Safety and ethics are fundamental topics for every hunter. As a manufacturer of devices primarily used for hunting, we find them essential, too. But as it is with any topic, the opinions may differ slightly. So, today, we try to find out what safety and ethics mean to hunters from all over Europe, namely Martin Brožek from the Czech Republic, Claudia Breit from Germany, and Espen Emil Søreng from Norway.
While discussing ethical hunting, we’ve noticed that different hunters stress different aspects. But what comes out as a common thread is having a minimal impact on the environment.
“Ethical hunting is a multifaceted commitment that extends beyond the thrill of the pursuit, and it is much more than just killing. At its core, it involves a deep respect for the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the responsible stewardship of wildlife. Compliance with laws and regulations is fundamental, ensuring that hunting activities contribute to conservation efforts and maintain the delicate balance of species within an ecosystem.
Moreover, ethical hunting demands a profound appreciation for the life of the animal being pursued, emphasizing humane and swift kills to minimize suffering. It’s about being mindful of one’s environmental impact, leaving minimal trace, and fostering a sense of gratitude for the resources provided by the natural world”, says Claudia Breit, a German huntress and hunting psychologist.
Her counterpart from the Czech Republic, Martin Brožek, adds one more step to the equation: not only respecting the current environment but actively contributing to a better one.
“Ethical hunting is not just about following the rules; it’s about maintaining a balance in nature. This includes ensuring a healthy balance between male and female animals in a population. Overhunting one gender can disrupt the natural breeding patterns and overall health of the species.
It’s also about contributing to the entire ecosystem. This means protecting habitats and supporting initiatives that improve the environment for all wildlife, not just the species we hunt. By enhancing the overall welfare of animals and their habitats, we ensure sustainable hunting practices.
Thermal imaging devices, like those from Pulsar, assist in this. They allow us to identify and select the appropriate animal, respecting the gender balance and ensuring that the chosen game is the right one to take for maintaining ecological equilibrium,” explains the Czech hunter.
To sum it all up, we’re looking to Espen Emil Søreng, a Norwegian hunter, who came up with a very concise description of ethical hunting: “It involves respecting wildlife, following laws and regulations, and ensuring a humane harvest with minimal impact on the environment.”
To achieve safety in every situation, Martin stresses the importance of proper shot planning. And that includes many things: “Checking the environment before the shot, being aware of potential ricochets, and ensuring there is a proper backstop. A hunter must always be aware of their surroundings, considering factors like wind direction, terrain, and the presence of other animals or people. It’s essential to anticipate where a bullet could travel after a shot. Thermal vision devices play a vital role in safety, especially in crowded or complex environments. They allow us to see if there are civilians nearby or other game hidden in bushes that could be accidentally harmed. This technology helps in making informed decisions, ensuring that every shot is safe and responsible.”
Claudia notes that safety should be a “mindset that permeates every aspect of the experience,” and it’s a “commitment that is not just a personal responsibility but a collective effort to foster a secure hunting environment.” But she does have some golden rules to add to Martin’s list: “First and foremost, treating every firearm as if it’s loaded is a golden rule. Thorough knowledge of one’s firearm and other equipment like scopes and thermal devices, coupled with trigger discipline, is imperative. Identifying the target and what lies beyond it before taking a shot prevents unintended consequences. This makes thermal devices really important at night.”
To Espen, communication is vital, and with that, he takes us to our final question – what mistakes do young hunters make the most often?
“Key safety rules include proper firearm handling, wearing high-visibility clothing when hunting with others, and maintaining clear communication with fellow hunters to prevent accidents.
The lack of proper communication can result in misunderstandings and potentially dangerous situations, emphasizing the importance of clear and consistent interaction to ensure everyone’s safety,” says the Norwegian hunter.
Claudia notices two main types of mistakes. One is more technical and related to firearm handling, the other – to overachieving. “Negligent firearm handling, especially failing to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, remains a concerning trend. Ethical lapses often manifest in hunters taking shots beyond their skill level or pushing ethical boundaries for the sake of a successful harvest. Striking a balance between the excitement and a commitment to responsible, ethical, and safe hunting practices is vital to the long-term sustainability of this age-old tradition,” notes the huntress.
Meanwhile, Martin distinguishes our mental skills: “A common mistake among hunters is a lack of planning and calm decision-making. Hunting can be tense, and it’s easy to get nervous or stressed, which can lead to hasty and unsafe decisions. Hunters need to manage their emotions and approach each situation calmly. Safety is always the priority. Properly selecting the game is vital – making sure it is the right individual to harvest based on age, gender, and health. It’s not just about finding a target but making sure that the chosen animal is the best choice for the sustainability of the species and the environment. Thermal vision devices can assist in this process, helping to identify and select the appropriate game, but they cannot replace careful planning and decision-making.”
Safety and ethics seem like too deep a topic to summarize in a few sentences, but the more we talk to hunters about it, the clearer certain trends emerge. These include never bending the rules, always being mindful, and only firing the shot when you are absolutely, 100% sure it’s the right thing to do.
Before purchasing any night or thermal vision device, please make sure you adhere to the local legislation and only use it when it is allowed. Our ambassadors come from various countries and travel a lot, which allows them to test different devices. We do not encourage or support the illegal use of our devices in any events. If you wish to learn more about export and sales restriction policy, please visit the following link: Export and Sales Restriction Policy.