In an increasingly confronted society between lovers and detractors of hunting, we analyze the numbers of hunting activity. Let’s look at the evolution of the hunt and its statistics to know the importance of it.
Origin and history of the hunt
Hunting is closely linked to man existing from the origin of our species. Hunting in its beginnings begins as an act of survival, the man hunts to feed and dress, we are facing a transhumant hunter who moves depending on the hunt. Later in the Neolithic and with the discovery of agriculture, man becomes sedentary and there is a change in the way of hunting of man since he now hunts to defend his crops and his flocks.
Later, In the Middle Ages, hunting becomes a privilege being an activity developed by the kings and the nobility and protected for them and continues this way even with the arrival of industrialization in the nineteenth century where hunting activity develops towards the extinction of so-called vermin. There are photographs of the time where we can see hunters having captured bears, a species protected today and in danger of extinction. In the same way the wolf was treated.
Already in the twentieth century, in the decades of the 40s and 50s we see how the big game remains somewhat elitist but the small game is abundant, distributed and useful. In the razed Spain After the civil war, the hunt allowed thousands of families to feed themselves and survive the terrible conditions of poverty and famine. Although in 1946 there were only 140,000 licenses issued, the game was well regarded socially. Already in the decade of the 60s and 70s, the big game begins to prosper due to the abandonment of the mountains and due to the increase in income and hunting demand. Hunting now begins to be an activity that serves as a fund to foster human, political and financial relationships. In these decades the infrastructures begin to improve and the first fences and even the first partridge farms appear. In 1970 the Hunting Law. It is an ambitious and restrictive law but necessary since until then the hunting activity penalties was regulated. With the entry into force of this law, hunting preserves are created, the closures are marked and hunting species are limited. Society begins to be more critical with hunting activity. The mechanization of agricultural work, the emergence of phytosanitary treatments and land consolidation that eliminates a large part of the boundaries produce a decrease in small game that will be more pronounced thereafter. It is also published in 1989 the Law of Conservation of Natural Spaces and Wild Flora and Fauna Y the Autonomous Communities acquire the powers for hunting laws. Thus we arrive at the present time where the big game continues to increase to a large extent due to the few natural predators it has and the small game continues to decrease as a result of the conditions mentioned above.
Land occupation and catches
Spain covers an area of about 50 million hectares. To understand the importance of hunting we must know that 80% of this area is dedicated to hunting useor. There are different nomenclatures for these lands, with the private hunting grounds being the ones that account for 72% of the hunting area, the highest proportion. There are also sports, social and local reserves, as well as game reserves or controlled hunting areas.
There are currently 827,000 hunting licenses issued, number that is increasing after the great fall in the years of the crisis. These licenses represent an economic value of 23 million euros. By Autonomous Communities, Andalusia leads the number of licenses with 245,000 followed by Castilla La Mancha and Castilla y León with 108,000 and 90,000 licenses issued respectively.
According to sources from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the number of big game catches was almost 700,000 animals, more than 7 million were small game catches and 13.5 million were small game birds. Total, 21.5 million animals hunted with an economic value of 100 million euros. Of these 21.5 million animals, only 2.5 million were released by the administration or by individuals.
On the other hand, we must also take into account that we live in the same environment with the animals and that the roads run through the habitats of the hunting species. In 2011 they occurred 26 447 accidents with victims on the road with animals involved producing 9 fatalities.
Hunting involves a socio-cultural network of such magnitude that it involves many sectors and not only does an economic flow through the hunting pieces, but we also have to take into account veterinarians, taxidermy, customs companies, remakes, weapons and cartridges, armory and accessories, dogs, weapons possession costs, insurance, leasing of preserves, management plans, nurseries for hunting preserves, media, hotel sector, catering, transportation and energy. The hunting activity carries an important economic benefit in addition to the 120,000 jobs it produces (20,000 fixed).
Hunting must be a responsible activity since good management conserves flora and fauna and increases biodiversity. In addition, many epizootics are controlled by hunting, preventing diseases from spreading and eliminating the animals that are hunted.
Man as a hunter has always been part of the food chain and hunting is something atavistic in humans.