Sustainable Hunting

Sustainable hunting could be defined as the continued use over time of game species as a renewable natural resource, in a way that does not imply their deterioration or the environment that supports them. If we look at the definition made by the Council of Europe, through the Berne Convention, in the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity, sustainable hunting is understood as: "the use of wild game species and their habitats in a way that is already a pace that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity or hinder its restoration.


Such use maintains the potential of biological diversity to meet the needs and aspirations of those of present and future generations, as well as the maintenance of hunting as a socially, economically and culturally accepted activity (based on the definition of "use sustainable” in article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)). When hunting is carried out in a sustainable way, it can contribute positively to the conservation of wild populations and their habitats, and also benefit society”.


However, sustainable hunting is more than that. There is a further degree of deepening that must be taken into account to fully understand the concept of sustainability in hunting. It is true that the above, hunting only a part of the population leaving intact its ability to perpetuate itself indefinitely over time, is what is normally understood as sustainability in hunting. This is essential and forms the basis of sustainable hunting: hunted populations must remain viable over time. But that's not all.


There must also be other parameters that guarantee that the maintenance of populations over time provides healthy, wild, viable populations as such by themselves; at the same time that their habitats are also preserved in a state of satisfying for themselves all their needs. And these parameters include that the population remain pure (genetic), be wild (not livestock), keep its wild character intact for survival and defense (not artificially fed, intensively or artificially managed) and its population is subject to the carrying capacity of the medium (it can be an ordered carrying capacity: naturally increased, without intensifying or artificializing the population or its environment).


All this encompassed in the conservation of biological diversity as a whole (species, ecosystems and genes) that must also be conserved globally (“the use of wild game species and their habitats in a way and at a rate that does not lead to decline long-term biological diversity or hinder its restoration”). Hunting is a renewable natural resource. Hunting species, as a renewable natural resource, are susceptible to exploitation. Hunting, as an activity, is subject to extensive regulation for its orderly and sustainable use.


Complete, integral sustainability in hunting therefore has two mandatory conditions: the non-overexploitation of the resource (its maintenance over time) and the non-artificialization of the resource (its maintenance over time naturally, without negatively altering its natural parameters or those of its habitats).


Integral sustainability in hunting is achieved when these two conditions are met:
• The hunting stocks remain viable for a sustainable use over time (without overexploitation).
• Game stocks are kept naturally over time (without artificialization).