Trends in hunters, hunting grounds and big game harvest in Spain

A. C. Herruzo, M. Martinez-Jauregui


Aim of study: Game species are considered a scarce natural resource and therefore they are subject to economic analysis. Current studies on factors affecting big game trends have mostly emphasized the impact of ecological supply variables. This study intends to expand this analysis by considering two important supply and demand economic parameters.

Area of study: We use big game hunting in Spain from 1972 until 2007 as a case study since it has an important role in the European hunting activity.  

Material and Methods: Different linear models were fitted to explain big game harvest as a function of two parameters not previously used: hunting grounds areas and big game firearm hunting licenses.

Main results: Our main results show that up to 1989 the decrease in the area of open access territories significantly explains the increase in big game harvests, and that afterwards, once the hunting property rights were strengthen in most of the Spanish territory, the number of big game firearm licenses best explain big game harvests increments.

Research highlights: This work shows an upward trend in Spanish harvests of big game, which can be attributed in part to (1) a shift to the right of big game demand, measured by an increase in big game firearm licenses, and (2) a change in the nature of big game supply (from a backward to an ordinary upward supply curve) due to the strengthening of hunting property rights of Spanish hunting grounds.

Keywords: hunting license; firearm license; hunting bag; hunting sector; property rights; wildlife.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013221-03371