– Attend a hunter education course, and urge others to do the same. 
– Set high ethical standards for future generations of hunters to help ensure hunting will continue.

Strive To Improve My Outdoor Skills and Understanding of Wildlife.

  • Know the limitations of your skills and equipment, and hunt within those limits
  • Improve your outdoor skills to become more observant, a better hunter and a better teacher.
  • Sight-in your firearm and bow, and practice shooting to ensure a clean kill in the field.
  • Learn more about the habits and habitats of game and nongame wildlife and their management needs.

Hunt Only with Ethical Hunters.

  • Take pride in being an ethical hunter.
  • Insist that your hunting partners behave in a responsible, ethical manner.
  • Compete only with yourself.