Is it unethical to use so much technology against our quarry?

Is digital night vision an unfair advantage? I say no

Is digital night vision an unfair advantage? I say no - Credit: Archant

“Airguns kill with precision shot placement and nothing else will do.”

I overheard a conversation recently in which a man was saying that he felt it’s unsporting for us to use super-accurate PCP rifles fitted with scopes backed up by laser rangefinders against wild quarry animals. He felt the technology was removing the true challenge and stacking the odds in our favour. His blood nearly boiled when somebody mentioned digital night-vision kit, and he hit the roof when thermal-imaging devices were discussed. He felt we should wear an old Barbour coat and shoot a BSA Airsporter with open sights to make it an honourable contest and give the quarry a sporting chance.

Well, I have to say that I disagree with him 100% and I’ll tell you why, with two answers. Firstly, you need to understand that airguns kill with precision shot placement and nothing else will do, and for that reason, anything that makes me more accurate is what I’ll buy.

Let’s be serious here; a rifle cannot be too accurate, and a scope that allows me to see my quarry clearly helps me to define the kill zone accurately, which in turn increases my accuracy potential further. I use a laser rangefinder at every opportunity because by knowing the distance to my target, I can compensate for the pellet’s trajectory, and wouldn’t you know it, that makes me more accurate, too.

Permission granted

My second point is that the people who give me permission to hunt do so because I promise to do my best to answer their problems. Rats around buildings or squirrels damaging feeders cost them money and add aggravation to their already busy lives, so I’m duty-bound to address the problem to the very best of my abilities. Because of this, if a night-sight or thermal-imager makes me more efficient in my work, then I’m going to use it.

If I were exterminating a quarry species from the ground, then perhaps he’d have a point, but the reality is that I’m holding back the tide as best I can, and in my experience, the destructive animals always come back no matter how hard I try to stop them. I’ve shot over 50 grey squirrels from one small wood so far this winter, yet the estate manager insisted that ‘it’s crawling with them’ when I saw him a few days ago! Of course, farmers and other custodians of precious crops are entitled to their exaggerations, but it makes the point that I most certainly have not wiped them out, and I’ve used a hill of technology to get their numbers down. As I always say, I’ll take all the help I can get! n

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