Getting the biggest buck or the most pheasants, the longest-bearded turkey or the heaviest duck doesn't mean a thing if hunter ethics are not part of the experience.
That comes from Bob Lamb, the retired outdoors editor of The La Crosse Tribune and co-founder of The La Crosse Tribune/Wis. Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award.
"A successful hunt is returning home knowing you were safe and ethical," Lamb says.
Nominations for this statewide award, now in its 17th year, will be accepted through Jan. 15. The annual honor was established by Lamb, retired DNR conservation warden supervisor Steve Dewald and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse instructor Jerry Davis. Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller joined the award committee last year.
Schaller says the award is about recognizing sportsmen and sportswomen who go above and beyond for others who have the same passion or interest — and that is hunting.
"Maybe it's helping a fellow hunter in distress, providing opportunities for disabled hunters, teaching young hunters, coming to the aid of a conservation warden or simply showing other hunters that ethical hunting is as important as safe hunting," Schaller says.
Dewald adds hunters look forward to the annual hunting seasons with great anticipation and hunting traditions are very important. "To help preserve those traditions, every hunter must hunt in a manner that reflects positively on our hunting traditions," he says. "All hunters must strive to hunt in an ethical manner and to pass on these ethical traditions to the young people in their hunting party."
To become eligible for the 2013 award:
✔ The nominee must be a licensed Wisconsin hunter.
✔ The ethical hunting act must have occurred in Wisconsin during the 2013 calendar year.
✔ Nominations will be considered for any DNR-regulated hunting activity in Wisconsin.
✔ Written nominations must contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses to the behavior that lead to the nomination and mailed to Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller at Todd.firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Department of Natural Resources, Attention: Chief Warden Todd Schaller LE/5, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Jan. 15, 2014.