Summit Treestands
Ethics Question
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
delkslayr 09-Sep-20
RJ Hunt 09-Sep-20
Ucsdryder 09-Sep-20
delkslayr 09-Sep-20
SlipShot 09-Sep-20
skookumjt 09-Sep-20
SlipShot 09-Sep-20
griz 09-Sep-20
Bou'bound 09-Sep-20
Old School 09-Sep-20
Lost Arra 09-Sep-20
Kodiak 09-Sep-20
KSflatlander 09-Sep-20
Ziek 09-Sep-20
skookumjt 09-Sep-20
Old School 09-Sep-20
Glunt@work 09-Sep-20
Cornpone 09-Sep-20
jordanathome 09-Sep-20
Buckeye 09-Sep-20
Catscratch 09-Sep-20
Matt 09-Sep-20
Kannuck 09-Sep-20
Supernaut 09-Sep-20
Ziek 09-Sep-20
JayZ 09-Sep-20
skookumjt 09-Sep-20
IdyllwildArcher 09-Sep-20
JohnMC 09-Sep-20
LBshooter 09-Sep-20
Missouribreaks 09-Sep-20
bowyer45 09-Sep-20
4nolz@work 09-Sep-20
Ermine 09-Sep-20
Mule Power 09-Sep-20
Screwball 09-Sep-20
MichaelArnette 09-Sep-20
drycreek 09-Sep-20
Hans 1 09-Sep-20
4nolz@work 10-Sep-20
Shawn 10-Sep-20
7mm08 10-Sep-20
Junior 10-Sep-20
Mule Power 10-Sep-20
Lost Arra 10-Sep-20
lawdy 10-Sep-20
Ollie 10-Sep-20
GF 12-Sep-20
Tonybear61 12-Sep-20
RW 12-Sep-20
altitude sick 12-Sep-20
greenmountain 12-Sep-20
Thornton 12-Sep-20
ALovely 12-Sep-20
Thornton 12-Sep-20
lawdy 12-Sep-20
Glunt@work 12-Sep-20
Surfbow 13-Sep-20
Bou'bound 13-Sep-20
stealthycat 13-Sep-20
keepemsharp 13-Sep-20
DonVathome 13-Sep-20
Daff 14-Sep-20
swede 26-Sep-20
Basil 26-Sep-20
Woods Walker 26-Sep-20
Charlie Rehor 26-Sep-20
Peej 27-Sep-20
keepemsharp 27-Sep-20
lawdy 27-Sep-20
APauls 27-Sep-20
spike78 27-Sep-20
Ned 27-Sep-20
From: delkslayr
09-Sep-20
This is an ethics question for all of us walking in the woods this fall. This last weekend i was sitting in camp waiting for the evening hunt as it was in the 80's and nothing was moving/talking. A guy rode up on a 4-wheeler and asked if any of us had fired an arrow today. We had not and he informed us that they found a bull (large 6 point) up on the hillside that was wounded and not moving and were looking for the person that lost the bull. Turns out they found the guy who had shot it the previous day (been sitting almost 24 hours after the shot) and he was able to go in and finish the bull off. If they had not found the shooter, the local game warden was going to kill the bull and donate the meat. He gave us the option to punch our tags and harvest the bull but we didnt want to do this. This situation raised a question in my mind though. If you are hunting and walk up on an animal that is clearly suffering, what is the ethical thing to do? Do you kill it and punch your tag and salvage what meat is left? If you kill it, i believe the law states that you have to punch your tag? What if you don't have a tag for that species? I'm curious to hear everyones thoughts on this topic!

From: RJ Hunt
09-Sep-20
Man that’s a tough one. If I found an animal wounded from an arrow I would probably shoot it, punch my tag and harvest all meat that was not damaged. But... it would be such a tough call and would probably need to be in the exact situation to know for sure.

From: Ucsdryder
09-Sep-20
That is a tough one. I think the right thing to do would be to end its suffering, then get the meat hung in a tree and salvaged. Then it’s a question of whether or not you can find the person that shot it.

From: delkslayr
09-Sep-20
Another item that makes this hard is this is a special draw unit that took me, as a resident, 8 points to draw! Yes its a trophy class animal but it felt like it would taint the hunt experience to "harvest" a trophy that was just sitting there...I'm just thankful I wasnt the guy who found him.

From: SlipShot
09-Sep-20
Several years ago I was rifle hunting with my son who was 10 at the time. We had a small buck come by that was hurt bad. I would not normally shoot a buck this small but wanted to do the right thing especially with my son being by my side; I shot the deer. When we went to get the deer we were unable to get to the deer because it smelled worse than death. We left and went and found phone service and call Game warden. The officer was unable to meet us until the next day. We went out to the agreed spot at the agreed time and ending up waiting 5 1/2 hour past the agreed meeting time. When the officer arrived, he was quite disrespectful to me about not harvesting the meat. When he got done belittling me in front of my son we finally hiked in to the deer. When we got to the deer, and the officer going to the deer, he came back to us and told me we could go and continue to hunt. No apology for his actions or anything. It was the right thing to do,but it did suck to waste day and half of a short season, not to mention how he treated me. Truthful the delay of the officer and how he treated me as an offender left a really bad taste in my mouth. I'm not sure what I would do if it were to happen again.

From: skookumjt
09-Sep-20
Really tough scenario. Unfortunately the right thing to do is nothing. As awful as it would seem to just let the animal suffer, the reality is that animals suffer in the wild every day. The human response that the animal needs to be put down doesn't fit with the fact that in order to be legal you have to burn your tag.

In most western scenarios it's not feasible to contact a warden to get them to finish the animal or get permission to do it. In the east, it's typically more likely to be an option.

From: SlipShot
09-Sep-20
Skookumjt, You are are correct, but the human in me could not let it suffer. Just FYI, I could tell the deer had been gut shot. As this was the first day of that rifle season, the deer had been walking wounded for at least 5 days, if it was shot the last day of the prior season.

From: griz
09-Sep-20
One year in Pa during the late shotgun season, I heard a shot across the road. Into my woods comes a very tiny doe with one rear ham nearly shot completely off and the opposite one having a gaping hole through it. She laid down in front of me and cried. I waited nearly an hour and no one followed up despite a heavy blood trail in the snow to the road that I could see with binos. At this point, I finished her off (I did have a tag left) hoping the person would show themselves on the road but no one ever did. The property where the deer came from was township property and no hunting was allowed so I guess they knew they'd be in trouble if seen since they were hunting in there. I took the deer to my butcher and called the local warden who I knew from teaching Hunter Safety. I told him what had happened and said there was very little meat and was wondering if I could get another tag. I also volunteered to meet him and show him what had happened. He went off saying if there wasn't a tag on the deer when he got there, I'd be fined and that if I didn't think there was enough meat on it I shouldn't have played God and killed it. I willingly had tagged it but his rant was uncalled for considering he knew me and the next time that deer will stay in the woods. I ended up paying $75 for 12lbs of hamburger.

From: Bou'bound
09-Sep-20
The issue is two fold. There is the issue about a suffering creature. There is an issue about administration and documentation.

From: Old School
09-Sep-20
Hard call. Too many goofball game wardens that I wouldn’t want to risk my hunt or decision by involving them. If you don’t kill the animal, it will suffer and die and the meat will be wasted. Or you put an arrow through it, end it’s suffering and walk away - meat wasted but suffering ended. Or shoot it, end your hunt and put your tag on it and start packing meat.

I know I wouldn’t leave it suffering and I’ll leave it at that.

From: Lost Arra
09-Sep-20
To delkslayr: Very simple: You kill it , you tag it. Otherwise you are going to do a lot of explaining. If you would prefer to avoid the explaining then just don't shoot it. Seeing animals suffer especially with your child present is a tough one but the law (and law enforcement) has no emotion. Absolutely no way would I shoot any animal I don't have a tag for.

From: Kodiak
09-Sep-20
I'd probably shoot it, tag it, bag it, haul it, and eat it.

From: KSflatlander
09-Sep-20
Old School x 2. Do the right thing. Definitely worth ending a hunt and losing a tag to end it's suffering. I couldn't just walk away.

From: Ziek
09-Sep-20
I haven't been presented with that while archery hunting. However, back when we were rifle hunting in the '70s and early '80s, we occasionally found (2 or 3 times) wounded deer. We killed them and one of us punched our tag and salvaged the meat. Another time I killed a small buck that was standing on the edge of a small clearing, again during a rifle season, and found it had already been shot in the butt. No one showed up looking for it in the time it took to field dress and drag to camp.

As for finding a mortally wounded animal, and ending it's suffering: The ONLY reason that is illegal is to not encourage scumbags from intentionally not recovering it for any number of pathetic reasons. While it may be illegal because of that, it doesn't make it right.

From: skookumjt
09-Sep-20
Really tough scenario. Unfortunately the right thing to do is nothing. As awful as it would seem to just let the animal suffer, the reality is that animals suffer in the wild every day. The human response that the animal needs to be put down doesn't fit with the fact that in order to be legal you have to burn your tag.

In most western scenarios it's not feasible to contact a warden to get them to finish the animal or get permission to do it. In the east, it's typically more likely to be an option.

From: Old School
09-Sep-20
Not having a tag for the mortally wounded animal makes it stickier. You’re opening a whole nother can of worms and you’re going to lose law wise if you finish it off.

From: Glunt@work
09-Sep-20
Stuff happens. I would do the right thing. If it doesn't fall within the law, the law needs tweaking.

From: Cornpone
09-Sep-20
What is legal is pretty much cut in stone...very few, if any, COs going to bend on that one. That could possibly cost them their livelihood. Ethics tend to be more of a personal thing...take your choice, and perhaps chances.

From: jordanathome
09-Sep-20
Back in MO as a kid I came upon a doe that was shot in the knee....this was on Thanksgiving day. She was on her bed and would not move even when I got within 15' I had my .22 as I was squirrel hunting. I ran home and my dad called the conservation agent who came out and I took him to where the doe was bedded. She was gone. He told me I should have run up to her, put the barrel of the .22 to her head and killed her to put her out of her mercy then left her for the critters to eat. It left an impression for sure.

From: Buckeye
09-Sep-20
There is the letter of the law and then there is the spirit of the law . I try to follow the first one, but there are times when a clear conscious is worth more than a fine . I am in the camp of end the suffering as quickly as you can. Most game wardens appreciate truth, honesty, and someone trying to do the right thing. I am surprised by some of the stories here on this thread concerning LEO.

From: Catscratch
09-Sep-20
I've personally shot and tagged a deer that had an arrow in it's back. It was way smaller (antlers) than I wanted and it most likely would have survived if I hadn't shot it... but it was limping around wounded so I finished it off and ended my season by putting my only tag on it.

An animal that I didn't have a tag for would get a call to the game warden or sheriff to track it down and put it out of it's misery.

From: Matt
09-Sep-20
We were hunting in AZ a few years back and heard about a guy who saw a doe carrying a back leg, pulled out a rifle (during archery season) and put her out of misery. Turns out the doe was well know to the locals and had been carrying the leg long enough to have successfully raised a fawn after her injury. They were pretty pissed at the hunter who though they were doing the ethical thing Just food for thought.

From: Kannuck
09-Sep-20
Skookumjt - I disagree... the LAWFUL thing is to do nothing (if you don't have a tag for that animal) The RIGHT thing to do is to end the suffering... at least in my mind. I have never been in that situation and hope never to be. If I am in a similar situation, I know what I would do.

From: Supernaut
09-Sep-20
Never had this dilemma while hunting and hope never to.

Back when I was in high school, probably 1986 or 87 I was on my way home from wrestling practice and was just about to turn into our driveway on the farm and a lady coming the other way hit a big whitetail doe with her car. She stopped and ironically a PA state trooper was right behind her. It was kind of rare to see a trooper where I lived because it was pretty rural. We all stopped along side the road together. She was fine, her car was crunched up a bit but driveable. The doe she hit was laying over the embankment with what looked like a broken back, bawling and clearly in a lot of pain. The lady started crying once she heard the deer bawling. I asked the trooper if he was going to shoot it and he said he couldn't because of the paperwork associated with discharging his weapon. I asked if I could run to my house, grab a gun and shoot it and he said sure, he'd send the lady on her way. I ran back home, grabbed my .22 magnum and shot the doe. I asked him if he was going to call the game commission to report it and he said, "Hell no, way too much paperwork involved with that call". He told me to take the deer if I wanted it and I did, cut it up and ate it. I reckon I'd probably end an animals suffering if I came upon it while hunting....tag or not.

09-Sep-20
Here's a good one about LEOs...

I was a BB volunteer and took my LB on an observation hunt for Fall Turkeys. I had already filled my buck KS buck tag a week earlier. About noon we headed to the local eatery for some food, but a 400 acre bean field we parked in had a buck laying in the middle of it. I pointed him out to Adam, and as I turned the truck to exit the field Adam said there is something wrong with the buck, he can't get up. I looked and the buck was struggling and had no movement in his rear legs.

We approached the buck and he had a tiny hole about mid-back. He was heaving. I called the local Conservation Officer and left a message with details. I only had my bow with me, but I then put an arrow through both lungs.

It took about 45 minutes to an hour for the officer to show up. He inspected the situation and handed me a salvation tag. He determined the buck probably lost a fight to a bigger buck and that's what broke his back. I told him who Adam was first, and the officer was both professional and very polite. I asked the officer if he wanted me to cut the rack off, and Adam quickly asked if he could have it, about 120" 8 point. The officer said sure, thanked us and sped off to another call.

I would shoot the elk, put my tag on it and report it. If the real owner showed up after that, I would ask for another tag. I would salvage the meat that was not spoiled to the best of my ability.

From: Ziek
09-Sep-20
The law should be more situationally applied.

I spent my career in a highly regulated position as a commercial pilot. But all those regulations and regulators understood, it was the end result that mattered. So there was an additional regulation; that the Pilot in Command could deviate from any of it by declaring an emergency, if at the time and in his opinion, it was necessary for the safety of the flight. BUT, that wasn't a 'get out of jail card'. Not by a long shot. No matter the end result of doing that - good or bad, you still had to justify your actions at the hearing. I spent my flying career with two mandates for every flight, no matter what the aircraft owner wanted when flying corporate, or the bosses sometimes tried to demand in commercial flying; is it legal, and more importantly, is it safe. If you interchange the word 'right' with 'safe', I guess I apply some form of that to my life in general.

From: JayZ
09-Sep-20
Supernaut, I had a similar situation when I was in college. I was archery hunting one evening and when I was leaving there was a car stopped on the side of the road. As I passed I saw a deer in the ditch with its head up. The car had hit it and broken its back. It was trying to get away with with just its front legs. I didn't have a gun and LE wasn't there. I grabbed my knife and cut his throat to end his suffering. I'd do the same today.

As for the OP since it's a LE unit I'd probably try to call the game warden and let him decide how to proceed. I have been checked several times while hunting/fishing and it just seems more often than not they assume you are doing something illegal. Would really suck to run into an overzealous warden and lose hunting privileges trying to fix someone else's screw up.

From: skookumjt
09-Sep-20
We'll the paradox is that the "RIGHT" thing is ILLEGAL unless you are willing to burn a tag you spent 8 years applying for, taking vacation, paying for the trip, and paying for the tag.

09-Sep-20
I also believe that the letter of the law sometimes is not the "right thing" to do. I'm not a black-and-white type of person. How many of you would break the speed limit to get your child to the hospital if time was of the essence? Every last damn one of us.

From: JohnMC
09-Sep-20
What the guy who found it did was a decent solution. He called the warden and drove around and found who had shot it.

From: LBshooter
09-Sep-20
X2 johnMC. So you all are on your first or second day of a 7 day elk hunt and your going to kill an animal that you have no idea how long it's been there or even what it's dying of and your going to waste a tag on it and end your trip. Can't say that I would, and I don't know if the Hunter is looking for it. So if it's a cow or a spike are you all going to kill it? I have a feeling the outcomes would be different in the field than what they are on the site.

09-Sep-20
I have killed and tagged three wounded whitetails in my 55 years of deer hunting. All were small to average and were only killed because they were wounded.

Ethics played no role, I simply did it. I have no coded ethics.

From: bowyer45
09-Sep-20
Look around you today, do you watch the news? do whats right in your heart! the law makers now are crazy!

From: 4nolz@work
09-Sep-20
Nowadays you could video it prior to dispatching it.Unless you can get the Warden to give you verbal permission or a salvage tag.If he acts like an ass make him famous on social media and go above his head.The Wardens I know are reasonable honest guys but some aren't man enough to carry a badge as they say.

From: Ermine
09-Sep-20
It’s a tough call. I once was out with my kid. He had a elk tag. It was a cow tag youth. We happened upon a calf that was stuck in a fence by its legs. We got it freed and the poor calf was unable to use its leg. We tried to stand it up by it just couldn’t stand up couldn’t use its leg. Its leg had no circulation for who knows how long. So instead of just letting it lay there and be killed by coyotes We put it out of its misery and my son put his tag on it. It wasn’t the fun hunt and fun way to tag an animal but it felt right at the time. Later found out that we should Have contacted the game warden after the fact and he would have given us a tag for it so we didn’t have to use my sons tag. But oh well. Felt like the right thing to do at the time.

From: Mule Power
09-Sep-20
I have said before that I would never let man made laws stand in the way of an ethical decision. I could never let an animal, any animal, suffer. Nor would I let the meat go to waste. I know families that could really use the meat too. But I wouldn’t punch my tag either.

Sometimes you have do do something wrong to do what’s truly right. It’s risky and it takes balls but I just don’t trust all LEOs to do what is both right and ethical. In the end I don’t have to be mad and disappointed in fish and game or myself and I can also sleep at night. That’s my honest answer. If I pay the price for that so be it. I think God would be fine with my decision and that’s what really matters.

From: Screwball
09-Sep-20
Times have changed and Wardens have changed around here. When I was I young our local warden had common sense and applied laws as such. Finished off wounded deer, called him no issue. Since he retired and we have the new warden would not think of it. They try to find any little thing to write you up. In the last 10 years I have finished off and tagged 3 deer. Family has probably tagged 10 that were wounded and left. I would not trust our local wardens to have common sense and I would never let an animal suffer.

09-Sep-20
End the suffering immediately, whom technically tags the animal can be decided later

From: drycreek
09-Sep-20
What Mule said.

From: Hans 1
09-Sep-20
What mule said. This is very common with road killed “injured” deer. Years ago after calling the warden the 3rd or 4th time one fall he said if I don’t get him on the phone just to shoot them in the top of the head. Impossible to due unless the deer is incapacitated. If they have some one in mind to take the meat I gut them. Not worried about a ticket if I ever got one I would fight it in court. In the event of a large or high scoring buck I would either wait or text the warden before doing anything.

From: 4nolz@work
10-Sep-20
Soooo don't put a suffering high scoring buck down? :)

From: Shawn
10-Sep-20
Sorry call me a bad guy I would kill it. Hope the person who had wounded it, found it. The right thing to do is not always what the law tells or says you should do. I am not gonna let it suffer. Three times in my life I have come up on deer hit by cars either on the road or alongside the road that we're still alive, everytime I have put them out of there misery. Twice with a gun and once with a knife. That in my state is also technically against the law, I did it because it was the right thing to do and if some don't like it, too bad. Go ahead fire away on how bad a person I am! Shawn

From: 7mm08
10-Sep-20
Didn't read all the comments, but in my mind it is an ethic question as to NOT pend the animal's suffering. Whether I tagged or not, I would have to end the suffering. I would notify the G.W. and let him handle donating. He can write me a ticket if he is that big of a d i k.

From: Junior
10-Sep-20
This should be common knowledge for any hunter, and especially a bow hunter! You never let an animal suffer! Tag or no tag, any one with any common sense is going to end the suffering! Regardless of what comes out of the wardens pie hole! We would just have to go to court over it, if he wrote a ticket. Then I would hope some wise old Judge would set him straight.

From: Mule Power
10-Sep-20
Here’s a little scenario to think about. You are only required to tag it if you killed it. What if you um.... saw these quarters uh... hanging in a tree. Several days later.... as the story goes, they were still hanging there, with no visible tag. THEN you reported it to fish and game. A little harmless white lie never hurt. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

From: Lost Arra
10-Sep-20
It sounds like mercy killing is pretty well accepted. It's the tagging or not tagging is the debatable question. I think Ermine described the most honorable solution. He and his son felt strongly about ending the suffering even though it affected their hunt experience. His son learned a great lesson.

If you don't tag it and get ticketed it is sure easier to fight a ticket locally than if you are 1000 miles from home in a trophy unit you have waited years to draw and have only 7 days to hunt.

From: lawdy
10-Sep-20
People feed deer up here in the winter and in some towns, more are killed by vehicles than hunters or winter kill. I finished off one years ago, contacted a warden and went through the 3rd degree, so that ended my calling a warden. I travel a lot at night after music gigs so I come upon road kills. I just throw them in the pickup, take them home, and eat what is edible. As far as a wounded deer, I would finish it off, sit there until dark, and decide what to do then. I have never tagged a deer I did not shoot, and never left a deer to rot in the woods. I guess I just answered your question. Very rural up here and locals don’t talk much, especially to wardens.

From: Ollie
10-Sep-20
I am going to end the animal’s suffering. I am not tagging the animal nor am I salvaging the meat or antlers. Scavengers need to eat. The humane thing to do and the law are not always compatible.

From: GF
12-Sep-20
I would have a very hard time walking away from a mortally wounded animal without ending it. If it’s gonna die either way, there’s no ethically defensible excuse for allowing it to suffer.

Here in the East, I’d probably give the first guy until dark or so to find it, but if nobody showed or if I were on private land I’d tag it & drag it. I’m never going to fill 4 tags or more than 1 buck tag per year anyway, so it’s no loss to me, and if The Other Guy would have left it overnight, the bears and coyotes would most likely beat him to it.

Out West is harder with just one tag, and where I hunt, dealing with a dead animal is a multi-day project, after which my knees would need a couple days off.

If the animal was Down, I would most likely circle around so as not to run it off, then back-trail the animal as far as possible, which (presumably) would lead me to the other hunter.

If the animal still had good mobility and did not appear to have been hit aft of the diaphragm, then it would be Fair Game if I had the right tag, or I’d give it the chance to recover.

Hardest call would be a gut-shot animal that was still on its feet. But I think I know what I’d do....

From: Tonybear61
12-Sep-20
BAH! Shoot it, but don't claim as yours under fair chase ??? NBEF, MBEP talks about the first blood and mortal wound rules (not regulations). I have either come upon deer in the woods or road too many times to count that needed a "mercy killing" Some times it can be called in other times you need to take action to prevent other accidents,etc. In the fall usually three things are in my vehicle, bow and arrows (while hunting), big knife, crowbar, large contractor bag (OK thats 4). You should be able to take a arrow with broadhead out of your quiver and push it through a bedded animal by hand. If not, use the crowbar, then knife it.

When calling it in sometimes they respond sometimes they don't. Some will discharge a gun others won't. If they are hestiant I mention the arrow, crowbar and volunteer. Either way the animal is going down to end its suffering. Anyone wishing to ticket me when I am doing that(especially removing them from traffic) needs sensitivity training and/or can meet me in court. I have used collision tags, bonus tags or told not to worry about it, depending upon the peace officer.

In the state I live in they actually had to pass a law stating the person who hit the animal has first dibs on the antlers, meat,etc. That says alot about horns and curent state of ethics.

From: RW
12-Sep-20
I have done it both ways , burnt tags on wounded deer, that were not fit to eat due to gangrene. Had to kill an antelope doe with a hammer, she had been hit by a car and had 4 broke legs, there's no way I'm gonna leave something to suffer , I don't care what the law says. I had to help a friend recover a mulie he wounded the evening before the coyotes were eating it alive I will never forget it's screams . I have to answer to my conscience first.

12-Sep-20
I watched an elk stalk and shot from high above. I could see them on the wrong track and trail. Tried to get their attention from above so I wouldn’t lose sight of the Bull. They eventually left and there I sat watching a live very sick bedded bull. Trying to get cell signal without losing sight of the bull. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone to ask if it’s legal to finish Someone else’s animal in Colorado. Then have them tag it. I really didn’t want to tag it. I used 8 points and also didn’t know if they were just giving it a couple hours and then they come back after giving it time to expire and I’m cutting up his bull. I went crazy going over all the options. Finally here they come up the valley on 4 wheelers. I ran down to tell them I could walk them in to him. Climbed back up. They finished him off and I helped cut the bull up. Dilemma solved.

12-Sep-20
It comes down to doing what is right and what is legal. Some years ago I shot a buck just before dark. I called the warden as prescribed by our laws. He gave me the go ahead to follow up. As luck would have it I did not find the deer in the dark. The next day I found my deer or what was left of it. The coyotes ate well in the night. I tagged what was left of my buck the next day. It was not ideal but I feel good about the outcome. The warden told me it was fine to walk away but I chose to claim half of a deer as mine.

From: Thornton
12-Sep-20
The ethical answer to the ethics question would be to shoot it, tag it, and pack it out. If you encountered the hunter that wounded it, a conversation could be had about getting it back to him. In CO, wardens carry duplicate tags and they can and do give them out based on their discretion. A buddy of mine did this very thing a few years ago on my hunt. Sad thing was, the bull had been dead several days.

From: ALovely
12-Sep-20
I called LEO for a small buck in a heavily wooded part of the city that had been hit by a car. Leg was broken and skull was cracked as you could see the antlers were badly misaligned.

The animal control officer that came just shrugged and said they could only remove a dead animal. If it was alive they were not allowed to do anything.

From: Thornton
12-Sep-20
You should have called law enforcement. They shoot them all the time around here.

From: lawdy
12-Sep-20
Sometimes there is a huge difference between ethics and legal. Late term abortion comes to mind.

From: Glunt@work
12-Sep-20
I know I called the police for a fender bender, having a hard time coming up with another time I have ever called LE.

From: Surfbow
13-Sep-20
Ermine, you set a great example for your son in that situation, kudos to you man!

From: Bou'bound
13-Sep-20
Or even early term abortion

From: stealthycat
13-Sep-20
I'd have tried to kill it, I don't want an animal to suffer and in fact on a whitetail in AR 2 years ago I did just that

From: keepemsharp
13-Sep-20
Would not hesitate to put a wounded animal down, let the chips fall where they may.

From: DonVathome
13-Sep-20
Really tough one. At home for whitetails I let a small buck that had been likely hit by a car walk by debating to shoot it or not. I decided to and it noticed by and never gave me a shot. It still haunts me. An elk tag is a different thing. Yikes. For the sure the right thing to do is shoot it and tag it (legally you would have too I think). I would have a tough time early in my hunt and a much tougher time on a OIL tag it took me 20 years to draw.

I would shoot it and put it down and hope to find the hunter (not tagging it if it was a good elk tag and early in my hunt). Many animals are never found and many die of natural causes and it is not considered waste. As the last guy said let the chips fall where they may.

VERY good question

From: Daff
14-Sep-20
I had a similar experience, one gun season someone shot from the road onto private property. I went to investigate and jumped a button buck which tried to run off with it's guts hanging out. I did what I felt was right and finished it off. I reported it to the game warden and he was very professional. He took vehicle description and collected their shell casing and issued a permanent harvest tag for it. I followed up with him he was never able to make a case. Now what I did in finishing it off was illegal it was an antlered buck only season but I think between the evidence and self reporting he understood the moral dilemma.

From: swede
26-Sep-20
About 15 years ago, in the late morning I was sitting in my tree stand when a very skinny cow came in with a broken leg that was just hanging on. I could count her ribs. She stayed around about a half hour and then hobbled off. I would not eat that elk, but I am sure the scavengers did.

From: Basil
26-Sep-20
Was bow hunting during the Minnesota shotgun season when a lone doe came hobbling by missing the opposite front leg. She was having a hard time getting around and seemed her other front leg was failing. So I decided to end her suffering. I shot her and she went a short distance and went down in sight. Shortly after a fawn came along tracking her and went over to mom nuzzled her trying to get her up eventually bedding down with her. Fairly disgusted I walked over there, ran the fawn off & notched my only tag. Was surprised to see she was a fat perfectly healthy doe with milk in her bags and the leg perfectly healed over from another year. Sometimes in spite of our emotions and good intentions it doesn't turn out as we envisioned.

From: Woods Walker
26-Sep-20
A very tough call indeed. But sometimes you have to do what's right first and then consider the "paperwork" part of it.

A few years ago a young deer was hit by a car and was flopping around on the side of the road in front of our place. I called the sheriff's office and reported it. About 5 minutes later a patrol car came by, slowed down by the deer and then drove off. I was watching from the kitchen which is about 100 yards from the road. I couldn't take anymore of this animal's suffering, so I got a .22 rifle, walked out there and put one between her eyes. Where I live discharging a firearm is perfectly legal (and safe), but as you well know NOT on a public right of way.

A few minutes later the patrol car came by again. I walked out there and the officer asked me, "Did you shoot this deer?"

"Yes", I replied, "I didn't want to see it suffer any longer. I hunt and I've shot my share of them."

He looked at me and said, "Thank you. I was going to shoot her when I first came by, but there was a young child waiting for the school bus down the road so I waited."

From my window I could not see my neighbor's daughter waiting on that bus, and by the time I went out there she had already left. So this was a case of BOTH of us "doing what's right first".

26-Sep-20
I have never come across a dead ungulate that was not completely consumed in a few days. Nothing goes to waste in nature.

From: Peej
27-Sep-20
My opinion is its best not to get the government entities involved unless its absolutely necessary.

From: keepemsharp
27-Sep-20
In my part of the world if you hit something that bleeds it does not last very long on the ground, or it will be too chewed to try to save.

From: lawdy
27-Sep-20
Peej, ditto.

From: APauls
27-Sep-20
I've seen a few deer over the years that I wrote off as toast. Low and behold there they are the next year.

That elk that got gored in Yellowstone sure didn't last long before the grizzly found him.

From: spike78
27-Sep-20
With 27 hunting seasons under my belt and numerous animals harvested I damn sure wouldn’t cry about using my only tag to put a suffering animal out of its misery.

From: Ned
27-Sep-20
Easy one. If you have a tag, fill it and salvage the meat. If no tag, possibly find someone who has a tag and wants to fill it, or call game and fish.

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