Why Are There Closed Seasons for Game?
“Closed” seasons originated to ensure that a plentiful supply of game birds and animals could be guaranteed for the sportsman. The “closed” season is that part of the year when these animals and birds are protected by law and may not be shot or hunted for sport. If indiscriminate hunting was allowed during the breeding season, the survival of the species could be in danger.
A closed season is enforced by local conservation law for the conservation of the species and wildlife management; any hunting during closed season is punishable by law and termed as illegal hunting or poaching. The closed season is timed to prevent hunting during times of peak reproductive activity, impaired flying ability during moulting (of game birds such as waterfowl), and temperature extremes, low population levels and food shortage.
The most famous game bird is perhaps the British red grouse. The date when the “open” season for shooting it begins is August 12, or the “Glorious Twelfth”. The season closes on December 9. Another game bird, the partridge, is more unfortunate in Britain. Its “open” season lasts from September 1 to February 1. “Closed” seasons apply to many other wild creatures in a number of countries.
In the United States, each state has primary responsibility and authority over the hunting of wildlife that resides within state boundaries. State wildlife agencies that sell hunting licenses are the best source of information regarding hunting seasons, areas open/closed to hunting, etc. (Hunting of migratory birds such as ducks and geese is managed cooperatively by state fish and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
Migratory waterfowl hunters must possess both a state hunting license and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), and each hunter needs a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number for each state in which they hunt migratory birds.