What Would Roosevelt Say?

A Moral Connection To Game

If you’re still wondering where hunting ethics come from and why they have been passed from one generation to the next, the man’s name is Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was more than just a president who was a hunter. He not only got it, he is credited in history for inventing it and popularizing it. Roosevelt saw conservation as a duty of citizenship, on the same plain as a commitment to one’s family, religion, career and country. In riding, shooting, hunting and exploration he saw the character in what it meant to be a man; a fair man, a free man, an honest man, a straight shooter and a hard worker who commanded respect and deserved a square deal.

In the game we hunted he saw value and respect – tough survivalist that he aspired to be, yet fragile, worthy of conserving, never exploited and deserving of only an honorable death with a purpose.

His conservation, and therefore hunting ethic, arose out of an early fascination for birds and the rigors of living the hardly life of the wilderness. This was further nurtured on a buffalo hunt in Montana in 1883. TR borrowed a gun, hired a guide and for nine days rode through the rotting carcasses of commercially slaughter buffalo. He would later write, “we were never out of sight of a dead buffalo, and never in sight if a live one.”

Roosevelt formed a coalition of sportsmen in 1887 to, among other things bring and end to the commercial slaughter of wildlife, introduce a fair-chase sporting code, and nominate sportsmen as ambassadors of a new concept called conservation, with hunting as its foundation. The citizen group he founded was the Boone and Crockett Club.

We take to the woods, fields and mountains with this legacy tucked into our pouch and hunt the abundance of game we have today that is the result of a moral connection to wildlife.

Roosevelt would say, Bully for us.

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