Top European Destinations For Hunting
Despite the controversy surrounding hunting, it is a way of life for a lot of the world, and without it, we’d never have evolved past our primate ancestors into the planet overlords we are today. For some, hunting is not about taking trophies to hang on the wall and post on social media, it is a way to survive and converse the environment, and this is true not only in the US, but all over the world. If you’re a serious, experienced hunter, it’s likely you’ve exhausted most of the best areas for hunting back home, so why not branch out and see the world by checking out the best hunting destinations in Europe.
If you’ve grown up in westernized environments, visiting Europe to get your hunting fix is much easier and straightforward than traveling to Asia, Africa, or South America because of the language barrier and things running much the same as they do in the States. If you’re looking for an easy time packed with new experienced, Europe is the place to go.
What To Remember When Hunting Abroad
The rest of the world is not the same as the USA, so before you even think about packing your hunting gear into a suitcase and smear camo paint across your face (although you might struggle to get through immigration like this) make sure you understand a few things.
1. Firearm Travel
Traveling overseas with your firearm is a little (read: a lot) different from traveling within the US. While the rules for when you are on the flight are similar – disassembled gun, locked in a gun case, not loaded, etc – you will need a selection of documents including temporary permits and licenses.
Before you leave, make an appointment with the Customs Office to obtain form 4457 signed. This legitimized your firearm ownership and shows you didn’t buy it while out of the country.
2. Ammo Storage
Keeping ammo separate from the firearm is obvious, so use an internationally recognized storage option such as a plastic box or just the box it came in. You may need to declare how much ammunition you are bringing in.
3. Import Tax
You may need to pay a fee before entering the country with your firearm, so either arrange this beforehand or prepare to pay when you arrive. Also check what the preferred payment method is. You might be able to pay in USD, but other countries may prefer their national currency.
4. Hunting Season
The European hunting season may not align with what you’re used to back home, and it may even vary from country to country. To save yourself any disappointment, make sure you research the hunting season of your chosen destination before departing.
5. Tidying Up
No one likes tourists to leave a mess behind them after they leave so do your bit for the environment and clean up after yourself. Pick up any empty shell casings, clean up your campsite, and leave nothing behind you wouldn’t normally come across in the wilderness. As with all outdoor activities, show respect to the environment so the locals don’t run you out of town.
6. Exit Paperwork
When going back home, it’s important to have everything ready for a smooth journey through customs and back to the comfort of your sofa. Make sure you get an exit stamp and keep that form close at hand to show Customs officials.
Despite England banning fox hunting back in 2004, hunting is not exactly out of fashion and a quick, cursory search online will provide you with a plethora of hunting options such as deer, which are still legal to hunt with guns. However, you can’t hunt with crossbows and arrows or hounds.
In Scotland, you can hunt a variety of animals all within 24 hours of each other including salmon and the red stag, while at the end of the day, you can visit a distillery and, if you are a whiskey lover, treat yourself to a nice glass of whiskey.
The best part about hunting in the UK is that you can do it all without an intermediary which reduces the cost and gives you some extra spending money to splash out on a nice hotel after a week of roughing it in blow-up tents in the wilderness.
Up north in Sweden and Norway, you also hunt without dealing with judgment or intermediaries to drive up the cost. Most people in Scandinavia hunt themselves, making it very accepted, and the vastness of the area ensures there’s always somewhere you can explore without competing with other hunters.
Here, you can hunt moose between September and February, and you may stumble across reindeer, ptarmigan, and beavers. One of the most glorious things about hunting in Scandinavia is the diversity of unique wildlife, many of which you can’t find anywhere else on the planet, but there are still all the usual suspects to be found, too.
Boasting flat terrains and marshy territory, Belarus is an excellent hunting destination with over 10,000 lakes for fishing while 40% of the land is covered in magical forests. Within these forests, you can find the national animal the European Bison, along with elk, wild boar, and red deer.
Tiny and secluded, Montenegro is still unknown to many people outside of Europe. The landscape is lush and untouched, while the countryside stretches for miles. In Montenegro, you’ll find hunting is popular, and with an abundance of forests and jungles, there’s plenty of game to find. You’ll find birds, rabbits, boars, and more, giving you a variety of options for all hunters.
Is Greenland technically Europe? We’ll say yes considering it’s tied to Denmark and Norway. This massive area boasts one of the final true wildernesses worldwide which makes it one of the easiest destinations for hunting in the world. However, it is as expensive as you’d assume it to be, so try your luck at booking any expeditions directly with the outfitters instead of going through a third party.
While hunting in Europe may be a departure from what you know back home, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and experiencing the wonders of countries you may have otherwise never visited could spark something inside you that has you itching to get back, and maybe see a little more next time around.
- World’s Top Hunting Destinations – Tourism Review
- The Killing Fields: Europe’s Hunting Season Begins – The Independent
- Hunting In Scandinavia – Ullberg