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.
You are only allowed to hunt in a specific period of the year: the hunting season. The government decides when this is (in Dutch).
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).
- 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).
You are only allowed to hunt these animals during the specified period, in the specified region.
You are not allowed to hunt for protected species, such as:
- red deer
- 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.
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:
- be 18 years of age or over
- have passed a recognised hunting with guns exam (in Dutch)
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 general, the provincial authority has a provincial provincial Fauna Management Unit(Faunabeheereenheid) 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.