The Boone and Crockett Club announced its support for a new fair-chase policy recently adopted by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. The new policy for hunting and angling in the state is in response to emerging technologies that have the potential to undermine the long-standing traditions of sportsmen in upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct in the field.
The Club defines fair chase 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. Colorado has now adopted a similar definition for Colorado sportsmen and its wildlife.
"Definitions are important, but even more so is a general understanding of the concept of fair chase," said Morrie Stevens, president of the Boone and Crockett Club. "Fair chase has been a important part of the values of our organization and our members dating back to our founder, Theodore Roosevelt. We're certainly pleased to see a state with such rich outdoor traditions and values in hunting and angling like Colorado step up to say, 'how we hunt and fish is just as important as why.'"
A sporting approach and a respect for the animals hunted was instrumental to wildlife recovery in North America, and continues to be utilized in their management today because it is part of an overall conservation ethic. The name given to this code of conduct by the Boone and Crockett Club was fair chase, which was also the cornerstone of many of our game laws.
"Fair chase is rich in benefits," Stevens said. "It brings to light the lessons learned and values instilled through the ethical pursuit of game... qualities such as self-reliance, personal responsibility, self-restraint and hardiness, as well as time-honored skills such as woodmanship and marksmanship. But we need to recognize that quickly evolving technology requires us to consider the appropriate framework of such devices and applications, if any, within fair chase. Colorado is doing that."
The Club has promoted the concept of fair chase for the past 130 years, primarily through its big-game records book by only accepting trophies taken under fair chase conditions. Over time, it has adapted its Entry Affidavit to exclude the use of some technologies it has deemed as unfair chase; such as using two-way radios to guide another hunter to game, cameras that transmit images back to the hunter and using drones while hunting.