IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON HUNTING UPDATES
23 November 2020

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UPDATES FROM NATIONAL CIC DELEGATIONS and/or FACE MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS

DISCLOSER: Neither CIC, nor FACE can be held responsible for the accuracy of the country information provided below. It is provided for guidance purposes, only. For those seeking the latest, accurate information for a given country, we encourage you to consult with the relevant authorities in that country. We welcome any updated information, or new country information you might have. Please send this to office@cic-wildlife.org and bob.groome@face.eu.

The list will be updated as new information is received.

 Situation as of mid-November 2020.

 ARGENTINA

 In Argentina, hunting has been closed since March 2020, for the whole season and all over the country. There has been an exception only in la Pampa province, where they have reopened partially (only for local hunters/residents of that province). The rest of the country remains closed, and taking into consideration that the season is almost over, it is expected that hunters will have to wait until 2021.

There is a possibility that the annual auction for hunting areas at national parks takes place at the end of November 2020, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these areas would be open in March 2021.

 AUSTRIA

In Austria, hunting is not restricted.

Hunting fulfils a system-relevant mission on the basis of the nine provincial hunting laws. The hunting laws do not serve to protect hunters‘ leisure activities, but follow objectives which are exclusively of general interest. Therefore, hunting is currently authorised, with necessary safety and hygiene measures that need to be observed (social distancing of minimum 1 meter, disinfectants etc.).

In these special and challenging times, hunting organisers of driven hunts in particular, as well as all authorised hunters and hunters bear a great social responsibility. In line with these responsibilities, the organisation ‘HUNTING AUSTRIA’ has drawn up a list of hygiene and safety recommendations to support all hunters and all those involved in the implementation of hunts, which should help to ensure smooth hunting operations in the fulfilment of the official mandate.

Due to the current situation, absolutely avoidable driven hunts should be postponed until after the general lockdown which, at the time of writing, is scheduled to end on 6 December 2020.

It is also forbidden to display the harvested game at the end of the hunt. Hunters cannot have meals together after hunting.

Source: https://www.jagd-oesterreich.at/2020/11/12/covid-19-praeventionsinformationen-zur-jagdausuebung-in-oesterreich/ [webpage updated 12 November 2020]

BELGIUM

Since 29 October 2020, hunting is restricted to groups of 4 people in Belgium.

It is allowed to organize a shooting day with multiple groups of 4 people. Each group of 4 can include hunters and/or beaters. As many groups of 4 as necessary.

None of these different groups may gather together, and they must stay separated by 50m or more in general, and 25m or more during the act of hunting.

In addition, general safety and hygiene measures must be followed (social distance, disinfectants etc.).

Ideally, any meals should be eaten outside individually or within each group of 4. The display of the harvested game and gatherings at the end of the day should not take place.

That being said, a mayor of any district/county still has the power to issue any police order containing more restrictive measures in the management of COVID-19 in order to respond to specific situations that may arise in his or her territory.

Information sourced inter alia from: https://www.chasse.be/news/chasse-et-covid-19-finalement-les-chasseurs-peuvent-ils-chasser-oui-ou-non.html [published 23 November 2020]

BULGARIA

There are no restrictions affecting hunting in Bulgaria.

 CROATIA

There are no restrictions affecting hunting in Croatia at the moment. Hunts are allowed as long as hygienic measures (disinfection, face mask, distance of 1,5m) are observed. Every participant has to be registered by the Organiser. Gatherings of maximum 30 participants are allowed.

CZECH REPUBLIC

 The Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic as a responsible body for hunting and fishing discussed each of the governmental “COVID-19” measures with the Ministry of Health. So far, hunting (individual and groups) and fishing to be carried out.  All hygienic measures must be complied with and no activities are allowed before and after, such as traditional celebration of the hunt, etc.

ESTONIA

Hunting is not restricted right now in Estonia.

 FINLAND

Hunting is not restricted right now in Finland. However, there are recommendations for maintaining safety distances. There is also a recommendation not to hold a moose-feast/event for the landowners this fall. „Moose-feast“ is a traditional event for Finnish hunting clubs to thank the landowners for allowing hunting on their land. The general recommendation is to avoid gatherings with more than 20 people. If the event is in the open air and distancing can be assured then there is no limit to the number of participants.

FRANCE

In France, hunting can be allowed for wild boar, deer and other species that can cause damage, such as rabbit and pigeon. Authorisations are given at the level of the regional departments. Hunting can only take place in driven hunts or from a hide, and does not include hunting with hounds.

As an example, in the Department of the Moselle, driven hunts for wild boar and roe deer are allowed as long as hygienic measures (disinfection, face mask, distance of 1,5m) are observed. Every participant has to be registered by the Organizer. Gatherings of a maximum of 30 participants are allowed, inclusive of posted hunters and beaters.

In the case of hunting that is practiced by individuals, or by a group of hunters living under the same roof, these persons are authorised to hunt within 20km of where they live and for a maximum of 3 hours.

GERMANY

Hunts of all forms as well as necessary maintenance work of the hunting grounds in Schleswig-Holstein are permitted. Domestic hunters are able to travel to the hunting area without any restrictions, although foreign hunters are only allowed to enter from countries for which there are no entry restrictions imposed by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. All hunting activities must comply with contact restriction and event organisation requirements.

Single hunts and group hunts are allowed with maximum five persons from two households at most. Hunts that are designed to prevent diseases, protect against wildlife damage in agriculture and forestry, thus maintaining public safety are allowed under general requirements of keeping contacts to the minimum. Further hygiene measures must be taken on own responsibility.

Individual work is still allowed (e.g. control walks, spreading salt licks, work on hunting facilities in compliance with other safety requirements, especially the use of the chainsaw). Maximum five persons from two households at most may participate in group hunts and necessary group ground work.

Tracking and recovering of injured game is allowed, but the minimum distance (1.5 m) must be kept. Hunting dog training is allowed to take place, provided that the handler and the dog are alone or if there are maximum five people from no more than two households.

Delivery of the wild meat to the butcher is allowed, but the minimum distance (1.5 m) must be kept. Similarly, direct marketing of game is possible, if minimum distance (1.5 m) is kept.

Preparatory courses for the hunters and young hunters are not permitted.

The sale of weapons at retail outlets is prohibited as well as any type of social meetings and gatherings.

GREECE

In Greece, the situation is complicated. Hunting is not prohibited, but movement is not allowed. This situation is expected to be clarified by the responsible Mister of Environment.

HUNGARY

In Hungary there is a strict lockdown between 8pm – 5am for the civil population. Exceptions are job activities, and travel between work and home. Hunting is permitted between 5am – 8pm and professional hunters are allowed to do their jobs without any time restrictions. The prohibition of gatherings does not apply to group hunts, however, social gatherings before or after driven hunts is prohibited.

ICELAND

There are restrictions in place on travel between areas that limits access to hunting grounds for ptarmigan hunting, and hunters are encouraged to stay at home. Meanwhile all other people are encouraged to hike in the mountains.

IRAN

Regarding the situation of the hunting with respect to Covid -19 in Iran, the opening of the hunting was due to be announced by the Department of the Environment but due to the pandemic, hunting has not yet been opened.  The matter has been referred to the High Council of the Environment for decision but there is little hope of hunting being opened this year.

IRELAND

All “Recreational hunting” was banned in the Republic of Ireland, expect for essential pest control (e.g. crows, Wood pigeon, fox) until December 1st, 2020 under Irish statutory instrument 448. according to Department of Justice interpretation of that statute.

From December 1st, 2020, all hunting can resume but hunters must remain in their home county. From December 18th, 2020 – January 6th, 2021, hunters may travel anywhere in Ireland. A maximum of 15 persons are allowed at any event.

ITALY

 The Italian government has recently established a regime of differentiated closures according to the Coronavirus contagion risk band to which each Region belongs and has divided the country into three areas (red, orange, green) according to the risk scenario. Red is forbidden to move; therefore, hunting is also suspended. Currently, the following Regions are in the red zone: Lombardi, Piemonte, Calabria, Alto Adige and Valle d’Aosta. In the other regions hunting is currently allowed but the situation can change from one day to the next.

LATVIA

Hunting is seen as an essential service and is not restricted during Covid-19. During hunting, hunters must adhere to all biosecurity standards.

LITHUANIA

 In Lithuania, there are no direct restrictions for hunting due to the COVID situation. From 7 – 29 November 2020, there is a general quarantine and level III. This means that people cannot be in groups of more than 5 persons. There is no official driven hunt ban, but the recommendations are to stop that type of hunting given the seriousness of the situation. Other types of hunting might happen as normal, in compliance with all of the precautions and limits set by government.

LUXEMBOURG

Recreational activities with more than four people are currently banned in Luxembourg. This means that driven hunts are banned until, and including December 15th, 2020. Stalking and hunting from a hide remain possible.

The advice listed above is only valid if the COVID-19 legislation does not change. However, the Luxembourg government must be responsive and the rules may change in the months that follow. In this case, the organizers of hunts will have to adapt to comply with the measures in force at that time.

MALTA

 Some restrictions were imposed in April 2020, during the spring hunting season, in the form of derogations (the licenses of those 65-year old and over were withheld for that period). However, there are no restrictions at present and none are envisaged on the Maltese islands.

MONTENEGRO

In Montenegro, there are no special restrictions regarding hunting, but there are general rules and restrictions regarding gathering and maintaining physical and social distances.

NAMIBIA

Persons arriving in Namibia must have proof of a negative result for COVID-19 issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Those with valid PCR test results are not subject to quarantine. Persons traveling to Namibia for tourism must hold medical insurance valid in Namibia with coverage sufficient for any unexpected health-related expenses. Additionally, they must complete a health declaration form and provide a full travel itinerary to airport officials upon arrival. All international flights are required to arrive at Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek. Heath declaration forms and additional information are available at the following URL: http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/page/tourism-revival-initiative

NETHERLANDS

In the Netherlands at present, hunting parties are restricted to groups of two persons (in case of different households) or two or more persons (only in case of members of the same household). Before and after the hunt the well-known general requirements are applicable: social distancing and general hygienic measures. Travelling is discouraged.

NORWAY

There are no restrictions affecting hunting in Norway. The general recommendation is to avoid gatherings with more than 5 people (private home) or 20 people in public.

POLAND

Individual hunts – no restrictions, still possible. There are restictions for driven hunts (from 24 October 2020, the organization of driven hunts is forbidden). It does not matter if the driven hunt concerns wild boars or red deer, fallow deer or roe deer or other huntable species.

PORTUGAL

On the 7 November 2020, the state of emergency was declared in 121 of the 170 regions, in Portugal (in the next two weekends, in those regions, hunting was forbidden for all species, except wild boar). In half of the country the hunting was forbidden.

ROMANIA

 Hunting in Romania is allowed with certain restrictions. Only a maximum of 10 hunters are allowed to participate in a hunt at the same time. Individual hunting is allowed, accompanied by the hunter’s guide.

RUSSIA

 Concerning Russia, for the time being there are no restrictions on hunting connected with the COVID-19 pandemic at the federal level, but there are limitations at the level of local administration.

SERBIA

Considering the situation in Serbia, there are no restrictions affecting hunting at this moment. It is possible to go hunting as usual, but with all necessary measures for prevention of COVID-19 that hunters need to obey.

SLOVAKIA

 There are exceptions for hunters from general rules associated with COVID in the country. As a result, driven hunts are still allowed but must follow strict hygiene measures (disinfection, face masks, distance of minimum 2m). Every participant has to be registered by the Organizer. Meetings and activities such as lunches and dinners etc. inside, are not allowed.

SLOVENIA

In Slovenia, hunting is recognized as an important social service, therefore hunters are allowed to travel to their hunting regions and hunt, as long as they comply with hygienic and social distancing measurements.

SPAIN

Hunting is allowed, but only in the region where hunters live. You cannot go to another region for hunting because mobility between regions is not permitted. Furthermore, each region has different laws for hunting. It is possible to hunt but not to move to other regions. This creates absolute confusion and legal uncertainty for the hunter.

SWEDEN

No specific restrictions about hunting related to Covid-19 in Sweden. Public Health Authority has published what they call advice and hint of directions, and hunters are doing their best to follow them. In practice, this means to keep distance (1,5 to 2 meters). But it is very much up to individuals and most hunters and hunting parties continue to hunt as usual.

 SWITZERLAND

 In Switzerland, hunting is regulated on the basis of 26 different cantons. Some have banned hunting as a whole and some have allowed it.

UNITED KINGDOM

In the United Kingdom the following guidance was issued:

  • Driven game shooting should cease on Thursday 5 November and is expected to resume on Wednesday 2 December. England will return to a local and regional approach on 2 December.
  • Essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock may continue during the lockdown period.
  • The government has stated that where people cannot work effectively from home they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. Game management and gamekeeping activities may continue during the lockdown period.
  • Rough shooting, wildfowling and deer management may continue during the lockdown period as outdoor recreational activities, as long as you comply with the guidance. This includes making short journeys to your place of exercise, and you can only exercise with people you live with, your support bubble (if you are living alone), or one person from another household. Government guidance can be found here: gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
  • The government has ordered shooting ranges to close to reduce social contact.

USA

 There appears to be no Federal restriction in the U.S. on the number of people that can gather for a hunt. Some states have limits on the size of hunting parties for specific species such as pheasants (20 people per hunting party) but this has nothing to do with the COVID virus situation.

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