European Hunting vs. The States

First, allow me to paint a picture in your head. It’s an hour before sunrise on a crisp fall morning, you arrive at that “secret” trailhead and quietly close the door to your pick up. Anticipation is high, blood is pumping, euphoria is the only way to describe the moment. Now let me pause and take a second to acknowledge what makes this possible for the majority of us hunters in the United States, PUBLIC LAND! Without organizations such as Artemis, Trout Unlimited, 2% for Conservation or Backcountry Hunters and Anglers supporting our nation’s greatest resource none of this would be possible, just ask our hunting companions in Europe. On a recent trip to Croatia I was lucky enough to do just that. Here are few things that I learned, and others that I was re-assured of…

  • The concept of hunting public lands is, for the most part, unique to our country. It does not exist universally around the world.
  • In the United States, wildlife is “owned” by the general public, not landowners. In many European countries, the wildlife is privately owned and hunting is reserved for the upper class.
  • The average hunter in Europe spends between 25,000-30,000 Euro per year to hunt (1). An average hunter in the United States spends $2,800 USD every year to hunt (2).
  • Theodore Roosevelt set the stage for America’s public land management 100+ years ago, which propelled the US model in a drastically different direction than our European ancestors.
  • In the US, sportsmen and women contribute significantly to wildlife funding through state license and tag sales, the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act, but numbers were hard to come by for Europe, leading me to believe the numbers aren’t significant.

Next time you step out of your truck onto a piece of publicly managed land, stop for a moment. Realize that as a US citizen, you have hunting opportunities unlike those internationally, including access to 640 million acres of wild space to roam and explore. I am proud of the success of our American model for hunting and conservation and hope to see the fruits of its continued success for many years to come.

1. Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation. Produced for the National Shooting Sports Foundation in partnership with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 2012
Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/biology/resources/pubs/wildlife/HuntingEconomicImpacts-NSSF-Southwick.pdf

2. How Europe Turned Hunting into a ‘White Collar’ Sport. S.H. BLANNELBERRY. 2016
Retrieved from https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/hunting-europe-white-collar/

mm
Allie D'Andrea
allie@wornandweathered.com

Allie is the co-founder of Worn & Weathered and a hunter, public lands advocate, and wildlife conservationist.

3 Comments
  • Sophia Williams
    Posted at 22:54h, 05 November Reply

    You’re right on!

  • Michael
    Posted at 22:53h, 13 December Reply

    I read your post and I have to say that is very difficult to compare Europe as a “State” like the United State. The regulations in each country in Europe are different. In UK you have public land where you are allowed to hunt like in the States. In Germany or Poland you have to lease land. You have to pass a very difficult exam where you learn how to hunt, how to field dress a dear, how to shoot and where to hit the animals for a suffer free killing. And believe me I don’t know where you get your numbers from but 25 till 30k euros nobody spent on. In Poland you can live comfortably 1-2 years and believe me in Germany, Poland, Austria or France hunting is not limited to the upper class. But as I mention above you have to lease land because land is owned by the State ( e.g Bavaria is a state like Michigan, Ohio, etc…) and every state has its own hunting cooperatives and they lease land ( this includes e.g cities too where you are allowed to hunt). And after you lease the land you are responsible for the game in you land. But not only the game but the vegetation too. So you protect the land by regulation. In Europe we regulate a lot of thing but in this case we try to avoid that people run in the forest have no clue how to hunt or fish and are a huge risk not only for the animals but also for the people.

    • mm
      Allie D'Andrea
      Posted at 23:24h, 13 December Reply

      Thanks for the response Michael. I really appreciate your information and perspective!

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