Game is public property and you can hunt in most places provided you’re at least 100m (328ft) from a house and don’t damage crops. There are an estimated 800,000 regular hunters, mainly in Tuscany and Sardinia.
Most use shotguns, and popular prey includes wild boar, rabbit, hare and many species of bird, including songbirds, many of which are protected in other countries.
Hunters are a powerful group, although hunting is controversial and many protests take place on the opening day of the season; however, to date the pro-hunting lobby has managed to overcome all efforts to have it banned.
If you take part in hunting, you must ensure that you’re aware of the regulations governing which species can be shot. Enthusiasm for hunting has resulted in many animals becoming rare, endangered or extinct, and new laws have been introduced to provide greater protection for many birds and animals.
In recent years, further measures have been taken to protect animals in regions hit by fires and drought.
Campaigns against illegal hunting are led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Animal Rights League.
For further information about hunting in Italy, contact the Federazione Italiana della Caccia (www.fidc.it).
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Italy. Click here to get a copy now.