To conserve wildlife for future generations to enjoy, wildlife management laws were passed. These laws allow game to flourish by:
- Establishing hunting seasons that limit harvesting and avoid nesting and mating seasons.
- Limiting hunting methods and equipment.
- Setting “bag” limits on the number of animals that can be taken.
- Establishing check stations and game tag requirements to enforce the laws.
Safety, Opportunity, and Funding
In addition to ensuring the availability of game for future generations, hunting laws:
- Establish safety guidelines for hunting that protect both hunters and non-hunters.
- Offer equal opportunity for all hunters, whether they use modern firearms, muzzleloaders, or bows.
- Ensure adequate funding for wildlife programs by collecting license fees.
Hunting laws also define the rules of fair chase.
- The concept began in the Middle Ages when hunters increased the challenge of sport hunting by setting rules that limited how they took game.
- More recently, fair chase rules were developed to stem public criticism of hunters. One of the earliest models was the “Fair Chase Principle” established in the late 1800s by the Boone and Crockett Club, which was founded by Theodore Roosevelt. Those who violated club rules were expelled.
- The rules were later expanded, banning the use of vehicles, airplanes, and radios; electronic calling; or shooting in a fenced enclosure. Many states have made those rules into law.