Game Reserves in Spain: the public management of hunting

M. Pita, S. Casas, J. Herrero, C. Prada, R. García


In Spain, Game Reserves (GR) are territorial public hunting management units that cover 3.5% of the country and ~ 10% of the Natura 2000 Network. The first GR were established in 1966 and by 2011 there were 49. Their primary purposes were to promote wild ungulate populations, their sustainable use, and to provide social, economic, and recreational benefits to local communities and hunters, generally. During the 1980s following a political federalization process, GR became the responsibility of regional governments and their role has never been evaluated, even though the political, rural ecological, and administrative frameworks underwent substantial changes. In this paper, we present a review of the state of GR in 2011, identify their successes and problems, and provide recommendations for the future. The GR have been fundamental to sustainable hunting and the protection of wildlife, particularly, game species. Currently, their virtues are not widely appreciated and they do not receive sufficient financial and human resources to meet their objective fully. We propose several initiatives that might improve the use of existing resources and increase the profile of these publicly managed areas.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2012213-02343