Is Bowhunting Ethical ?

October 07, 2014


bowhunting   hunting  

Compound Bow Case Backpack Superline - Legend Archery - 2
Compound Bow Case Backpack Superline
Everest Roller Case For Compound Bows - Legend Archery - 1
Everest Roller Case For Compound Bows
Archery Backpack Artemis
Archery Backpack Artemis
Bow Case Alpha RS - Legend Archery - 1
Bow Case Backpack Alpha RS

Bow hunting ethics is a topic that comes up often. There seems to be quite a controversy over the topic. You can say, "it is and it isn't." It's like asking are handguns in the hands of citizens safe ? They are and they aren't. It depends on whose hands they are in. It is the same with the question, "Is bowhunting ethical?" It depends on whose hands the bow is in.

Thinking about most bowhunters I have been in contact with I would say, "yes", bowhunting is ethical. Bowhunting is a state controlled sport. So, there are rules. But it is the unstated rules that bowhunters follow that make them ethical or not.

Ethical bowhunters understand the significance of the animals they hunt. Like our ancestors they have a deep appreciation for nature and all of God's creations. They understand where they fit into nature and the responsibility they have for the survival of wildlife. A significant amount of our nation's conservation funding comes from the taxes and license fees that hunters pay.

Ethical bowhunters obey the laws of hunting and avoid the use of technology that would give the hunter an unfair advantage. They do not waste. They treat the animals harvested with respect and gratitude.

To be an ethical bowhunter there are certain things you should always do :

Be Prepared - It is your responsibility to make sure you and your equipment are in top working condition. You have to practice often during the off season. If you are not a good enough archer to hit your target in the kill zone than you are not good enough to hunt. There is nothing worse for the animal and for the reputation of the sport than to hit a deer in the wrong place and have it walking around with an arrow sticking out of it. Your equipment needs to be in proper working order, as well, for the same reason.



Choose Your Hunting Companions Wisely - Your companions must share your commitment to responsible ethical behavior. You must act with respect to the land that you hunt, the animals you hunt and those you meet on the hunt.


Respect for Private Property - Always ask permission to hunt on private property. Always follow the owner's wishes. Ask every time you want to hunt on the property. Just because they said yes once, does not mean that it will always be ok. Be respectful. Do not say there will be two of us and show up with half a dozen. Always leave the land the way you found it, whether private or public property. Show respect for the land and landowners.


Respect For Animals - Understanding the wildlife you hunt gives you more respect for the animal and creates a better experience for yourself. As you develop your bowhunting skills and are in tune with your surroundings your positive experience increases a hundred fold. Ethical bowhunters are patient. They wait until their target is within their kill range to shoot. This patience develops character and is rewarded both in their hunting and their personal lives. Ethical hunters never take more game than they can use.

In answer to the question, "Is Bowhunting Ethical?", "Yes bow hunting is ethical". It is governed by a set of written and unwritten laws of morality and humanity. There are those who choose not to follow the laws. It is that way in all aspects of society. It is your responsibility as a bowhunter to follow moral bowhunting ethics to insure the viability and respect for the sport and all wildlife.


Now tell us what you think. Is bow hunting ethical or is it cruel ? Leave a comment.


Martin Douglas
Martin Douglas


5 Responses


January 22, 2018

I think that if you are a bow hunter,myself being one, you must have complete confidence when you take your shot,to know that you will kill the animal cleanly and quickly. If you take a shot without that confidence,that is unethical.
I think it’s better to practice hard, hunt easy.


September 18, 2017

I am sickened by the many stories I hear of “so called” bowhunters shooting elk in Arizona and not being able to find/ track them after they shoot them. They make a half ass effort to find them then move on to find another one to shoot. Bow hunting here in AZ should definitley be outlawed in my opinion; especially for elk. Elk are some tough dang animals and the nimrods that can’t accurately shoot a dang bow are out there by the dozens from what I have seen in hunting this state…There should at the very least be test for these “so called” bow hunters to prove they can hit animals in kill zones at different ranges as well as schooling on tracking animals they shoot before they are even allowed a tag.

Joe Maximore
Joe Maximore

March 09, 2017

This is terrible reasoning, and I don’t think anyone who actually studies real ethics would recognize this as ethical deliberation. Ethics has nothing to do with making the fight fair or following rules. All that matters is whether you are causing harm or suffering that is not outweighed by a corresponding good. The fact that bowhunting gives the hunter less of an advantage makes it unethical. The most ethical way to kill another organism, if you must kill it at all, is to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Bowhunting is the antithesis of that. Hunters are bad at logic, otherwise this would seem obvious. Ethics has nothing to do with being as primitive as possible.

T.J. Egbarts
T.J. Egbarts

November 07, 2016

Yes, bowhunting is ethical and humane. It is a two edged sword though; like the article says it takes time to develop your skills. That being said you can’t just pick up a bow once before the season, make sure it’s on target and not shoot it till the season starts like you can with a rifle. It’s something you need to practice at. This practicing in tern develops your comfort zone and allows you to take animals within that zone safely and ethically for you and the animal you’er pressuring.

Randy Johnson
Randy Johnson

August 22, 2015

Yes i think bowhunting is ethical, but follow the law and i always remind myself that: “Killing is not for fun”, i hunt a small animal, something im not kill, just release them right after i got them.
Randy Johnson

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