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Maltese Traditional Hunting & Trapping Practices

Hunting, including trapping (or the catching of wild birds by means of traditional clap-nets for the purpose of keeping the any caught birds alive in captivity), is allowed on about 160 Sq. Km. Of the Maltese islands and, with about 12,000 shooters and 4,000 trappers, the resulting density (some 80 sportsmen per square kilometer of huntable land) is considerable, but then Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Maltese hunters and trappers thus form an important part of the economic, social, cultural and political life of the islands, and any hunter/trapper thus expects to exercise his legal right to practice hunting and trapping in the traditional manner, so long as he is fully aware that his harvesting does not constitute any threat to any particular species.

Maltese hunters utilise the basic principals of hunting (and with the word hunt we always assume included the other local traditional form of hunting which is trapping) which is the method of wise use of renewable natural resources and adapt European and International standards to the unique situation prevailingin the Maltese Islands. Unique, since the Maltese bag depends solely on migratory birds, there being no resident species. By such methods one can identify those species that can withstand harvesting, even the limited bag of Maltese hunters and trappers in Spring and regulate accordingly.




Maltese Traditional Shooting

Due to the space restriction, most hunting is carried out from fixed hides.




Maltese Traditional Trapping

Trapping requires a mowed space, with approximately 50 Sq/ meters per trapping site. All trapping is practiced on a pure selective basis: traditional, manually operated clap-nets are operated from a hide.




Shooting at Sea

Using boats to go out into the Mediterranean sea, waiting for days, dawn to dusk, for the passage of migratory wild duck.

This practice of hunting is mainly due to the fact that migratory waterfowl rarely fly inland, as they do not find the required wetlands on the Maltese Islands.




Wild Rabbit Shooting and Ferreting

Using special dogs 'Kelb tal-Fenek' the Maltese National Hound (refer to website at http://www.kelbtal-fenek.com)to flush out the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), usually in the heat of the day, from their holes for shooting or trapping with prearranged nets over the holes. Ferrets are sometimes used in combination with the dogs to chase out the rabbits. The rabbit is the only resident game species, occurs in very small numbers and in few selected areas.




Trapping

  1. Turtle dove (Streptolelia turtur) using traditional clap-nets setting the nets before dawn and using live decoys, waiting and carefully maneuvering the decoys to attract the passing birds into the net area.

  2. Finches (Fringillidae) using traditional clap-nets, and live finch decoys. This method is also used for the trapping of the song thrush (Turdus philomelos) and the golden plover (Pluvialls apricaria)

  3. Quail (Coturnix coturnix) using a traditional method of setting a net horizontally covering an area of tall grass with live calling decoys set underneath the net, and waiting to lure the birds to openings in the net and flushing to the top of the net once in.




Cover Shooting

Being present in the covert in the early hours before dawn every morning during the hunting open season/s waiting for any huntable birds from this stationary position (turtle dove (Streptopelia tutur), thrushes (Turdai), most other huntable birds).




Waked Up

Having access to small areas of land, walking up using dogs to flush out huntable birds, quail (Coturnix coturnix), woodcock (Scolopax rusticola).