Spring hunting season to open 17th April, “subject to special measures”

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Spring hunting season to open 17th April, "subject to special measures"The Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, has announced today that the spring hunting season will open on the 17th of April, "subject to special measures."

It said in a statement that, "upon considering Malta Ornis Committee's recommendations, results of the scientific assessment of the conservation status of turtle dove and quail, results of bird migration studies, and the outcome of the previous autumn hunting season, the government will open the 2016 spring hunting season, subject to special measures to further reduce the impact of the limited derogation on the population of the species concerned."

The season will be open during a two-week period between 17th and 30th April, a reduction of seven days from the maximum of three weeks allowed under the Framework Regulations.

Permitted hunting hours will be reduced to between two hours before sunrise and until noon on all days, which represents a reduction of two hours on each weekday. Moreover, the national spring quota for turtle dove has been reduced from the maximum of 11,000 birds to just 5,000 birds, the Secretariat said.

The 5,000 national quota for quail, as well as the individual daily bag limit of two birds and the maximum season's bag limit per hunter of four birds, will remain unchanged.

The Secretariat said that "furthermore, the autumn hunting season for turtle dove will be reduced from five months (previously between 1st September and 31st January of the following year) to the month of September only. This one month autumn hunting season for turtle dove will be subject to the maximum national quota of 7,000 birds."

Only those persons who are issued with a Special Spring Hunting License for 2016 will be permitted to hunt turtle dove and quail during this two week spring season. In order to obtain this special license, hunters must have, at the time of application:

(a) Valid general license to hunt birds on land;

(b) Paid-up membership in a recognised hunting organisation for 2016;

(c) Valid third party liability insurance cover for 2016;

(d) Valid permit to carry a firearm for hunting of birds on land issued by the Police.

Eligible hunters may apply for the Special Spring Hunting License at any MaltaPost branch in Malta and Gozo during normal branch opening hours, between Monday 21st March and Wednesday 30th March, both dates included. Applications submitted after this period will not be accepted.

The application form for the Special Spring Hunting License has been sent to eligible hunters and will also be available at MaltaPost. This form must be duly completed and signed by the applicant and, in the case of another person applying on the eligible hunter's behalf, also by the person submitting such application.

Applicants must present completed and signed application forms at MaltaPost during the dates stipulated above. MaltaPost will only accept an application upon presentation of the applicant's ID card and a valid permit to carry a firearm for hunting of birds on land (police permit should only be shown to MaltaPost counter staff, but not handed over with the application). Upon receiving an application, MaltaPost will issue each applicant with a receipt, which is to be retained by the applicant.

Following the application procedure, the special licenses will be mailed to eligible applicants by post. Separately, hunters will also receive their general license cards and accompanying information booklets, in advance of the season. Hunters must read and understand carefully all provisions of their special license, as well as reporting instructions stipulated therein, to ensure compliance with the law.

The Secretariat said that "the limited spring hunting season will be subject to stringent enforcement, and any non-compliance with applicable conditions and regulations will not be tolerated."

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