Hunting in EstoniaHunting is closely related both to rural economy and the field of nature protection. As all use of natural resources, hunting shall also be sustainable. In Estonia, there is approximately 4 million hectares of hunting land, of which approximately a quarter is state land and the rest is divided between several hundred thousand private owners. There are 324 hunting areas in Estonia and over 15 thousand hunters.
When planning hunting activities, it is important to monitor that the increase in the number of species popular in hunting (e.g. wild boar) would not be supported too much, by forgetting the negative impact of these species on the ecological balance. The existence of non-native species unpopular in terms of hunting, such as a raccoon dog or an American mink, in our ecosystems is already in itself a big natural disaster; it is difficult to imagine solving or alleviating the problem without hunting activity.
Shaping of hunting policy and the execution of national functions is the task of the Ministry of the Environment and its administrative field.
The Forestry Department of the Ministry of the Environment develops legislation (Hunting Act) and strategic plans of the field, while The Environmental Board and Estonian Environment Agency perform state functions.
The cooperation partner of the Ministry of the Environment is the largest umbrella organisation of the hunters, Estonian Hunters’ Association, with whom an administration contract has been issued for performing hunting-related tasks.
The new Hunting Act
In 2013, a new Hunting Act was approved. The new Hunting Act ensures the protection of game animals and management of their abundance, as well as directs hunters and land owners toward cooperation.
When the new Hunting Act entered into force, the basis for organising game management also changed; the prior evaluation of the quality of habitats was replaced by monitoring the state of game populations.
Hunting boards have been formed at each county, which involve representatives of land owners, hunters and the state. In hunting boards, it is agreed how many animals and of which gender and age animals are hunted, how the borders of hunting areas are changed, and how the user of the area, that is, a uniting association, is changed if necessary.
Fee for hunting right
As of June 1st 2013, the fee for hunting right shall be paid by all hunters, also the citizens of foreign states who wish to hunt in Estonia.
It is possible to pay by internet payment, mobile payment or through over-the-counter sales point. Information and instructions on the payment can be found from the website of pilet.ee.
According to the administration contract issued between the Ministry of the Environment and the Estonian Hunters’ Association, the Estonian Hunters’ Association organises the conduction of hunting theory exam and shooting tests, as well as issues hunting certificates or a shooting test certificate on large game animals. To get the certificate, one should turn to the representatives of the Estonian Hunters’ Association.