The hunting season is under way in Malaga province after a year marked by coronavirus lockdowns and mobility restrictions. Although it officially started last Sunday, the season for hunting most of the smaller species opens this Tuesday, 12 October, and for the larger species it begins on Saturday, 16 October.
Hunters are confident that they will enjoy a good season in terms of both quantity and quality, as last year's Covid-19 measures prevented many from taking part.
The Andalusian Federation has said that the number of hunting licences remains stable compared to previous years. In Malaga province there are about 23,000 hunters, of whom more than half are members.
The president of the group, José María Mancheño, said that Malaga is very important for hunting. In terms of small game, the partridge, the rabbit, the hare and the pigeon are prominent; and the larger species include deer, wild boar, mountain goats and the mouflon. One species that cannot be hunted this year is the turtle dove, as the European Union has established a one-year moratorium.
Despite the good forecasts ahead, the federation claims it is very concerned about the current state of the sector, since agriculture is taking space away from all species.
Mancheño also said that pesticides, fertilisers and the installation of wind turbines and solar farms are affecting the numbers of small game, which is becoming increasingly scarce.
With regards to Covid, the group has said that the pandemic has affected them especially from the financial point of view, since the restrictions were imposed when the vast majority of hunters had already renewed their licences and they are one of the few groups that did not receive any type of aid.
Hunters have also been affected by the fire that has swept through Sierra Bermeja. Four hunting grounds are located in the scorched area, and two of them have suffered extensive damage. Hunting activity will be banned there until the vegetation and fauna recovers, something that could take a minimum of three years.
The hunting association is also particularly concerned about the draft of the future animal welfare law that the central government is processing which "practically prohibits hunting."
Mancheño said there is a lot of uncertainty and that the entire sector is worried because if it goes ahead, hunting with dogs will be practically prohibited and animals will need to be "resocialised".