Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

Training Fair Chase Hunters in the 21st Century

A new online hunter ethics course from the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Rifle Association teaches the foundations of fair chase.


Rachel and Jake are new to hunting. Luckily, they have a mentor to take them into the field. Uncle Trevor has volunteered to help them navigate a journey that begins with creating a personal code of conduct and ethics and then culminates with a feast of wild game. Along the way, Rachel and Jake learn about how to prepare for a hunt, apply their knowledge of ethical hunting during the pursuit, and realize that the best way to honor the life that they’ve taken is to share it with friends and family.

The fictional journey of Rachel, Jake, and Uncle Trevor is the foundation of a new online course offered by the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Rifle Association’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF). While traditional hunter education courses focus on rules, gun safety, and regulations, the Club’s course emphasizes the role of one’s own ethics during the pursuit of wild game.

Thanks to an HLF grant and a team of Boone and Crockett Club fair chase subject matter experts and educators, the Club formulated the world-class online learning experience to help communicate the importance of fair chase ethics when hunters head to the field. The Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics curriculum will complement existing NRA hunter education modules to carry a positive message to new and existing hunters, as well as to the general public. The new course takes a deep dive into the roots of conservation, the value of hunting within the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and the importance of fair chase ethics.

“We are very pleased to team up with the NRA to offer a world-class digital education experience on the topics of fair chase and hunter ethics,” said Luke Coccoli, director of conservation programs for the Boone and Crockett Club. “This code of ethics is essential to showing respect for the game we hunt and forms the foundation for our responsibility to wildlife and wild places.”

The Importance of Fair Chase

Fair Chase is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the game animals. To be clear, fair chase isn’t just about what is legal or illegal—in fact, fair chase can be subjective and represent different ideals for every hunter. This course creates a foundation of ethical hunting upon which hunters can build.

The origins of the fair chase concept reach back to 1902 and President Theodore Roosevelt, who was on a bear hunt in Mississippi when his guide tied a bear to a tree. The president refused to kill the animal because he had made no effort to hunt the bear himself, nor was there any way for the bear to escape. The accompanying press covered the story, and a political cartoon depicting the event ran in the Washington Post.

President Roosevelt brought attention to a new kind of hunting in which sportsmen replaced killers. This event, often called “the most famous hunt to have taken place on American soil,” was the birth of fair chase. But it did not stop there. In the early 1900s, Roosevelt and his fellow Boone and Crockett Club members worked to end the trade in meat, hides, and feathers. In addition, they spearheaded the nation’s conservation movement, setting aside millions of acres of public land and establishing various agencies like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

“The concept of fair chase is just as important today as it was over 120 years ago,” said Tony Schoonen, chief executive officer of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Most Americans are neither pro-hunting nor anti-hunting. Most of them are on the fence. As hunters, we are all ambassadors for our sport. When we hunt ethically, we will garner more support from the general public and help ensure our hunting heritage continues for generations into the future.”

The Hunter Ethics Course

The free online course teaches students about the rich tradition of fair chase, helping them understand responsible and ethical hunting. It builds a foundation of principles, which allows students to define their own ethical standards.

The course structure centers around convenience. It’s broken into five different sections and can be paused anytime. Students can log in from anywhere and resume where they left off. With interactive lessons, quizzes, and videos, the course is meant to educate and entertain seasoned and rookie hunters alike.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of achievement and the opportunity to obtain a “Hunt Fair Chase” challenge coin as a testament to their commitment to ethical hunting.

“Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt and the founding of conservation in this country, hunters have had a code of ethics in their pursuit of wildlife,” said HLF director Peter Churchbourne. “This ethics education curriculum is essential to ensure that the current generation of hunters understands and operates under this code.” This free online course aims to continue that longstanding tradition.

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Read More about the Fair Chase Hunter Ethics Program

Online Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics Course

Boone and Crockett Club and NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum Developing Online Hunter Ethics Learning Module



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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt