Hunting: a definition and five benefits that explain its importance
Hunting has proved to be an effective tool for the control of animal populations, the improvement of rural economies and the preservation of endangered species.
This concept, which is becoming increasingly popular and urgent, and which involves hunters, game managers and public administrations alike, is in force in the form of plans in the different Autonomous Communities. Historically, numerous laws and ordinances have focused on the economic value of this activity and the search for a balance between the exploitation and conservation of game, as demonstrated by the Hunting Law of 1902.
However, hunting has taken on a new dimension in recent times, due to the necessary alliance of hunting with the environment and the sustainability of a vital activity for rural societies, capable of putting a ‘stop’ to rural depopulation.
What is hunting management?
An instrument designed to regulate the quantity and form in which game species are obtained, taking into account their conservation status and ultimately aiming at the preservation of natural habitats: this is the definition of hunting use.
The debate on hunting wealth has intensified in recent years as a result of improved hunting methods and increased activity in the sector. Thus, the concept of hunting use, which involves fishing as well as hunting, aims to improve responsibility in the exercise of these activities in order to make them more sustainable.
For its development, hunting laws and plans make use of the creation and compulsory use of hunting licences that facilitate the management of the number of active hunters, as well as gun permits that allow the recording and monitoring of the hunting methods used, whether for sport or survival purposes.
In essence, hunting regulations aim to safeguard those species that are at risk of extinction and to maintain the number of hunted animals at sustainable levels, without allowing their indiscriminate capture or the overflow of their populations (e.g. plagues of rabbits, wild boar, etc.).
Having clarified the meaning of hunting exploitation, it is useful to delve into closely related terms, such as ‘hunting land’, which describes any natural space used for the capture of wild fauna with due observance of the hunting regulations in force in the corresponding Autonomous Community.
When the authorities speak of the ‘hunting tax’, they define this as the tax to be paid by hunting grounds as a direct levy on fishing and hunting activities. Each Autonomous Community has its own tax, such as the IAC (Impuesto sobre Aprovechamientos Cinegéticos) promoted by the Junta de Extremadura. On the other hand, ‘hunting use’ is a broader term, applicable to any action aimed at obtaining meat and other usufruct from game.
Why are Game Management Plans necessary?
Protection of game species
Without game management plans, the hunting industry could have a negative impact on wildlife. The issuing of licences and permits, as well as the establishment of quotas, play an important role in the conservation of game species in the different types of hunting grounds.
The quest for sustainability of the sector
The hunting strategies keep all the activities of the sector within the legal framework, in compliance with the European Hunting Charter, the Council of Europe and Spanish legislation. Thus, the Royal Spanish Hunting Federation has been promoting good hunting management practices, ensuring their positive impact on society and the rural environment.
Improving rural economies
The development of a hunting plan also aims to generate wealth and jobs in the rural world. Depopulation and other threats keep these economies in check, hit by decades of state neglect, which today recognise hunting as one of their main driving forces.
This is precisely one of the main arguments in favour of hunting, which in itself can even have a negative impact without a plan that converts hunters’ prized trophies into a source of wealth and well-being for the local populations.
Favouring hunting techniques without suffering
Las CC.AA. se sirven de estos planes para fomentar las técnicas cinegéticas que implican un menor sufrimiento para el animal y el máximo respeto para su hábitat natural. De hecho, el sector lleva décadas reinventándose en pro de estos objetivos, que han desempeñado un papel significativo en el boom de la caza con arco, considerada una de las más selectivas y menos estresantes para la presa.
Por el contrario, el aprovechamiento cinegético ha tendido a restringir una minoría de prácticas que, por su imprecisión o posible crueldad, son incompatibles con las metas antes citadas. Claro ejemplo de lo dicho es el uso de lazos, perchas y otras trampas, cuya tenencia y uso están completamente prohibidos, so pena de multas que alcanzan cifras elevadas.