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Hunting Early Game Laws in Europe

Hunting does not really have rules, but it has regulations and laws. Early game laws in Europe were enacted to make hunting the sole privilege of the nobility and to prevent poaching; in the 19th century, such laws were generally modified to allow anyone with a license to hunt. Game laws in the U.S. are directed at protecting wildlife from indiscriminate slaughter and capture, restricting the taking and molestation of the game to certain so-called open periods of the year, or prohibiting the hunting and killing of the game entirely.

Apart from the states’ police power, the ownership of fish and game resides in the people of the states. Where no individual has any property rights to be affected, the legislature, as the representative of the people, may withhold or grant to individuals the right to hunt and kill game or may qualify or restrict that right. In other words, under U.S. law the hunting and killing of a game is a privilege rather than a right.

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Each of the 50 states has its own game laws, which are administered by fish and game commissions or by other agencies. Under most statutes, the possession or sale of certain fish or game during certain so-called closed seasons is prohibited. Occasionally these statutes expressly apply only to game caught within the state, but in most states, these statutes have been held to apply to out-of-season possession or sale of the game whether or not it was caught within the state.

Certain statutes place limitations on the age, sex, or size of the game allowed to be hunted, and bag limits per hunter may be set for the day or for the hunting season. Many states require hunting and fishing licenses, for which a fee is charged, that permit the taking of certain varieties during stipulated periods. Where waters lay between two states the right of the fishery is generally regulated by an agreement between the two states.

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When lands or waters are owned by a private individual, the right of hunting or fishing belongs to the owner or tenant. The owner of the land on both sides of a stream has the right to fish in the stream, but the rights of the owner of the land on one side only extend to the centre of the stream.

The leisured nobility of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome enjoyed hunting for sport. The Greek historian Xenophon argued that hunting is an asset to society, in that recreation promotes the well-being and health of the hunter. The first laws designed to conserve game animals were not instituted until the 13th century, when Kublai Khan, emperor of the Mongols, forbade his subjects to hunt during animal breeding seasons.

During the Middle Ages, the feudal lords of Europe imposed extensive restrictions on hunting, effectively limiting the taking of the game to the ruling classes. Stag hunts with hounds and horses and the pursuit of game birds with trained falcons were popular pastimes of the nobility.

The invention of gunpowder in the 14th century and the perfection of the matchlock rifle in the 15th century drastically changed methods of hunting. Whereas the trap and snare, the bow and arrow, and falcons and hounds had previously been used, rifles now facilitated the bringing down of fleeing birds and animals at greater distances and in greater numbers.

Today, most hunters use rifles and shotguns to pursue their sport; shotguns and .22-caliber rifles are generally used for small game such as squirrels and rabbits, and larger calibre rifles are employed for animals such as deer and elk. For game birds such as ducks, geese, doves, and pheasant, 12- and 20-gauge shotguns are used. Claiming that primitive weapons make the hunt more challenging, many hunters now have gone back to the use of bows and arrows, especially for deer, and some use muzzle-loading rifles.

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The method of hunting depends on the animal hunted. Hunters of ducks and geese hide in blinds, or camouflaged areas, and try to lure birds into shotgun range by using waterfowl calls and wooden decoys. Hunters of grouse and pheasant walk through woods and fields and use trained dogs to locate and flush out the game within gun range. Wild turkeys are hunted by camouflaged hunters using mouth- and hand-operated turkey calls.

Hunters of the larger game, for example, deer employ four techniques: still-hunting, stand hunting, stalking, and driving. Still-hunting, used when the game is known to be in the area but no specific animal is in sight, involves following tracks and looking for signs such as antler-shredded trees or urination areas. The hunter moves quietly, on the alert to shoot should the quarry be sighted. When stand hunting, the hunter takes position along a game trail and waits for the quarry to go by. Stalking is done when a game animal is sighted but is out of range. In this case, the hunter tries to move into rifle range while remaining hidden and downwind of the quarry. In driving or beating, a group of hunters moves through an area deliberately making noise and trying to frighten game animals in the direction of other hunters.

In hunting, you do need some things like a gun, the right clothing, and in a lot of hunting, you need a dog. You will need different dogs for different types of hunting. Field Dog, a term applied to several breeds of sporting dog used as an aid in hunting game birds such as quail and grouse. The field dog, or bird dog, does not itself capture the game. Its function is to locate the bird by scent in the air, and then to indicate the location to the hunter. The dog may also scent out birds that have been shot and have fallen from sight and retrieve them for the hunter.

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The principal classes of field dog are pointers, retrievers, setters, and some types of spaniel. Pointers and setters indicate the location of the bird by pointing (stopping short and becoming rigid, with the nose pointed toward the game). Before the 19th-century setters were trained to sit or crouch, before the game. The retriever fetches wounded or killed game. The field spaniel is used to flush, or drive out, game. A field dog must be trained to keep at the hunter’s heel until sent forward; to quarter or range over the field only within set limits; and, in general, not to flush the game until the hunter is in range.

The reason that I choose to write about hunting is that I love to hunt and I thought it would be fun to learn about hunting and the history of hunting. Hunting has been a tradition in my family. The biggest reason I like to go hunting is that I get to spend a lot of time with my dad and my family. Hunting has tough me a lot of things like I have learned a lot of animals and names of animals. And those are just some of the things you can learn from hunting.

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Hunting Early Game Laws in Europe. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from