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New Initiative Seeks to Strengthen the Historically Respected Image of the North American Hunter
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A new initiative being launched by the Boone and Crockett Club titled, Hunt Right; Hunt Fair Chase will address one of the most pressing issues of our time, the image of the North American hunter, and the public image of hunting in general.

"Hunters have always been a minority," said CJ Buck, vice president of communications for the Boone and Crockett Club. "But, there was a time when sportsmen were widely respected for their skill, commitments to wildlife, and how we conducted ourselves. Today, we do not need to look far to see that hunting's modern relevance is being questioned, if not being outright attacked. This includes sportsmen ourselves, not just the activity of hunting."

The new initiative, which is being supported by industry manufacturers, the outdoor media, and conservation groups will launch August 9. Its purpose is to invigorate and inspire sportsmen of today by shining a light on the moral connection hunters have always had with the game they hunt, and how this connection translates into the values hunters carry with them into the field. This connection is a critical part of the fair chase principles Theodore Roosevelt and the Club helped to establish over a century ago, which became the foundation of an overall conservation ethic.

"Before hunting became the irreplaceable mechanism for conservation that it is today, a new order had to be established," Buck explained.

By the time Roosevelt founded the Club in 1887 wildlife, game species in particular, had been pushed to the brink by commercial market hunting, unregulated sport hunting, and habitat loss. His vision for a new way forward was to put an end to the commercial slaughter and encourage public hunting, but under a system governed by laws and a code of ethics, which the Club would call fair chase.

"Our ethics, how we conduct ourselves in the field, is a matter of great pride among sportsmen, but like anything that was introduced over 100 years ago a refresher course is a good idea," said Buck. "Hunting and even our own motivations and values as hunters are under attack. If this is about a lack of information or misinformation, we can fix that. If this is about the poor behavior of a few, we have a responsibility to fix that. When we're talking about our own public image then there is no one else but sportsmen who can right the ship."

Hunt Right will appear as a robust communications effort directing sportsmen to a website where they can learn more about the history behind fair chase and how sportsmen can collectively become better brand ambassadors for hunting.

"To be heard and understood in the court of public opinion you must first have earned your permission to speak," Buck concluded. "Fair chase is our permission to speak. It says that not only are there laws that govern hunting, its participants go beyond the law and hold themselves accountable to personal code of ethics that show respect for the game. This is what our society needs to hear to quiet the critics, and they need to hear and see it from us."

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