The Ministry of Agriculture wants to set up mechanisms that will lead to a more effective reduction of damage to forest stands and in agriculture. At the same time, he expects a significant reduction in the acreage of hunting grounds as well as strengthening the rights of land owners. Hunters do not agree with this, many perceive the planned changes as the destruction of hunting in the Czech Republic and the opening of the way to a radical reduction in game populations. According to the resort, there is a need to regulate animals more intensively than before. According to his estimate, damage to forest stands alone amounts to four billion crowns per year.
Many hunters perceive the upcoming changes as the destruction of hunting in the Czech Republic. illustrative photo
| Photo: Deník/Sláma Jiří
Owners of forests and fields in the Czech Republic usually do not manage game themselves. Their plots of land form the so-called chaseswhich rent, and hunters-hunting users thereby gain the right to carry out their activities from breeding and care of game to hunting itself. Their obligations and rights are defined by law. Until now, they themselves decide who, how and what will be hunted in the hunt, and they are responsible for the damage caused by the animals.
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But the upcoming amendment should change that, it would strengthen the position of land owners and introduce rules defined by experts. For example, they are supposed to determine the number of game hunted according to the level of damage in the forests. In addition, land owners will be entitled to a hunting permit for every thirty hectares and can actively regulate game themselves.
“However, in the case of using this permit, he waives the right to damages that occur on his land,” explained the senior director of the forestry section at Ministry of Agriculture Patrik Mlynář. In addition, the area of hunting should be reduced by half – from the current five hundred to two hundred and fifty hectares.
Hunters don’t like the change
Hunters they protest against it. They point out that this will create a space where land owners can essentially hand out permits to foreign hunters of their choice, and contract hunting users will only be able to watch them hunt on land for which they pay rent and take care of them.
“The user of the hunting area bears all responsibility for hunting management in the hunting area. He bears all the costs associated with the care of the animals, as well as the objective responsibility for the damage caused by the animals. An automatic permit for owners of hunting land without responsibility for management in the entire hunting area is a gross suppression of the rights of the user of the hunting area,” said Jiří Janota, chairman of the Czech-Moravian Hunting Union. “Essentially, this is the emergence of hunting within hunting,” he added.
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The fact that, in addition to their own members, foreign hunters should also be allowed to hunt in the hunts, hunters often discuss on social networks. They often perceive the amendment to the law as opening the door to a massive extermination of game and the demise of traditional Czech hunting.
An overabundance of animals destroys forests
The Hunting Act is over twenty years old. Previous governments have already tried to amend it, but consensus among hunters, farmers, foresters and politicians was difficult to find. Unlike the hunters, the prepared proposal is welcomed by the farmers.
“Damage to forests and agricultural crops caused by excessive levels of ungulates reach several billion crowns annually. Without their rapid and significant reduction, it is not possible to restore more resistant forests with a varied species composition after the calamity. The number of cloven-hoofed animals in the landscape continues to grow uncontrollably,” representatives of the Association of Private Agriculture of the Czech Republic, the Rainbow Movement, the Czech Union of Nature Defenders, the Pro Silva Bohemica Association, the Czech Ornithological Society and the Association of Hunting Land Owners said in a joint statement.
The amendment is currently in the comment procedure. It should apply from 2025.
In the hunting year 2022/2023, there were 5,782 hunting grounds in the Czech Republic, less than five hundred of which were pheasant parks and fields. Hunting lands occupy an area corresponding to 87 percent of the state’s territory. The number of hunting license holders has steadily decreased, now it is 88,489 people. (Source: CZSO)