Aarhus Universitets segl

No. 434: Game populations and hunting seasons in Denmark. The biological basis for the 2022 hunting season revision

Madsen, AB, Christensen, TK, Madsen, J, Balsby, TJSB, Bregnballe, T, Clausen, KK, Clausen, P, Elmeros, M, Fox, AD, Frederiksen, M, Hansen, HP, Haugaard, L, Heldbjerg, H, Mayer, M, Mikkelsen, P, Nielsen, RD, Pedersen, CL, Pedersen, IK, Sterup, J & Therkildsen, OR 2021. Vildtbestande og jagttider i Danmark. Det biologiske grundlag for jagttidsrevisionen 2022. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 168 s. - Videnskabelig rapport nr. 434. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR434.pdf


The hunting seasons of all legal quarry species in Denmark are usually reviewed and revised every four years. However, recently, minor changes were made of the hunting season for selected species, which came into force on 1 July 2020. The next revision will take place with effect from 1 July 2022 when the law relating to control of crop damage is to be revised. The present report was prepared by DCE – National Centre for Environment and Energy, Aarhus University, at the request of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency in preparation for this process. The report forms an important part of providing the information base for negotiations between the organisations that are represented on the Wildlife Management Council whose ultimate task is to prepare recommendations for changes in the hunting seasons for different species to be considered by the Minister of the Environment.


The Danish Environmental Protection Agency requested the report to be divided into three sections: 1) species with a hunting season; 2) species without a hunting season for which a hunting season can be declared according to law; 3) species without a hunting season for which declaration of a hunting season is prevented by international legislation. The first category includes twenty three species, the second group includes 14 species: Polecat Mustela putorius, Badger Meles, Brent Geese Branta bernicla, Pochard Aythya ferina, Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis, Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca, Goosander Mergus merganser, Red-breasted Merganser M. serrator, Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Grey Plover P. squatarola, Curlew Numenius arquata, Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus and Turtle Dove Streptopelia decaocto, and the final group includes four species: Beaver Castor fiber, Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis, Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Rook Corvus frugilegus.


The primary knowledge base underpinning this report comes from DCE’s own research and monitoring activities and includes the annual compilation of the national hunting bag statistics and data on the annual reproductive success of common huntable bird species derived from voluntary wing surveys as well as from extensive systematic, nationwide monitoring programmes for specific migratory and breeding bird populations. These data are supplemented with other information from institutions and organisations in Denmark (e.g. the Danish Ornithological Society and the Danish Hunters’ Association) and elsewhere (e.g. IUCN, Wetlands International and BirdLife International) in order to obtain the best assessments of the sustainability of the current hunting practices at population level.


The report provides an updated overview of all existing knowledge relating to the current biology, population trends and hunting conditions for each game population relevant for DCE’s expert assessment of the effects of hunting during the current season. This is supplemented with an assessment of legislative issues arising from, for instance, changes in directives, conventions and red lists, as well as the Wildlife Management Council’s own objectives for each of the Danish game populations. For the currently non-huntable species, the report also provides DCE’s assessment of the potential consequences of declaring a hunting season based on the currently available knowledge.


The conclusions of DCE’s assessment regarding the suitability of a hunting season are given for all species in the last section treating each individual species in Chapter 3. For the currently huntable species, the assessments are found under the heading ”Vurdering af gældende jagttid” and for the currently non-huntable species under the heading “Vurdering af eventuel jagt-tid”.