News & Updates

Hunting Ethics

Guest - June 21, 2013

Hunting is a great American pastime and helped shape many of our first public lands.  Hunting has the potential to be very impactful on the environment if individuals are careless with their actions.  The Leave No Trace Principles for Hunting cover how we can minimize our impact while hunting.

The Center views hunting as a legitimate, traditional and acceptable outdoor recreational pursuit. The Center respects the long-standing tradition of hunting on public lands, expects all hunters to abide by all applicable state game and hunting laws, and encourages all hunters to adhere to the Leave No Trace ethic when in the field.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

– Gather information about your hunt area from local land managers. Take a hunter safety course and familiarize yourself with your firearm.

– Read and follow all hunting regulations.  Obtain and display proper tags and licenses.  Obey bag and possession limits.

– Get permission to hunt on private lands.  Respect all road closures.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

– Durable surfaces include established roads, trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grass or snow.

– Good campsites are found not made.

– Protect private and public property and livestock; leave gates as found.

Dispose of Waste Properly

– Pack it in, pack it out.  Pack out all trash, leftover food, spend brass, shot gun shells, etc.

– Gut piles are unsightly and attract bears.  Drag piles well away from trails, water sources and highly visited areas.

Leave What You Find

– Sight-in firearms at home or away from hunting areas.  Do not use rocks, signs, trees, or non-game animals for target practice.

– Use manufactured blinds rather that constructing them out of tree branches or other native vegetation.  Do not build structures or furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

– If you build a fire, use established fire rings or a fire pan.  Trash does not belong in the fire pit and usually does not burn completely. 

Respect Wildlife

– Show respect for wildlife by taking only clean, killing shots, then retrieving and properly handing your game.

– Never feed animals.  Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

– Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.

– Hunt only in-season animals.

Be Considerate to Other Visitors

– Be aware of the “field of fire.” Do not shoot near developed areas, campsite, or roads.

– Be courteous.  Yield to other users on the trail.  Be aware of your firearm around others.

This week we worked with the Maine Youth Fish and Game summer camp.  We taught 70 kids how they can minimize their impact while fishing and hunting.  If we educate our youth about the importance of a land ethics, they can grow up to be stewards of the land.


Check out the Leave No Trace Shop for the Hunting Ethics Hangtag to learn more!

Thanks for reading and remember to be like Bigfoot and Leave No Trace!

Pat and TJ


Leave No Trace’s Pat and TJ Beezley are part of the 2013 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Coleman, Hi-Cone, The North Face, REI, Smartwool and Yakima.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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