1784 and 1785 saw the introduction of the Game Acts which made it compulsory for individuals who wished to kill game to purchase a certificate at a cost of 2 guineas per year. Anyone caught killing game without a licence or even simply refusing to show their certificate could be fined £50. The Act officially came into place from the end of July 1785 so after that date anyone caught killing game without a certificate had to pay a fine of £20.
Gamekeepers also often kept a register for a certificate, through the deputation of the Lord or Lady of the Manor. A gamekeeper’s certificate was 10s 6d, but they were also liable to a £20 fine if they were caught killing game outside the Manor where they were employed. If a new gamekeeper was appointed, the original certificate was void. Anyone returning from abroad after 1 July 1784 was charged double the amount.
In 1796 the shooting season was shortened from 1st September to the 1st March because sportsmen were trampling the corn. The new season was to be 14th September to 14th February the following year.