Would You Shoot a Bull When It's Fighting?

You hear commotion coming from a patch of timber and sneak closer for a look. It’s a pair of bull elk sparring with intensity and oblivion to approaching danger.

They are so intent on kicking each other’s arse that they have no idea you are watching them, and as you sneak closer your own blood rises. You may be able to slip a shaft (or a bullet or a spear…) into one of them as they sort out their hierarchy.

You take advantage of their distraction to get an easy shot. Do you take it? Is this a sporting proposition? Or does this fall somewhere outside that gray continuum of what constitutes fair chase?

When I first saw this video clip, last year, it was clear to me. It’s any hunter’s dream scenario, and I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the bowhunter to take the shot. But the more I watch it, I find myself rooting for the bulls, not for the hunter. And I’m a little bummed that one of the bulls ends up getting shot. It’s almost as though the hunter is an unwelcome intruder in this scene.

Am I getting soft? Is this an ethical proposition? What would you do?