ccording to the Boone and Crockett Club animal rights and anti-hunting groups have again misconstrued the meaning of Fair Chase. This time, it involves baiting, which they claim should be banned because it is not Fair Chase.
The Club has a history of defining what is and is not Fair Chase, and has released a new position statement on baiting. The position reads in part; “Fair Chase is based on the meaning of ‘fair’ that relates to legitimate, genuine, or appropriate given the circumstances. Where an increased harvest of a particular species needs to occur, or where positive identification of size or sex is a legal requirement, baiting is appropriate given the circumstances and does not violate Fair Chase principles.”
“Over the past 132 years, the Club has helped to eliminate unsportsmanlike practices,” said Timothy C. Brady, president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Chasing game rendered helpless in deep snow, spotlighting, driving game into lakes, or using aircraft to locate or herd game then landing to hunt them were all commonplace at one time. The Club was the first organization to recognize these practices as both unsustainable and unethical.”
With respect to baiting, the Club acknowledges in its new position statement that, “Outside of what hunting laws provide, there is no simple answer to the question about baiting being right or wrong.” If baiting is legal, whether to use bait or not becomes a matter of personal choice.
Brady explained, “The reality is that different big game species inhabit a wide variety of landscapes across North America, and they can’t sustainably be managed all the same way. That’s why we rely on wildlife managers to determine what the hunter harvest levels should be, how best to achieve harvest objectives, and what hunting methods are legal and encouraged. If a wildlife agency has made baiting legal for a particular species in a certain area, there is a sound rationale behind that decision.”
The assertion that baiting should be banned because it’s not Fair Chase is not only incorrect, it undermines their broader anti-hunting agenda. As Brady noted, “These anti-hunting groups are contradicting themselves. Before, it was all hunting is bad and should be stopped. Now they are essentially saying hunting is acceptable as long as it’s Fair Chase. At least that much we can agree upon.”
The Club’s full position statement on baiting can be read at this link.
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club is the oldest conservation organization in North America, which helped to establish the principles of wildlife and habitat conservation, hunter ethics, as well as many of the institutions, expert agencies, science, and funding mechanisms for conservation. Its contributions include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone, and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the framework for modern game laws. The Club continues to be the leader in the hunter-conservationist community through its work in conservation policy, research and education programs at major universities, hunter ethics, and collaboration with similarly focused organizations. The Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.