What is Hunting Season?

Malcolm Tatum

Hunting season is a specified period of time when it is legal to hunt a particular type of game. Local jurisdictions normally set hunting season dates based on the time of year when it is beneficial to local wildlife and the environment to thin the ranks of a particular animal. In order to engage in game hunting, it is necessary to purchase a hunting license from a local probate or registry office. Generally, the hunting license is only in effect for one hunting season.

A hunting season will pertain to a particular animal.
A hunting season will pertain to a particular animal.

Designating specific hunting seasons is one way to prevent the population of any one wild animal from being reduced to a level that would create an imbalance in the local ecology. Usually, the hunting season does not occur during the time of year when a particular game is in the middle of mating season. Taking this precaution helps to ensure that the process of propagating the species is not disturbed and that the game population will continue to remain within acceptable limits.

A deer's "points" are determined by the number of tines on their antlers, so an eight pointed male deer has eight distinct tines.
A deer's "points" are determined by the number of tines on their antlers, so an eight pointed male deer has eight distinct tines.

While a hunting season makes it possible to legally hunt game, the season does impose a few restrictions in order to prevent killing young animals or hunting a disproportionate number of females. For example, a typical deer hunting season only allows bucks with a minimum number of points on the rack of antlers. This helps to ensure that deer under a certain age are not hunted, and that does remain safe from hunters.

It is not unusual for local jurisdictions to require that hunters comply with certain standards in order to obtain a license. Hunters usually have to be of a certain age and must have proper identification, such as a driver’s license or state issued picture identification cards. In addition, the prospective hunter may be denied a license if there is a history of circumventing any restrictions associated with the hunting season, such as hunting in areas that are not posted for hunting, or killing game out of season.

A hunting license is usually issued for one particular hunting season. This means that a license issued for deer season is only valid for deer season. In addition, the license is only in effect for one season in most jurisdictions. In order to hunt during the next hunting season, it is necessary to obtain a new license.

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Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- that is precisely why I respect the black powder hunters so much. You don't hear about as many hunting accidents during black powder seasons.

Why? Those hunters get one shot and one shot only before they have to reload. If they miss that shot, the game will almost certainly be gone before the hunter can reload. You'd better believe that black powder hunters make sure they can identify exactly what they are shooting at before pulling the trigger.

Oh, and on the topic of gun safety hunters ought to really consider leaving the booze at home. Beer and high powered rifles simply do not mix.


@Terrificli -- true, but people need to exercise a lot of caution while out hunting. There are far too many hunting accidents out there caused by people with high powered rifles who simply start firing if they see movement. Those hunters are in the minority, but there are enough of them around to ruin a good time for a lot of people. Don't be one of them.


Hunting season is a great thing because it is actually good for wildlife. Before saying that statement sounds nuts, think about something for a minute. Head on down to a federal park containing protected woods and hang around long enough to spot some deer. They usually look small and ill because there are too many of them competing for food.

Now, compare those to the large, healthy deer found in unprotected areas. The problem with deer and other critters is that they have few natural predators these days other than sportsmen with guns. Remove hunters from the equation and you'll have a lot of sick and dying wildlife.

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