Rules and Ethics

It is an exceedingly difficult matter to formulate a code of hunting ethics, still harder to give them legal force; but public opinion should condemn the kind of sportsmanship which puts a price on antlers. As trophies of the chase, hard won through the endurance and skill of the hunter, they are legitimate records of achievement. The higher the trophy ranks in size and symmetry, the greater should be its value as an evidence of patient and persistent chase. To slay a full grown bull moose or wapiti in fair hunt is in these days an achievement, for there is no royal road to success with the rifle, nor do the Happy Hunting Grounds longer exist on this continent; but to kill them by proxy, or buy the mounted heads for decorative purposes in a dining room, in feeble imitation of the trophies of the baronial banquet hall, is not only vulgar taste, but is helping along the extermination of these ancient types. An animal like the moose or the wapiti represents a line of unbroken descent of vast antiquity, and the destruction of the finest members of the race to decorate a hallway cannot be too strongly condemned.

American Big Game in its Haunts by George Bird Grinnell, 1914


In partnership with the International Hunter Education Association, state agencies, the nonprofit community, the National Rifle Association, and the manufacturing sector, we are able to provide you with a review of all state statutes, regulations and governing authority.

Hunter Education statutes, regulations and governing authority:


Legal Considerations – Privacy: There are barriers in statue as well as in state regulation that impede the uptake of hunting and shooting. Some of these barriers may be lowered through careful and intentioned efforts to do so. Privacy policies vary from state to state and it remains unclear how the state, or the Council on the state’s behalf, may use certain customer information.

This project gathers, aggregates and evaluates current federal and state privacy regulations, along with website policies and terms and conditions of use. It intends to provide clarity of acceptable use on a state-by-state basis, resulting in more customer data available through which to build new engagement tactics.

Hunter Education, Privacy Project:



A responsible hunter is fully accountable for their actions.

Enjoying the outdoors is one of the great pleasures in life, but along with that comes the duty to protect and conserve our country’s wild lands and the animals that inhabit them.


  • Always thinks of safety first.
  • Follows laws and regulations and insists that his or her companions do as well.
  • Values the land and treats it with respect.
  • Ensures the safety of themselves and their companions by (1) wearing hunter orange when required; (2) adhering to hunting seasons and hours; and (3) clearly identifying the target before taking the shot.
  • Develops a personal code of ethics and follows it unfailingly.
  • Protects wildlife by supporting conservation efforts as well as following all regulations pertaining to limits and hunting practices.
  • Respects others by displaying kind and courteous behavior to other hunters, landowners and the general public.
  • Displays restraint and does not abuse privileges.
  • Takes full responsibility for his or her actions, including mistakes, and does whatever necessary to correct those mistakes.


One of the main reasons some people oppose hunting is because of bad behavior of some hunters. Irresponsible hunters can quickly damage or erode public support. Harvesting an animal is a serious action, and how the public views that behavior can influence the future of hunting in the United States.


In the United States, most of the land where wildlife can be found is privately owned. Therefore, hunters should always act as guests on other people’s property. There are certain “good neighbor” behaviors you should practice:

  • Always get permission before going on private property. Trespassing is illegal and unethical.
  • Leave the land exactly the way you found it. Careless hunters who leave trash around campsites, destroy vegetation when putting up deer stands, tear down fences, shoot signs, leave gates open and drive ATV’s in fragile environments damage the reputation of all hunters.
  • Get to know the landowner. Always thank the landowner for the use of his or her property for hunting. Offer some of the game meat when you hunt or offer to do some work for them.
  • Know the layout and boundaries of the area in order to protect property and lives and avoid trespassing.
  • Do not poach. Poaching is taking game illegally and is punishable by fines and the loss of your hunting license, vehicle and hunting gear.
  • Report poaching. Call your local game warden. Game warden phone numbers can be found in the hunting, fishing and waterfowl guides.


Hunters have many things on which to pride themselves. They have been instrumental in improving wildlife habitat, relocating species and even bringing species back from the edge of extinction. It is a long and rich heritage that brings rewards in a variety of forms – not the least of which is passing the sport on to the next generation.


Rights cannot be taken away from you except under extreme conditions. Examples of rights are the right to vote and the right to free speech.


Privileges can be taken away if you fail to follow the conditions of a privilege. Examples of privileges include obtaining a driver’s license, membership in a club, getting your hunting license and hunter education certificate. Hunting should always be treated as a privilege. It can be taken away from you if you abuse the privilege with poor behavior.


Responsible hunters develop a personal hunting code of ethics that governs the way they hunt. It is the way they act when the time comes to make a hunting decision. Responsible hunters follow their personal code of hunting of ethics.


  • I will respect all wildlife and the land where I hunt. When I hunt, I will do so responsibly.
  • I will consider myself an invited guest of the landowner, seeking their permission, and conducting myself so that I may be welcome in the future.
  • I will obey the rules of safe gun handling and will courteously but firmly insist that others who hunt with me do the same.
  • I will obey all game laws and regulations, and will insist that my companions do likewise.
  • I will do my best to acquire marksmanship and hunting skills.
  • I will support conservation efforts that can assure good hunting for future generations of Americans.
  • I will pass along to younger hunters the attitudes and skills essential to a true outdoor sportsman.



Information provided courtesy of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Hunter Education Manual.