Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management
Wildlife management
Wildlife management attempts to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people using the best available science. Wildlife management can include game keeping, wildlife conservation and pest control...

 laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.

It may be illegal and in violation because
  • The game or fish is not in season
    Hunting season
    A hunting season is the time when it is legal to hunt and kill a particular species.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...

    ; usually the breeding season
    Breeding season
    The breeding season is the most suitable season, usually with favourable conditions and abundant food and water, for breeding among some wild animals and birds . Species with a breeding season have naturally evolved to have sexual intercourse during a certain time of year in order to achieve the...

     is declared as the closed season
    Closed season
    A closed season is a hunting term used to describe the time of the year during which hunting an animal of a given species is contrary to law. Typically, closed seasons are designed to protect a species when they are most vulnerable or, sometimes, to protect them during their breeding season.-...

     when wildlife species
    In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

     are protected by law.
  • The poacher does not possess a valid permit
    Hunting license
    A hunting license is a regulatory or legal mechanism to control recreational and sports hunting.Hunting may be regulated informally by "unwritten law", "self restraint", or "morality" and by laws "enforced by government authority."...

  • The poacher is illegally selling the animal, animal parts or plant for a profit.
  • The animal is being hunted outside of legal hours.
  • The hunter used an illegal weapon for that animal.
  • The animal or plant is on restricted land.
  • The right to hunt this animal is claimed by somebody.
  • The type of bait is inhumane.