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This article discusses hunting in Croatia, noting that the country has a diverse range of games due to its varied climate and habitats. Hunting is mostly seen as a leisure activity, but there are efforts to make it an important economic resource through hunting tourism.
Type of Game species
Wild boar is the most hunted big game in Croatia, followed by roe deer and other deer species.
Among small game, pheasants are the most commonly hunted. The number of hunters in Croatia has fluctuated over the years, but the majority are members of the Croatian hunting association.
Hunting rights in Croatia can be held by landowners or given to others through concessions or leases. There are three types of hunting grounds based on land ownership:
- Private lands
- Communal lands
- State-owned lands
Hunting can take place on communal hunting grounds without the landowner’s permission.
The number of hunters in Croatia has changed over the years. In 2005, there were about 43,000 hunters, which increased to over 55,000 in 2007, and then dropped to 51,000 in 2008.
Most hunters are part of the Croatian hunting association, which includes smaller local groups. There aren’t many female hunters in Croatia, with estimates suggesting no more than 100. In 2008, over 6,000 foreign hunters were registered, and on average, around 4,500 foreign hunters sign up every year.
Prerequisites for hunting
To hunt in Croatia, a person must pass a hunting proficiency test, have a valid hunting card, and get a written permit from the hunting ground owner.
Game management in the country is based on 10-year plans, and hunting seasons are regulated by government ministries. There are some rules and restrictions on hunting methods and the export of hunting trophies.
In Croatia, game management follows a 10-year plan.
The hunting season for each species is decided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management, working with the Ministry of Culture’s Directorate for Nature Protection.
Bears are an exception, as their management is guided by a separate plan called the Brown Bear Management Plan for the Republic of Croatia.
Rules and Regulations
In Croatia, hunters must be at least 18 years old. They can only use firearms and ammunition suitable for the specific game being hunted. Automatic weapons, bows and arrows, motorized vehicles, air guns, and illuminating equipment are not allowed.
Chasing big games with hounds is forbidden, except for wild boar hunting. A bloodhound must be present when hunting big game.
Hunting trophies can be exported with a proper certificate, but high-quality trophies cannot be permanently taken out of the country. Foreign hunters can hunt in Croatia if they pass a proficiency test, have a valid hunting card, and obtain a written permit from the hunting ground owner.
There are some controversies surrounding hunting in Croatia. Hunting grounds given to others through concession or lease often face profitability issues.
Additionally, hunting ground owners don’t like their big game being killed by predators, especially protected ones like wolves and lynxes. The introduction of certain species, such as brown bears and wild boars, can cause damage to agriculture, leading to tensions between local residents, hunters, and the administration.