Bowhunting’s Ten Commandments

Sponsored by: Dead Down Wind & The Archery Hall of Fame

By: M.R. James

Bowhunting’s Ten Commandments

I AM A RESPONSIBLE BOWHUNTER who understands and accepts the limitations of hunting with archery tackle. I embrace all challenges and rewards of that pursuit.


1. I SHALT NOT FAIL BECOMING PROFICIENT WITH MY PERSONAL CHOICE OF EQUIPMENT. I realize that bows and arrows are relatively short-range weapons, and I will not take any shots beyond my effective shooting range. I will practice diligently to hone personal shooting skills that enable me to consistently place my arrows within the kill area of game birds and animals.

2. I SHALT RESPECT ALL WILDLIFE I HUNT.  I pledge to do everything humanly possible to recover all arrow-hit animals. Knowing that the taking of any life is always serious, I will strive to make only quick, clean kills and avoid all risky shots that could result in a wounded, unrecovered animal. If asked, I will assist others in tracking and retrieving their animals.

3. I SHALT OBEY ALL GAME LAWS AND THE RULES OF FAIR CHASE.  I understand that it is my responsibility to know and adhere to all hunting rules and regulations in each area I bowhunt. Additionally, I will faithfully practice good sportsmanship and honor the unwritten laws and codes of conduct that ethical bowhunting demands.

4. I SHALT NOT TRESPASS OR INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF MY FELLOW HUNTERS.  I will always respect private property and hunt only the public lands or properties where I have permission to be. I will never use unoccupied treestands or blinds belonging to other hunters. Neither will I knowingly place my own stands or blinds within proximity of others. I recognize that the Golden Rule applies to landowners and my fellow bowhunters.

5. I SHALT PRACTICE SAFE HUNTING AT ALL TIMES.  I will never climb into or out of elevated stands while carrying my archery tackle. I will always wear fall-restraint vests or harnesses when hunting from trees. I will immediately replace worn bowstrings and cables. I will will routinely check arrows for cracked shafts or nocks. I will be especially careful when handling broadheads. I will avoid carrying a nocked arrow across rough, uneven, icy, or wet terrain. I will avoid any shot where a miss could strike another hunter or animal

6. I SHALT NOT VERBALLY ATTACK MY FELLOW HUNTERS.  I will not engage in public attacks on gun hunters or fellow bowhunters by disparaging the legal hunting equipment they choose to use. I understand that equipment choice is a personal matter and divisive infighting delights antihunting organizations seeking an end to all hunting.

7. I SHALT CONDEMN ALL POACHERS AND SCOFFLAW HUNTERS. I will publicly speak out against outlaw poachers, game hogs, criminal trespassers, vandals, litterers, and other individuals whose mindless acts cast all law-abiding hunters and legal hunting practices in a bad light. I will make certain the non-hunting public realizes hunters do not condone illegal and unethical actions.

8. I SHALT NOT COVET THE SUCCESS OF FELLOW BOWHUNTERS.  I will fully enjoy my own bowhunting experiences and successes without envy or jealousy. I will offer a handshake or tip of my camo cap to others who share my passion for the sport and succeed in their own hunting endeavors.

9. I SHALT ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST ANY BEGINNING HUNTER I MEET.  Understanding that not everyone is destined to become a bowhunter, I will resist the temptation to force my favorite outdoor pastime on anyone. However, when asked to assist a friend or relative get started in bowhunting, I will do all I can to help that individual.

10. I SHALT HONOR THE SPORT OF BOWHUNTING AT ALL TIMES.  Although I am only one person, I am sufficiently committed to lead by example. I will serve as a source of information, inspiration, and encouragement that our sport’s days will be long in the lands our good Lord gave us so our kind will flourish and prosper.

2 Responses to "Bowhunting’s Ten Commandments"

  1. Robert Hoague   2012/06/22 at 2:14 pm

    Nicely spoken. And may our kind flourish and prosper.

  2. Zan Christensen   2012/06/22 at 3:25 pm

    I second that Robert. Thanks for publishing this, well worth doing every year!