Follow code o ethics in the field

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Sports would not exist without rules. It seems simple, but consider playing tennis with no out-of-bounds line or hockey with steel sticks.

Hunting has its fair share of rules and regulations, but the difference between hunting and other sports is that there is nobody there to blow the whistle.

"(Hunting) is a solitary act," said John Ellenberger, the Division of Wildlife big-game manager. "It's not like having a ref at a football game. You are your own judge."

The sport of hunting is a test not only in skill, but also in self-restraint. And the stakes are much higher than a free throw.

Hunting rules and regulations not only keep the competition fair for all hunters, they also protect natural wildlife resources.

Poaching a female deer before the season starts can rack up a fine, but more important, it also could kill a fawn that cannot survive without its mother, Ellenberger said.

Hunting is a privilege, not a right, Ellenberger reminds hunt-ers. Hunting comes with ethical responsibility.

The threat of fines and loss of hunting licenses helps enforce hunting regulations, but a hunter's ethics are under greater scrutiny.

"The American hunter needs to realize he or she is under a lot of scrutiny by the anti- and non-hunting public," Ellenberger said.

"When (hunters) don't uphold ethical standards, it's just more reason for anti-hunters to say, 'look they are not being ethical, why should they be allowed to continue?'"

To ensure the progression of the sport, as well as the protection of natural resources, hunting ethics should always be in the back of every hunter's mind.

"Most of it is just common sense, if only people would just use it," said Sportsman Information Center specialist Vivian Murray.

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