What Does It Mean To Be An Ethical Hunter?

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. “
– Frank Outlaw

We recognize that the hunter occupies a unique position in society such that our mission draws from these words:

“A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact.”
– Aldo Leopold

It is Orion’s objective to make Leopold’s observation the norm in hunting behavior.

Being an ethical hunter starts with recognizing that you, individually, command the behaviors and experience you undertake and that responsible modern hunters must recognize that education, debate, and thoughtful examination are critical components of developing one’s understanding of his or her hunting ethic.

Perhaps others have put it best:

“Only you are the one who decides how you will behave.”
– Victor Fankl

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“To educate a hunter in safety and skills and not in ethics is to educate a menace to our conservation legacy.”
– Jim Tantillo

At Orion, we recognize that ethics are continually confused with preferences of the hunter and his or her local norms. In pursuit of alleviating that confusion, we seek to help hunters find clarity and definition.

To the sportsman, the death of the game is not what interests him: that is not his purpose. What interests him is everything that he had to do to achieve that death - that is, the hunt. Therefore what was before only a means to an end is now an end in itself. Death is essential because without it there is no authentic hunting. The killing of the animal is the natural end of the hunt and the goal of hunting itself, not of the hunter. The hunter seeks this death because it is no less than the sign of reality for the whole hunting process...

One does not hunt in order to kill: on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted.

- Jose' Ortega y Gasset