Release of huntable species in Germany
In German small game shooting estates it is common practice for the mass release of huntable animals in order to ensure enough "game" is brought before the hunters shotguns. Tame and non-native species or domestic breeds are released into the open landscape, which have no place there. This has little to do with ecological management and a lot more to do with "hunting justice".
The pheasant originating from Asia is the species most commonly released for shooting. Galliformes were once kept the antiquity as pet. In fact, pheasants were only introduced as "game" across Europe at the end of the 19th century. In terms of the long-term, pheasant numbers do not maintain well in our cleared out agricultural landscape and in the prevailing climate - without constant re-stocking, the hunting-routes become more and more established like a well trodden path.
In wetlands, ducks are released on a large scale. For this, the hunters usually rely on 'brood breeding ducks', a location-loyal breeding form. In some ponds, hundreds of chicks are released and supplied with large quantities of food. The faeces of the animals and the food spread on the shore and quickly pollute the water, the ponds degenerate through eutrophication caused by the poor management of the non-native birds.
Particularly absurd is the taxpayer-supported introduction of North American turkeys in the Rhineland for hunting purposes. Until today "Bronze Turkeys" - a domestic breed - are released in a nature reserve near Bonn. To supplement local hunters for native birds which they fail to take.
There are different regulations for the release of huntable species in different federal states. Usually, the birds may be introduced up to approximately three months before beginning of hunting season. Most hunters adhere very closely to the regulations and leave the birds free on the last possible day so that there is enough left to shoot at the start of the open season. Illegal releases - where either animals are released too late or feed is not properly managed - is unfortunately the order of the day.
A further conflict with mass introductions is the associated with unwanted predation. The captive bred animals are not used to the natural conditions, have little ability instinct or experience even by the beginning of the hunting season. While foxes, martens and ravens are legally allowed to be shot and trapped, some hunters still use traps, poison and their guns to target protected birds of prey.
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) expressly calls for a complete ban on the mass introduction of birds or other animals for the purpose of hunting.