Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Game and Game Laws. The right or privilege of hunting, taking, and killing certain animals ferce natttrce in exclusion of ot ber persons has been long recognised in Great Britain, and there formerly existed a system of a severe character under which none were permitted to take or sell game unless duly qualified in respect of property, and the ordinary qualification originally was the ownership of lands or tenements in possession or an estate of inheritance of the yearly value of 100 or for life, or 99 years or upwards of the yearly value of 150 - a qualification imposed chiefly for i the prevention of idleness and dissipation in the lower classes - and with the same view, and also for the benefit of the revenue, it was subsequently made necessary for sportsmen to take out a yearly game certificate attesting the payment by them of a certain duty. The principle of requiring any personal property qualification has long since been abandoned, and statute 1 and 2 William IV., i>. 32, has provided that the right to kill game upon any land shall be vested ratione soli in the owners of such land (mere occupiers for short terms excepted) or in any person having the grant or permission of such owners for the purpose; but a game certificate is still required, and the above-named statute and the statute 23 and 24 Victoria, c. 90 (the principle Game Acts now in force), require all persons killing, taking, or pursuing game to take out a yearly excise license, which is substituted for the former game certificate, and these statutes also require persons who, having no such licence, deal in game to take out an excise licence for this latter purpose. The revenue from gun-licences, doglicences, licences to kill game, and certificates to deal in game, has now been granted to the County Councils under the "Local Government Act, 1888." The above statutes also contain many penal provisions intended for the better preservation of game and for the protection of the landowner from poaching, whether by night or otherwise, and generally against unlawful trespasses in sporting. Under these acts, game is defined to include hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath or moor game, black game, and bustards, though some parts of the Acts are also directed to deer, woodcocks, snipes, quails, landrails, and rabbits. As to hares, there are also some special provisions, one being that in the absence of special agreement to the contrary, any occupier of enclosed lands or any owner thereof with the right of killing game therein, may kill hares on such land without an excise licence, and that such licence need not in any case be obtained by one who pursues hares with greyhounds, beagles, or other hounds. By the Ground Game Act. the right of the occupier to kill ground game, such as hares and rabbits, concurrently with the landowner or other person entitled under him to such game, is made a right inseparable from his occupation, and he cannot contract himself out of his right under the Act, and the occupier need not take out any licence. The law regulating the pursuit of animals in the chase has made certain distinctions. Thus if one starts any such animal on his own ground, and follows it into another's, and kills it there, the property remains in himself; but if, being a trespasser, he starts it on another's land and kills it there, the property belongs to him in whose ground it is killed and this even though the trespasser may have sold the dead game to a third person. Again, if it be started by a stranger in anyone's chase or free warren and hunted into another liberty, the property continues in the owner of the chase or warren. These distinctions show that in general the property is acquired by the seizure or occupancy, though that cannot prevail against the better claim of him in whose grounds the animal is both killed and started. In the United States, subject to the laws against trespass, game can be freely captured or killed; but there are some states which prohibit this during certain seasons in order to encourage the breed. [Forest Law.]