Partners in Conservation: NRA and Boone and Crockett Club Team Up to Launch Free Online Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics Course

Partners in Conservation: NRA and Boone and Crockett Club Team Up to Launch Free Online Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics Course

As it has done so many times in the past, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has partnered with a major conservation organization to promote hunting and to help ensure its future. In the most recent example, the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum (HLF) provided a grant to the Boone and Crockett Club so the organization could create its new Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics curriculum online module unveiled on Feb. 13.

As defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, “Fair Chase is the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the game animals.” To be clear, it adds, “Fair Chase isn't just about what is legal or illegal as Fair Chase can be subjective and can represent different ideals for every hunter.”

While the Boone and Crockett Club has always been a leading proponent of fair chase and hunter ethics, it has never offered a curriculum for individuals who are interested in learning more about these topics. The new course changes all that. It mirrors much of the existing free NRA Online Hunter Education course but dives more deeply into the roots of conservation, the value of hunting within the North America Model of Wildlife Conservation and the importance of fair chase ethics. In this way, the module helps to ensure the current generation of hunters recognizes and operates under this code.

“As the organization that developed the first hunter education program in America, the NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum is excited to support Boone and Crockett Club’s efforts to teach hunter ethics,” said Andrew Arulanandam, interim NRA EVP and CEO. “Boone and Crockett Club’s Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics course is a great complement to NRA’s award-winning online Hunter Education course. Both of these free online programs ensure that hunters—new and old—are prepared to enter the field to harvest their game safely and ethically.”

As noted in a 2023 news story announcing the partnership, the Boone and Crockett Club has a history steeped in measured and thoughtful commitment to wild land and wildlife conservation. Working with Fair Chase subject matter experts and educators to help communicate the importance of fair chase ethics for and to hunters, the new course will help to teach new hunters while providing a refresher for seasoned hunters regarding the ethics of fair chase and the principles of wildlife conservation.
“The concept of Fair Chase is just as important today as it was over 120 years ago,” said Tony Schoonen, CEO of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Most Americans are neither pro-hunting nor anti-hunting. Most of them are on the fence. As hunters, we are all ambassadors for our sport. When we hunt ethically, we will garner more support from the general public and help ensure our hunting heritage continues for generations into the future.”

Like existing NRA hunter education modules, the Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics curriculum provides for interactive and flexible learning and delivers positive messages to new and existing hunters, as well as to the public at large. Reaching those who have never been exposed to hunting with positive messages about hunting and its benefits is increasingly important following the groundbreaking research the NRA conducted with Responsive Management in 2016 assessing public attitudes toward hunters, hunting and conservation and animal rights and animal welfare issues resulting in the book, How to Talk about Hunting: Research-Based Communication Strategies.

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. Based in Missoula, Mont., it maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone National Park; establishing Glacier and Denali national parks; founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System; fostering the Pittman-Robertson Act and creating the Federal Duck Stamp program.

Boone and Crockett challenge coins

The Boone and Crockett Club’s free Online Fair Chase and Hunter Ethics course is available on the Boone and Crockett Club website now. In teaching hunters and others who take the course about the rich tradition of Fair Chase, it fosters an understanding of responsible and ethical hunting. It also helps course participants to build a foundation of principles that will help them to define their own ethical standards. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of achievement and the opportunity to obtain a “Hunt Fair Chase” challenge coin as a testament to their commitment to ethical hunting.

For more information on the course, click here.