Respecting game involves following hunting laws, personal ethics, and the principle of fair chase in order to harvest wildlife humanely and maintain healthy populations.
Responsible crossbow hunters:
- Take the animal with a well-placed shot in a vital area to avoid only wounding it.
- Ensure well-placed shots by knowing the maximum range for accurate shot placement for each animal hunted and staying within that range.
- Limit shots on big game to no more than 30 yards in cover and 40 yards in the open, which increases the likelihood of a shot in the animal’s vital area. Most animals are shot at 15 yards, which should be your goal.
- Select the appropriate hunting tip or broadhead for the arrow, and make sure all broadheads are razor-sharp.
- Use stealth ability to enter and exit a hunting area without disturbing wildlife or the habitat.
- Learn the game’s habits and habitat prior to the hunt. Observing and learning about all wildlife can be an enjoyable educational experience, as well as a way to build confidence needed for the hunt.
- Make every possible effort to recover wounded game.
The concept of fair chase began in the Middle Ages when hunters increased the challenge of sport hunting by setting rules that limited how they took game.
More recently, fair chase rules were developed to stem public criticism of hunters. One of the earliest models was the “Fair Chase Principle” established in the late 1800s by the Boone and Crockett Club, which was founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Those who violated club rules were expelled.
The rules were later expanded to ban shooting in fenced enclosures or using vehicles, airplanes, radios, boats, or electronic calling devices. Many states have made these rules into law.