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Jerry Davis: DNR hunting nominations for ethical hunter award

November 26, 2017 GMT

How many acts exhibiting ethics, kindness, or courtesy did you encounter during the recent nine-day, gun deer season?

For that matter, how many acts were encountered during the entire year and the numerous hunting seasons within 2017?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources invites hunters and non-hunters to nominate anyone they believe deserves to be named the ethical hunter of 2017.

Each year for the past 20 a four-person committee studied these nominations and selected the person who it believed was most deserving of this award.

Here are examples of the first award winner, back in 1997, and the most recent winner, in 2016, and what they did to help a fellow hunter and make that day safer or more enjoyable, sometimes at considerable time and effort or expense on their own part.

During the 1997 gun deer season, another hunter and his companion, a much younger male, found a dead deer that had fallen off a vehicle. The deer had been registered so the task was not impossible but it took the better part of opening Saturday to track the deerless hunter down and return his deer.

Last year, a man gave up his cherished hunting location when he and another man arrived at the same time, each expecting to have a great opportunity to see and possibly kill a deer. The man who walked away and said, “I’ll find another location; you take this one,” was awarded certificates and prizes for being courteous and ethical and not arguing about who was there first or had hunted there the most times on this public land.

The 2016 award winner, as well as the committee, was unaware that a generous company would come forward gifting some fabulous outdoors items to the ethical hunter.

Vortex Optical, currently located in Middleton, put together a package of a range finder, binoculars and a rifle scope and gave it to Dan Burns, of Madison, for his ethical act.

As Vortex Optical prepares to move into its new building and location in Barneveld in March 2018, the company has agreed to continue providing a significant token of appreciation to the committee’s choice of the 2017 ethical hunter, and beyond.

Each year, anyone in the public can nominate a licensed Wisconsin hunter for the DNR Ethical Hunter Award for an action that took place during that calendar year. While many nominations are made during gun deer season, the ethical action could be something done during a squirrel hunt, turkey hunt, waterfowl hunting or any other Wisconsin hunting season.

Simply send the name, address and other contact information to Chief Warden Todd Schaller, by email or letter and explain what the ethical act was.

For more information, contact Warden Schaller or any Wisconsin conservation warden. The committee will do the rest.

Part of the reason for having this award is to recognize that most licensed hunters are ethical hunters, even though we don’t hear much about those who do good things at their own expense to help make a hunting experience a happy one for a fellow hunter.