Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

B&C Position Statement - Technology and Hunting

Adopted December 1, 2021

Situational Overview

For more than a century, Fair Chase has been the accepted expression of ethical and sustainable hunting in North America. As the originator and champion of Fair Chase1, the Boone and Crockett Club is often asked to render its opinion, and sometimes its judgment, on the topic of hunting ethics. These requests are increasing in frequency with the proliferation of new hunting products, especially those incorporating electronic technology. Such products include everything from cellular trail cameras to Bluetooth-enabled optics and smart weapons, to devices not yet conceived. 

Some argue that these products are or can be used in ways that give the hunter an unfair advantage over the animal, undermining a fundamental precept of Fair Chase. Some are concerned an over-reliance on devices demeans hunting and the animals we hunt. Others welcome what’s new and improved, claiming that advancements in technology help to ensure quick, humane kills and encourage more participation. 

Many advancements in technology are beneficial because they can increase human safety, reduce wounding and lost animals, help with wildlife recovery, and secure meat from spoilage. Some are designed to help elderly or physically disabled people continue hunting. Ensuring a quick, humane death is the responsibility of every hunter. It is also the personal responsibility of each hunter to decide if every new device is necessary for carrying out this responsibility.

Modern societies embrace advancements in technology, often without question, because they believe it will make their lives easier, more comfortable, and more efficient. This is also true in hunting, but there is one important aspect that makes hunting vastly different from other human activities—the personal accountability that comes with taking the life of a wild animal. How we hunt, and what we hunt with, are therefore things that need to be assessed with reference to our own conscience.

Some wildlife agencies have adopted regulations restricting or prohibiting the use of certain technologies at specific times and/or for particular species. Agencies do so to ensure that the use of technology does not push success rates to the point where seasons or permit numbers need to be reduced, that hunters remain safe in the field, and to uphold the tenets of Fair Chase. In addition to requiring compliance with agency regulations, the Club has adopted its own policies to ensure trophies accepted into its records books are taken in Fair Chase. If the Club determines a hunting product (or the manner in which it is used) is inconsistent with Fair Chase, an entry will be disqualified. Sometimes agencies use the Club entry requirements in their regulations.

READ B&C's Big Game Records Elibility Position Statement. 

Records book policies and government regulations, however, pertain only to a small fraction of the technology and methods available to the hunter today. Much is left to the discretion of the individual. For well over a century, Fair Chase has guided these personal choices as the touchstone for ethical hunting. As such, it provides a valuable framework for thinking about the use of technology, which has the capacity to re-define us as hunters, shape our hunting experiences and memories, impact wildlife populations and management decisions, and influence society’s opinion of hunters and hunting.        


The Boone and Crockett Club supports the use of legal technology to the extent it does not take an unfair advantage over the animal. The Club acknowledges that making these decisions is both personal and complex. With so much left up to the individual, having a universal code of ethics like Fair Chase to guide these deliberations is critical for both personal direction and fulfillment. There are several important principles inherent in Fair Chase that should be considered when weighing technological advantage. 

Hunting, at its most fundamental level, is defined by the unpredictable relationship between predator and prey. This relationship is built upon many complex components that differentiate hunting from simply shooting or killing. It is a profoundly personal and human connection with wildlife that cannot be shortchanged, manipulated, or otherwise compromised if the hunter is to maintain the sanctity of this relationship and any credible claim that hunting is challenging, rewarding, respectful of wild creatures, and a positive force for wildlife conservation. 

If a person allows hunting to become too easy, too predictable, and less challenging, they risk losing the special nature of the hunting experience itself. Hunting tests a person’s abilities in difficult conditions and their developed skills in finding and taking wildlife. Most hunters agree that the physical and mental challenges, and the uncertainty of hunting are its most powerful attractions. 

The Club believes placing personal limits on the use of technology is a rewarding, self-imposed trade-off. While this may decrease the likelihood of a successful harvest, it will heighten the hunting experience and show respect for the animals being hunted. For many people, “the ones that got away” are just as memorable as the ones that did not. A lack of self-restraint may or may not change the outcome of a hunt, but it will certainly diminish its value as a memory.  

From a wildlife management perspective, if technology increases hunter success rates too much, it will limit the options wildlife managers have to stay within harvest objectives. This could mean shorter seasons, fewer tags, or both, which will reduce hunting opportunities. This in turn, will likely decrease hunter participation, hunter retention, and new hunter recruitment, which will threaten the funding model on which wildlife management relies.

Modern societies no longer need to hunt to survive (although wild meat remains a strong motivation for hunting). For many, hunting today is more about maintaining a personal connection to the natural world, actively participating in the conservation of the wildlife being hunted, and enjoying many other personal rewards. These attributes exist because the majority of hunters over the past century have held themselves to the high ethical standards expressed in Fair Chase. This includes and extends beyond what the law requires. 

Times and circumstances are ever changing and challenging even the basic principles that define hunting. The overuse or misuse of technology has the potential to undermine the special nature of hunting that is passed from one generation to the next. That is why the Club encourages everyone that hunts or mentors young hunters to ensure the use of technology does not demean the hunter-prey relationship in a way that diminishes the importance of the animal or the spirit of the hunt. Inevitably, each of us will have to choose if easier is better.

1Fair Chase® is an ethical code for hunters first expressed by the Boone and Crockett Club in 1888 as an integral part of the Club’s crusade to conserve decimated wildlife populations. It is defined as “the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.”
READ B&C's Fair Chase Position Statement
READ B&C's Fair Chase Essay

The Boone and Crockett Club publishes position statements to inform and educate people about conservation and hunting issues. Thus, there is no charge for personal and non-commercial use of its position statements, but reprinting or re-use of any portions of a position statement shall credit the Boone and Crockett Club as the source. Any such use shall remain subject to all rights of the Boone and Crockett Club.


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