Bob Lamb, retired La Crosse Tribune outdoors editor, and co-founder of the Tribune/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award, had a standard for measuring a successful hunt.
"Successful hunting is not coming home with meat for the table," he said. "A successful hunt is returning home knowing you were safe and ethical. And, only you know that."
Jerry Davis, Steve Dewald and Lamb established the state award in 1997.
Davis is a retired instructor from UW-La Crosse, who lives in Barneveld and has long been a regular contributor for the Wisconsin State Journal.
Dewald retired as DNR conservation warden supervisor in the La Crosse area in 2011.
"We recognize and sometimes reward hunters who take a special bear, turkey or deer," Davis said. "We should do the same for special hunters, who continue to have a high regard for the animals they take, are willing to help their fellow hunters, and who respect the land they hunt on. Most hunters do those things. A very few do not.”
Dewald said: "The award demonstrates how the considerate acts of one or more hunters can positively influence the enjoyment of other hunters. At a time when society seems to be polarized over many issues, the award's theme reminds all hunting groups to come together to engage in actions that reflect positively on the tradition of hunting."
For the first time, one family swept both adult and youth honors in 2011. David Sander of Woodville and James Sander of Baldwin were co-winners of the Tribune/DNR Adult Hunter Ethics Award, while David's son, Colton, was the recipient of the Tribune/DNR Youth Hunter Ethics Award.
Dan McGuire, principal at Tomahawk Elementary School in Tomahawk, nominated the Sander trio after they helped McGuire's then 15-year-old son, Jacob, find his nine-point buck.
Todd Schaller of Madison is the state DNR Recreation Enforcement and Education section chief for the Bureau of Law Enforcement. He joined Dewald, Davis and Lamb on last year's selection panel.
"The award is about recognizing people who do the right thing as it occurs as a hunter, or in a hunting setting," Schaller said. "It really represents what the majority of hunters believe and are about."
To become eligible for the 2012 award (nominations are due Dec. 15):
* The nominee must be a licensed Wisconsin hunter.
* The ethical hunting act must occur in Wisconsin during the 2012 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 Todd Schaller at Todd.firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Department of Natural Resources, Attention: Warden Schaller LE/5, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by Dec. 15.
For more information, call Dewald at 608-781-9774, Lamb at 608-526-3925, Davis at 608-924-1112, or Schaller at 608-267-2774.
For more, visit the Wareden Wire, a dedicated website for news on Wisconsin's conservation law enforcement at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wardenwire/