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Hunting in Bulgaria

Hunting of protected and threatened species such as this White Pelican is a serious problem in BulgariaHunting of protected and threatened species such as this White Pelican is a serious problem in Bulgaria In contrast to Romania, Bulgaria has introduced a hunting law which already meets many of the requirements of EU environmental legislation. Some 37 wildlife species are huntable including 22 bird species such as Woodcock, Snipe, Quail and Turtle Dove. The only song bird which may be shot is the Starling; thrushes and larks are at least officially protected. In the case of mammals great concessions have been made to Bulgarian hunters with Wolf, Brown Bear, Jackal and even Wild Cat remaining on the list of huntable species.

The hunting season is not as long as elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Hunting begins as a rule in October and, for the majority of migrant birds such as geese, swans, snipe and doves, lasts until the end of January. Starlings can be shot during a three and a half month period, Turtle Doves and Quails for only two and a half months; but corvids such as Crows and Jackdaws can be shot all the year round. The use of electronic lure devices and automatic weapons is not permitted. Green Balkans volunteers scan the marshes along the Black Sea coast for poaching activityGreen Balkans volunteers scan the marshes along the Black Sea coast for poaching activityHunting tourism is however big business in Bulgaria. The state sells licences to foreign hunters and makes capital out of it. Licences for much sought-after trophy mammals such as Red Deer, Wild Boar and Chamois are especially expensive; but even the rare predators are mercilessly auctioned off. A wolf licence costs 410 Euros and for a Wild Cat the price is only 150 Euros. For one of the last remaining European Brown Bears one has to pay however between 3,835 und 9,235 Euros.

For those on a smaller budget the Bulgarian state has special offers of licences to European bird species at dumping prices. Geese and Woodcock come at 25 Euros, ducks for 6 Euros and the Europe-wide endangered Turtle Doves and Quail cost 5 Euros each . Starlings, Coots and corvids are on special offer – at 1 Euro apiece. The important thing is that the state makes its profit!