Every hunter must work a minimum of 30 hours in their hunting family every year contributing to the management of game, cleaning of the hunting area and the upkeep of the hunting facilities. Under exceptional circumstances where a hunter is unable to fulfill his work commitment he must make good with a payment, however this is frowned upon because the purpose is to contribute to nature and not a material contribution.
I am pictured below with Dusan, friend and past mentor, where we work together in a sector of our hunting family.
A large portion of the work to clean the hunting area must be performed before the 15th of March of every year. I learnt the reasons why this year because I was behind in my contribution; a law in Slovenia forbids the cutting of branches and forest clearing after 15th March because this is considered the time (spring) when birds start nesting. Hunters contribute to nature in every way possible.
Below is one of the meadows in our sector of Udenboršt which we are responsible to maintain.
The hunting system has been developed over centuries; regulations and information are well documented e.g. every hide is numbered, its GPS coordinates recorded on an online hunting information data base available to hunters.
Feeding points are also recorded together with their main purpose stated. Only wild boar may be hunted at specially designated feeding points in order to control their numbers. All feeding points must be cleared after 21st March (through summer). Animals have natural food in summer and feeding is prohibited. Wild animals must continue their instincts of self preservation without human interference.
The Government employs hunting inspectors that control the area. Offences are punished by means of a monetary fine for both the hunting family association and separately for their President. Each hunting family association has a hunting keeper who is required to support compliance of regulations. A typical offence that is punished severely is illegal feeding where potentially irresponsible hunters try to lure animals.
The bottom left jaw of every animal shot must be presented at a specific location during a specific week of the year where hunting inspectors validate records of animals taken. A hunter in our family was recently fined Euro 450 because it was established from the tooth that the female pig was 1 year older than what was allowed to shoot.
A part of our work includes the maintenance of hides to ensure that structures are secure and safe. The main purpose of a hide is safety, giving a downward angle of the bullet. Other than in the large Government forest and hunting areas all other hunting takes place in close proximity of houses and people are constantly walking in the nature.
Recently there was an incident of vandalism at certain hunting offices of an association in Slovenia. Their anonymity and spineless nature reflects on their inability to be forthright and willing to engage in constructive debate. It will be difficult to engage people who have no respect for private property and who are not willing or competent to propose alternatives, but as responsible hunters we want to engage and find solutions in a changing world.