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Ethics and Regulaltions (WSJCANC)

TopicHabitat and Management - Species and Habitat Management
Participants will consider ethical questions applied to fish and wildlife regulations through situations encountered by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) wildlife officers.
Grade Level9 - 12
Recommended SettingIndoor or outdoor classroom
LocationWitt Stephens Junior Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock
Education Coordinator, 501-907-0636
Duration45 - 60 minutes
Suggested Number of Participants10 - 30
  • Recognize concepts of personal and societal ethics.
  • Understand that regulations exist for management, safety and ethics issues.
  • Identify rules and regulations based on ethical considerations.
  • See that ethics and integrity mean doing the right thing when others are not watching.
Key Terms*

Amendment 75 of 1996

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)

Central Arkansas Nature Center (CANC)

Code of ethics


Land ethic






Wildlife officer


AGFC press release on spinning wing decoys

Current fishing and/or hunting regulations guide book

Regulations quiz sheets


Printouts of hypothetical case studies

Scales of Justice articles from old Arkansas Wildlife magazines


Arkansas has more than 350,000 licensed hunters and 700,000 anglers. Law-abiding hunters and anglers are the most important tool of fish and wildlife managers. Hunters and anglers provide data and dollars for conservation. With fewer than 200 wildlife officers to enforce regulations among nearly three million people, AGFC relies on honest behavior to ensure that game and fish populations remain healthy. While the majority of sportsmen do the right things, there is a percentage that does not make ethical decisions and others who purposely violate regulations. They steal from the citizens of Arkansas by their actions and threaten species populations. These violators are a priority for AGFC wildlife officers

  1. Introducing yourself and the CANC. Explain that it is owned and operated by AGFC and showcases the agency’s mission. Also tell how Amendment 75 of 1996 funds pay for the facility and allow free admission.
  2. Give a short description of the annual regulations-setting process.
  3. Distribute the regulations guidebooks and describe how to locate information in them.
  4. Divide participants into teams and pass out the regulations quiz sheets. Assign each team a portion of the questions, and allow them to answer the questions together for a few minutes. Once finished, review the questions and the reasons these regulations exist.
  5. Explain that AGFC has the authority to issue special regulations at any time of the year beyond the annual hunting and fishing regulation updates. Use the example of duck hunters using the Robo-Duck as a spinning wing decoy. The decoys were so efficient at attracting ducks that hunters were easily filling their daily limits and affecting the duck population numbers. Wildlife biologists studied the issue carefully before recommending that commissioners ban spinning wing decoys in Arkansas in 2005. This decision was controversial, with passionate debate among hunters since Arkansas was the only state in the Mississippi Flyway to ban the decoys. Distribute copies of the AGFC news release on the decision. Ask what they would have decided on spinning wing decoys had they been commissioners. Would they have banned the decoys or not? Why?
  6. Discuss code violation penalties and that fines are returned to the counties where the violations occurred. Explain that the money must be spent for conservation education, and that their visit to CANC may have been paid from these funds. Use the Scales of Justice articles to give examples of regulations enforcement.
  7. Hand out copies of case studies to the teams. Give them a few minutes to debate how they would handle the situation if they were a wildlife officer. Have participants share their ideas.
  • Invite a wildlife officer to speak at school.
  • Use the most recent fine receipts to develop math lessons.
  • Investigate requesting fine receipt funds next year for conservation education programs at the school.
  • Have participants research public meetings on regulations from the AGFC website at www.agfc.com.
  • Consider using the regulations quizzes in the teacher post-visit packet instead of during the visit.
  • Explain the difference between personal and societal ethics.
  • Ask for examples of vehicle operations based on societal ethics.
  • What are the primary duties of a wildlife officer?
  • What is the difference between a right and a privilege? How can hunting privileges in Arkansas be revoked from individuals?



Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC) – the state agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife populations


Code of Ethics – a voluntary set of pledges on safety and honorable conduct that all hunters and anglers are urged to follow


Commissioners – seven individuals appointed by the governor to oversee the AGFC’s agency operations and set hunting and fishing regulations; commissioners serve staggered seven-year terms so that only one expires each year


Land Ethic – respect for public and private property that all hunters are urged to follow in order to promote conservation and continued hunting opportunities


Management – active use of resources to achieve desired results; AGFC biologists practice scientific management of fish, wildlife and habitats to ensure species thrive


Privileges – benefits enjoyed by individuals or groups that are usually dependent upon meeting specified conditions; hunting is a privilege that can be revoked, whereas free speech is a right that cannot be revoked


 Regulations – AGFC’s legal code concerning fish and wildlife that is summarized annually in guidebooks that are widely distributed


Rights – powers enjoyed by free citizens that cannot be revoked; free speech is a right that cannot be taken away, but hunting is a privilege that can be revoked


Stewardship – responsible management of natural resources that all hunters are urged to practice


Wildlife officer – enforcement position responsible for implementing wildlife and fish regulations; AGFC wildlife officers have full police powers in Arkansas