Ethical hunters obey both an unwritten or moral code of practice, as well as the formal written laws. Modern means of travel, firearm technology and optical sights make it easier for hunters to find, see and select their target. However, it is still up to the ethical hunter to ensure a clean and instantaneous kill. The SSAA suggests that hunters should regularly sharpen their skills at their local shooting range or other appropriate location to ensure they know the capabilities of their firearms.
Involvement in feral animal control and population management programs do not mean that hunters lose respect or treat the animals they hunt in an unacceptable manner. Rather, ethical hunters in control programs ensure pest animals are despatched in a humane manner to provide an opportunity for habitat improvement for the benefit of native animals and a reduction in farm costs. The ethical hunter is concerned for wildlife and its supporting ecosystems. They will instil in others the same principles they follow in regard to hunting practices. This includes letting others know if they think that their behaviour is out of line.
Shooting at road signs, chasing animals in vehicles, road hunting and the careless handling of firearms are all unacceptable practices. It’s these types of activities that can give hunters in general a bad name. The ethical hunter knows the importance of obeying laws to preserve wildlife and the environment, while also ensuring people’s safety and recognising the sensitivities of others. It is up to all hunters to maintain and improve the hunter’s image among the general public.
A hunter must have and maintain a good relationship with the landowner if they want somewhere to hunt. Crown land requires permission from the responsible government authority. It is advisable to obtain permission in writing from the landowner, as it could save an embarrassing situation should the authority enter the land to be questioned.
A hunter must always obtain permission from the landowner before entering. Failure to ask for permission is a valid cause for complaint by landowners. A property owner can ask the police to lay charges of unlawful entry (trespass). Charges and resulting court action could be costly and result in cancellation of the firearms licence and subsequent loss of all firearms owned.
As a guest of the landowner, the hunter should respect the property, taking care not to damage fences, trample crops or disturb or injure livestock. All gates must be left as they are found. Take the time to note and report anything unusual or of special interest, such as leaking water troughs, livestock on roadways, gates that are closed and denying water to stock or the presence of trespassers or poachers. This will strengthen your relationship with the landowner and ensure that your presence on their property is providing an added benefit beyond feral animal control. This type of feedback will most certainly result in an invitation to come back again some time.
Public and crown lands are often accessed during dedicated feral animal control projects. This does not give you the right to abuse the privilege of access at any later time. Crown lands are designated flora and fauna reserves and are generally out of bounds to private hunting. Permission to hunt must be obtained on every occasion. Do not damage or litter public or private property and always leave your campsite in a better condition of cleanliness and tidiness than you found it. Ensure that you respect the privacy of the landowner at all times.