An average hunter only caught 0.29 birds during the spring hunting season
The average Maltese hunter caught just 0.29 birds during the spring hunting season, according to figures compiled by leading hunter lobby group.
The FKNK said an average of 3,420 hunters hunted each day of the open season, allowing licensed hunters to shoot doves between April 17 and 30.
Compared to the officially reported bird harvest, this means the average split catch per hunter was 0.29 birds, FKNK said.
Maltese hunting is based on a self-reporting system in which hunters must, at least in theory, report catches via a smartphone app or by sending an SMS with details of their catch.
The system has been flagged as inadequate by bird protection campaigners, who say catches are grossly underreported.
In 2020, for example, only 2.7% of registered hunters reported catching birds during the hunting season.
The FKNK noted that there were 73 illegalities officially reported during the spring 2022 hunt, of which just under half, 34, related to the shooting of protected birds.
As a percentage, about 2.6% of hunters committed illegal acts, he noted.
The FKNK said its statistics indicated that dove populations were healthy and regenerating: 70% of “doves of opportunity” that were available to hunters were not caught, it said, and the ratio of hunted juvenile to adult doves was encouraging.
Juveniles harvested were 28% and 40% more than adults for 2021 and 2022 respectively, he said, saying this was a “positive indicator of the sustainability of hunting species in the fall “.
The FKNK figures were based on voluntary surveys it conducted among its members.
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