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One often hears the phrase "hunting season" used as if all hunting (deer, upland birds, rabbits, turkey, etc.) begins and ends at the same time on the calendar. Most hunting seasons, though, are finely broken down by geography, species, gender, and even by weapon and age of hunter to serve several purposes. The most important objective of defined hunting seasons will surprise most non-hunters: the seasons are set up specifically to ensure the health and long term viability of the game species population in question. Other considerations include safety, weather, and even economic issues.

Every state has its own very complex set of rules, almost all of which are fine-tuned every year following analysis of the previous year's hunts and game populations. For links to the game management and licensing/regulatory agencies in all 50 states, use our extensive Online Guide To State Game Agencies. It's absolutely vital that hunters understand the legal and game management issues where they are going to hunt - and recognize that bag limits and other factors change from year to year throughout the country.

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