Remember 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 Moffat County Sportsman Information Specialist Ned Miller. "It's not like having a ref at a football game. You're your own judge."

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 importantly it could also kill a fawn that can't survive without its mother, Miller said.

Hunting is a privilege, not a right, Miller reminded hunters. With that privilege comes 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," Miller 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?'"

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