Hunter Ethics Award honors character, not harvest: Nominate by Feb. 15

LA CROSSE, Wis. — If a hunter’s action impressed you as kindness, courtesy, respect, responsible — or any way you witnessed a moral compass in action — consider nominating the individual for the annual Wisconsin Hunter Ethics Award for 2017.

First awarded in 1997, the annual Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources honor recognizes the hunter whose action are emblematic of Wisconsin’s hunting heritage. A heritage that is of an outdoor tradition enjoyed responsibly, respectfully and safely by and for all and not about trophy bucks or number of pheasants.

DNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller, also a member of the award committee, says ethical behavior often means going above and beyond.

“That means actions that help another during a hunt, or taking steps to ensure the resources are there for all,” Schaller said. “The award is focused on a singular action or event such as past recognition; returning lost gear, helped others find lost game or assisted another hunter facing a challenge of some kind.”

Anyone–hunter or non-hunter–can nominate a licensed Wisconsin hunter for the DNR Ethical Hunter Award for an action that took place during the calendar year of 2017. 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.

A four-person committee studies the nominations and selects the person judged most deserving of this award. The annual honor was established by Bob Lamb, retired outdoors editor of the La Crosse Tribune, retired DNR conservation warden supervisor Steve Dewald and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse biology professor and outdoors writer Jerry Davis.

Last year, Wisconsin-based Vortex Optics partnered with the award and provided package of a range finder, binoculars and a rifle scope for the award winner. Highlighting Wisconsin hunting heritage, Vortex is planning to continue the partnership.

“Hunting ethically continues to be significant in helping set examples for young hunters. The DNR annual ethical hunter award brings examples of this behavior public,” Davis said. “We’re privileged to have Vortex Optics, Inc. as a sponsor.”

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.

To become eligible for the 2017 award:

  • The nominee must be a licensed (resident or nonresident) Wisconsin hunter.
  • The ethical hunting act must have occurred in Wisconsin during the 2017 calendar year.
  • Nominations will be considered for any DNR-regulated hunting activity, not only deer hunting, in Wisconsin.
  • Written nominations must contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses, or be aware of the behavior, which led to the nomination. Mail to Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller at Todd.schaller@wisconsin.gov or to Department of Natural Resources, Attention: Chief Warden Todd Schaller LE/5, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Feb. 15, 2018.