Let’s stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Hunting, as my boss and mentor Bob Robb put it, “is a privilege, not a right, and there is a huge contingent of people who don’t understand it, don’t know anything about modern conservation or the fact that today, as it has always been, it is the hunter who pays the bill for conservation of both habitat and wildlife.”

When something like this happens, when a group of so-called reputable hunters trip up and commit an alleged hunting violation, that huge contingent gets a little more firepower. We must stop giving them ammunition to shoot us with.

So what’s the latest scoop? According to the Associated Press, The Sportsman’s Channel immediately suspended The Syndicate, a popular televised hunting show, after the program’s host and nine others involved in the production were charged in a federal poaching investigation.

The alleged poaching reportedly took place at a national preserve in northwest Alaska, and according to the CEO and president of Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks, Jim Liberatore, his group will be launching its own internal investigation.

“We take this situation very seriously and have acted swiftly to suspend the show, its producers and talent,” Liberatore said. “If true, what has been alleged is clearly unacceptable, unethical and against everything our networks stand for.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki, who is the lead prosecutor heading up the case, a total of four hunts were conducted in Alaska for the show over the last five years, and those hunts, though they appeared legal on television, were illegally conducted. It’s believed that more than two dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou and Dall sheep were illegally taken. The show’s host, Clark W. Dixon, has been unreachable.

Sadly, it’s things like this that give hunters and the sport of hunting a bad name. It’s things like this that put a bad taste in people’s mouths. Each of us who enjoy and love spending time in the outdoors need to make sure we are doing things right. We have a responsibility to protect and preserve what is dear to our hearts.