Ethics and Responsibility Scenarios

Group discussions are an excellent way to develop students' understanding of ethics and responsibilities. Here are some topics to get you started.

For each situation consider:

  • What you could do
  • What you should do
  • What you would do


Scenario 1 - Your older cousin invites you to go trapping. Along the way, you come to a fence posted with "No Trespassing" signs. As he starts to cross the fence, you ask him "Do we have permission to go there?" He responds, "The owner doesn't care, and besides, he never comes back here; now come on, let's go."

Scenario 2 - It is Christmas break from school. You have put out a trapline with more than 3 dozen sets. One afternoon a friend calls and asks you to spend the night and go to an all-day party the next day. It sounds like fun and you really want to go.

Scenario 3 - A friend introduces you to a Mr. Smith who is complaining about problems with raccoons on his new 500 acre farm. He gives you permission to trap. On the third day of the season at a remote part of the farm you are confronted by a fox trapper who accuses you of trespassing on property where he claims sole permission to trap. You tell him you have permission from Mr. Smith, but he claims the property is owned by the Jones family, who moved to the city several years ago.

Scenario 4 - You are checking your land sets on public land where you haven't seen anyone else since trapping season opened. Suddenly, you hear several gunshots and turn to see a group of about a dozen hunters in a wide line walking across the field in your direction. As you watch, you can hear the sound of dog bells and beepers coming closer. They are going to pass through an area where you have several foothold traps and cable devices set for
coyotes.

Scenario 5 - You are trapping on private land where you know the landowner is generous about giving permission to hunters and trappers. You find a muskrat in one of your body-gripping traps at a den site. A man and a young girl approach you and accuse you of stealing fur from their traps. You haven't stolen anything, and you haven't seen anyone else's traps on the property since the season opened. How would you respond?

Scenario 6 - It is the second day of trapping season. Before school, you checked your traps and found several muskrats, a mink, and two raccoons. After school you return home and begin the process of skinning and fleshing your fur when three friends show up. One of them is offended to find out that you are a trapper. You don't know what the other two think because they are unusually quiet. What would you say to your friend?

Scenario 7 - It is six weeks before the trapping season opens. You show up at a farm to do some scouting where you have permission to trap. The landowner complains about deer damaging his orchard. He comes out of the house with two rifles and says he wants to go along while you scout and have you help him kill several deer. If you turn him down, he may not let you trap on his property anymore. You know that there are too many deer in the area, and the wildlife agency has given several farmers permits to shoot some of them. You don't know if this landowner has a permit, and you are not sure of the rules even if he does have a permit.

Scenario 8 - You are out checking your fox traps on a private farm. As you approach a set, you find a fox in someone else's trap set about 30 feet upwind of one of your dirt-hole sets. You can see well in all directions and no one else is around. You've worked hard to do everything right, and you feel like that fox would have been yours if the other trapper had stayed away. Think about each of the people in the following scenarios and the attitudes they may have about furbearers and trapping. What would you do in this situation? If you could talk to the people, what would you say? What might change their feelings? If everyone in your community had the same attitudes about wildlife, what might happen as a result?

Scenario 9: You stop at a roadside stand where a farmer sells fruits and vegetables. You overhear a customer say "Why is your sweet corn so expensive this year?" The farmer says "Raccoons have eaten nearly half my corn. I never saw so much damage."

Scenario 10: Your family has trapped on several properties in your neighborhood for many years. One property with two large ponds was sold to a family from another state. A month before trapping season opens you stop by to introduce yourself. A young child waves at you as you pull in the drive. As you get out of the car you notice a bumper sticker on the car in front of you. It says "Real Men Don't Eat Meat." The front door opens and a young man steps out to check on the child.

Scenario 11: You take your dog to the vet for annual shots. While you are waiting a woman rushes in crying and holding a badly injured cat. She tells the receptionist her cat is dying after being attacked by a coyote.

Scenario 12: You are sitting in a restaurant having lunch. You overhear a conversation at the table next to you. It sounds like the three men sitting there are poaching deer and selling the meat, but you aren't sure. Sometimes their talk sounds like it is in code. When you leave the restaurant there is a truck parked next to you. You see a spotlight on the seat. As you back out you notice blood and deer hair on the bumper.

Last modified: Thursday, 26 July 2012, 11:49 AM