The Director-General of the Environmental Board established detailed instructions for the new wild boar hunting season. Driven wild boar hunt and hunting with a dog are also allowed in the areas of infection.
“The Environmental Board has supported farmers in its decisions. During last hunting season, our goal was to avoid making the wild boar herds to move in the infected areas in order to give the pig farmers more time to prepare for safeguarding the farm against the infection and thereby slow down the spreading of the infection to domestic swine. Unfortunately, the plague has also reached domestic swine, therefore, the wild boars need to be hunted more in order to inhibit the spread of the pathogen,” Director-General of the Environmental Board Andres Onemar said. In his opinion, the most important prerequisite for success is good cooperation with hunters and their operative information on the number of wild boars that have been hunted and that have died due to the infection, since this enables to adjust hunting volumes, if necessary.
Based on the recommendations of the Environmental Agency on the wild board population, the Environmental Board established the wild boar hunting volume and structure by counties in order to inhibit the disease. The aim of increasing the hunting volume of wild boars is to ensure that the wild boar population is decreased, and this should contribute to inhibiting the spreading of infection.
The task of the hunting councils is to agree on the division of the hunting structure, which has been established by the Environmental Board, between the users of the hunting districts within 30 days from the enforcement of the directive. Based on the limit established by the Environmental Board, the hunting districts have an obligation to hunt 29,600 by the end of the hunting season, or 29 February 2016. In doing so, it is important to follow the structure in which the proportion of young animals among hunted ones is 60 % and the proportion of female animals among hunted old animals and piglets is 60 %.
In order to get a better overview of the wild board population by districts, the Environmental Board needs constant information on them. The Board gathers information regarding hunted boars and on those dead due to swine fever and that have had swine fever symptoms and been hunted without a hunting permit. Therefore, all wild boars that are hunted in the swine fever zones must be continually reported. The users of the hunting districts are obliged to submit a report on the wild boar hunting (number, sex, and age group) to the Environmental Board hunting specialist of corresponding district by the tenth day of each calendar month. Additionally, the Veterinary and Food Board must report to the Environmental Board if there have been any cases of wild boars found dead or that have had swine fever symptoms and been hunted without a hunting permit.
Since feeding wild game significantly influences the abundance of wild boar, it is also necessary to restrict additional feeding of wild boar from 1 October to 30 April in order to inhibit the spreading of infection. From May to October, it is allowed to give additional feed to wild board in order to prevent and reduce the agricultural damage caused by game. Feral baits can be used without any time limit, since this contributes to the wild boar hunting from hides. Calling feeding means hunting from hides on a high seat, where manger may include up to 100 kg and the ground up 10 kg of grains and/or legume vegetables, including pea or corn.
Additionally, the Hunting Rules were already previously amended, allowing engaging in driven hunt all year round and hunting piglets all year round. Hunting with dogs is allowed from 1 October to 31 March. It is still not allowed to use unleashed hunting dogs for year-round wild boar hunting, since during the summer lambing period, the dogs tend to prefer some other weaker hunting object to aggressive wild boar and this object may be an animal of a species for which hunting is prohibited.
In addition to the Directive of the Environmental Board, the Ministry of the Environment has submitted a draft resolution for the amendment of the Hunting Act to the Riigikogu, enabling to hunt from motor vehicles and all-terrain vehicles with their engines not running, artificial light, and trap fences.
Similarly, to killing an animal showing signs of rabies, it is henceforth allowed to also kill an animal showing obvious signs of infection (e.g. depression, impaired coordination, and bruises on the skin) without the hunting permit and report it to a veterinarian or supervisory official or the Environmental Inspectorate. If the hunting permit has been issued, a veterinarian or supervisory official must be informed.
In the future, the user of the hunting district, or the hunting association will be obliged to provide a free hunting permit to land owner or a person designated by him, who is hunting wild boar on its immovable property (similarly to small game hunting). This enables to involve more hunters not belonging to the hunting districts in the regulation of the abundance of wild boars.
The amendments to the Hunting Act and the Hunting Rules has been established temporarily until the situation changes.