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Reader question: What are the rules around hunting in Italy?

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Reader question: What are the rules around hunting in Italy?
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Hunting season is underway in Italy. If you live in the Italian countryside, knowing the law can help you protect your rights and safety.


Question: 'Hunting season is on in Italy, and where we live we seem to be surrounded by hunters firing away at dawn and again at dusk.

"What are the rules around hunting in Italy, and what measures can a home owner take to prevent hunters from getting too close or disregarding what the law says?"

Anyone who spends much time in the Italian countryside in autumn and winter will quickly get used to the sound of gunshots, as hunting is a popular pastime in many rural areas.

Italy's hunting season technically runs from the third weekend in September until January 31st, but 16 regions also have a 'pre-opening' season, starting from the first weekend in September, when certain species of birds can be hunted.

Often, the noise of shooters taking aim at wild boar will do no more than disturb your morning peace; but at worst, it can make you fear for your safety and that of any pets or livestock.

And it's not unreasonable to worry: according to data from Italy's Hunting Victims Association, 19 people were killed and 60 injured in the 2022-2023 hunting season.

READ ALSO: How dangerous is the Italian countryside during hunting season?

Unfortunately, private land isn't automatically legally protected from hunters, as current Italian law requires landowners to erect a 120cm-high fence all around the property, or a watercourse at least 3 metres wide and 1 metre deep, if they want hunters to stay away.

Italy does, however, have national legislation that lays out some clear rules and restrictions around hunting.

Hunters must keep at least 100m away from buildings, stables and agricultural machinery in operation and 50m away from roads and railways, and must be at least 150m away when shooting in their direction.

The activity is prohibited in public and private parks and gardens, national and regional parks and nature reserves, land where sporting activities are carried out, and farmyards.


Hunting is permitted from one hour before sunrise until sunset. It can be carried out no more than three days a week, and is completely banned on Tuesdays and Fridays.

National legislation regulates hunting in Italy.

National legislation regulates hunting in Italy. Photo by Paul Einerhand on Unsplash

Hunters must have a valid firearms license from their regional government, which they can only receive upon passing a rigourous exam.

Separately, Article 703 of Italy's Penal Code bans the use of firearms in the vicinity of inhabited areas and public roads, and Article 659 enshrines people's right to rest and work without disturbance.

It's one thing for a law to exist, however, and another matter to get it enforced.

More than one grassroots organisation has sprung up in Italy with the aim of cracking down on hunters who violate the rules with apparent impunity.

Caccia Il Cacciatore ('Hunt the Hunter') says its members in towns and villages around Rome have had success in passing local ordinances banning hunting altogether in certain areas.


This does away with the need to demonstrate someone is in violation of specific rules based on location, distance or time of day, which can be hard to prove in practice.

The organisation provides a step-by-step guide as well as templates for filing formal complaints.

For this kind of local initiative to work, of course, you'll need to drum up enough support from your neighbours to convince your mayor to issue this kind of blanket ban.

Just one of many reasons why it's worth integrating into your local community as a foreigner in Italy.



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Tony 2023/11/29 15:24
There's a bit of an anti-hunting theme in the article. Some more information regarding responsible hunting such as best regions for certain game, hunting clubs, firearms acquisition and transport would be nice. Hunting helps keep some balance with nature such as culling invasive wild boar. Most also enjoy the food produced from the harvest of wild game. And much like the balance of nature, more information on how to responsibly balance hunting with community quality of life would be helpful.
David 2023/11/24 21:57
Good information, but the most important was left out. What are the dates for hunting season?

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