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Applying for a hunting licence or fauna management exemption

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Only 5 species can be hunted legally during the hunting season in the Netherlands. Find out which and how to apply for a hunting license.

To hunt animals in the Netherlands, you must keep to the rules of the Nature Conservation Act (Wet natuurbescherming). You need, for instance, a hunting licence or falconry permit.

Hunting season

You are only allowed to hunt in a specific period of the year: the hunting season. The government decides when this is (in Dutch).

Hunting licence

In the Netherlands, there are only 5 species of animal you are allowed to hunt:

  • mallard (from 15 August - 31 January)
  • hare (from 15 October - 31 December). Please note: during the 2022-2023 season you cannot hunt hare in the provinces Groningen, Limburg, and Utrecht.
  • pheasant hen (from 15 October - 31 December)
  • pheasant cock (from 15 October - 31 January)
  • wood pigeon (from 15 October - 31 January)
  • rabbit (from 15 August - 31 January). Please note: hunting rabbit is prohibited in the 2022-2023 season (in Dutch).

You are only allowed to hunt these animals during the specified period, in the specified region.

Protected species

You are not allowed to hunt for protected species, such as:

  • red deer
  • roe
  • wild boar

Damage control and fauna management

The only exceptions to hunting protected species are:

  • when the animal causes damage or nuisance
  • when this species overpopulates an area

If you intend to hunt for damage/nuisance or population control purposes, you must apply for an exemption from the province.

This exemption is in addition to a hunting licence or falconry permit. In some cases, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry can declare an exemption for an entire species, for instance because a protected species (like geese) is damaging your crop.

Hunting permit

If you want to hunt with a rifle, you will need a hunting licence. You must also be a member of a your local hunting association. You can apply for a hunting licence to the police in your region (in Dutch). To apply for a hunting licence you must:

Falconry permit

If you want to hunt using a peregrine falcon or hawk, or you want to manage game with a peregrine falcon, hawk or Harris's hawk, you need a falconry permit (in Dutch) from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. To apply for a falconry permit (in Dutch), you must:

  • be 18 years of age or over
  • have passed a hunting with game birds exam (in Dutch). A recognised diploma from Belgium, Germany, or Luxemburg is also valid.

Fauna Management Unit recognition

In genreal, the provincial authority has a provincial provincial Fauna Management Unit(Faunabeheereenheid, in Dutch) take care of fauna management on its behalf. These units are an alliance of hunters and civil society organisations, approved by the provincial authority. Do you want recognition for such a unit? You can apply to the province. You will need a fauna management plan to apply. This plan describes the management of animal species in your area. The provincial authority has to approve the fauna management plan.

Online application procedure via Message Box

At the province of Noord-Brabant you can apply for the Fauna Management Unit recognition digitally via Message Box. Message Box is a secure e-mail system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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