Hunting in Bulgaria
The country: Bulgaria is a country situated in Southeast Europe. Its capital city is Sofia. Bulgaria is bordering Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a land area of 110,994 square km, Bulgaria is the 16th-largest country in Europe. Bulgaria`s population is 7.5 million people.
Climate: Considering its relatively small area, Bulgaria has variable and complex climate. The country occupies the southernmost part of the continental climatic zone, with small areas in the south falling within the Mediterranean climatic zone. Annual precipitation is around 635 mm, but this can vary throughout the year. The four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, are clearly differentiated.
Flights: There are daily flights to Sofia, Varna and Burgas airports from most European capitals. Intercontinental flight connections can be made in Frankfurt, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, London or Istanbul.
Visa: A visa for Bulgaria is not required for US citizens, or EU passport holders.
Rifle import permit: Hunters may bring their own firearms, but it is crucial to arrange all details with us in advance. All EU citizens who have valid EU firearms pass (EFP) can enter Bulgaria with their own rifles and ammunition, without any additional requirements. If you do not possess such an EU firearms pass (EFP), an official firearms import permit must be obtained for entering Bulgaria with your personal hunting rifle and ammunition. The process takes 30 working days. You need to be able to provide all rifle and ammunition details as well as a valid hunting license from your home country. We will personally meet you at the airport and assist you with all customs procedures and formalities. Then together we will depart to the hunting area.
Accommodation: The hunting lodges vary greatly in size, terrain, habitat, accommodations and ease of access. Depending of your hunting wishes and game preferences, we will choose the lodge and hunting area that best fits your expectations. You will experience the Bulgarian hospitality, local traditions, Bulgarian cuisine with recipes handed down from one generation to the other.
Hunting: Bulgaria is a country with an amazing nature and various wildlife. Hunting difficulty levels vary a lot. For hunters seeking mountain adventures, there are high rugged peaks where chamois are stalked, and there are also many hilly regions and plains areas where deer and other game live in abundance. Most hunting is done by spot-and-stalk or by still hunting from a high seat. Depending of the game chosen we propose our 4 nights / 3 hunting days or our 6 nights / 5 hunting days programs.
Bulgaria is also one of the few European countries that allows bow hunting. The trophy hunting in Bulgaria is generally open all year long. The hunting periods for big game species are set as follows:
1st September - 31st January - European Red Deer, Balkan Chamois (female - 15th September - 31 October), Fallow Deer, Balkan Chamois (male - 1st December to 15th January);
15th April - 15th May – Capercaillie, Balkan Chamois (male);
1st May - 30th October - Roe Deer;
All year round - Wild Boar (individual hunt), Mouflon, Wolf, Fox, Golden Jackal;
st October - 15th January - Wild Boar driven hunts.
After the hunt: We will assist and monitor all the processes from the harvest of your trophies, through the taxidermist`s work and export documentation to the shipping agent and the actual trophy shipping to your home.
Small game hunting in Bulgaria
One of the most popular types of wing shooting in Bulgaria is woodcock hunting, and for good reason. These birds' migration route takes them directy through Bulgaria, making it one of the best woodcock hunting destinations in the world.
Woodcock hunts begin at around 9:00 AM, the best time being in daylight, with a pointing dog. The Setter and the Pointer have proved themselves invaluable helpers for this hunt. The woodcock is a secretive bird; most commonly encountered in forests, hence its name - woodcock. It likes to hide along the edge of the forest, in gullies, near small rivers, where the soil is soft and in short bushes (briar, blackberry and thorny bushes), but must be close to the forest. During rapid temperature drops, the woodcock can be found in pine forests, where the snow and rime can’t reach the ground.
There it spends the entire day feeding and resting, and manages to survive because the soil doesn’t freeze. Some of the best regions for hunting woodcocks can be found in Bulgaria. These regions maintain the vitally necessary for the bird temperature of 5 degrees Celsius. It’s a well-known fact that one of the biggest woodcock migration routes - via Pontica - passes through Bulgaria, making it one of the best hunting destinations for this bird in the world.
These birds stay for the longest time-period precisely in Bulgaria. Bulgarian hunters don’t have much interest in woodcocks, allowing mostly foreign hunters to indulge in this type of wingshooting in Bulgaria. The best habitats are near the Black sea, because the snow melts quickly thanks to the maritime climate. The hunting terrains are easily traversable because the soil is soft and lacks rocky areas. Some of the forests are sparse which allows for better visibility of the birds and more trophies.
The hunt for woodcocks is tremendously interesting because it is difficult, involves long treks and strong emotions. The best pointing dog for hunting these birds is the English setter. It has a firm stance, searches the places where the vegetation is thickest, has a good tempo and covers large areas. Unlike the Pointer it searches in a circular fashion and, most of the time, it tries to block the bird’s escape.
The Pointer has a good sense of smell, but searches further and in a straight line, which makes it possible for it to miss some of the birds. There are exceptions; some Pointers are very good in hunting woodcocks. Lately, we have begun to see the German shorthaired pointer in the forest, but the problem is that they track and give chase to furred game.
The best terrains for woodcock wingshooting in Bulgaria are short-stalked forests, clearings, and sparse beech, oak and coniferous forests as long as there are meadows frequented by livestock nearby. At night, woodcocks find their food in those meadows by burrowing.
In the beginning of the season for wood pigeon hunting doesn’t differ from turtledoves as both animals are stalked in the same feeding spots (sunflower fields and harvested agricultural fields).
Hunters have to be at the hunting grounds at 7:00 AM and can hunt there until 11:00 AM. From 11:00 AM to 16:00 PM the birds can be stalked by the watering spots (beside rivers, swamps, overflows etc.) and the places where they rest (damp, sunless forests beside sunflower fields, acacia forests, dried tree trunks or massive singular trees from which the wood pigeon has the possibility to keep watch for any threats). Hunters need to be under the cover of a tree or at the edge of the forest and shoot only birds in flight. The period for this type of wingshooting in Bulgaria starts the beginning of August and ends on the 30th of October.
Wood pigeon hunting with lures:
Wood pigeons can be hunted with lures beginning from the 30th of October until the end of February. The hunting grounds are rice fields, harvested corn and sunflower fields etc. The most important thing about this hunt is observation, based on it we can determine where exactly the birds feed.
Using camouflage netting a hideout is constructed near the edge of the field. 20 to 40 artificial birds and two devices with rotating mock wood pigeons imitating landing birds and luring flocks. Spreading some additional food, found in the field (sunflower seeds, corn etc.), between the lures is recommended because the birds have excellent vision. Additionally a lone, static, wood pigeon is placed on a high place overlooking the field to play the role of a lookout.
Shooting range is 15-30 m.; firing before the bird lands gives the best results. When there is more than one person involved, the hunters are allowed to fire only on command.
Retriever dogs can be used for this type of wingshooting in Bulgaria. The dog must be well disciplined and must be able to stay still inside the hideout because the birds are suspicious when they notice movement. The hunters must stay still while in the hideout as well.
Weapon: Semi-automatic rifles are the preferred choice, but side-by-side or over/under shotguns can also be used. Barrel length should be between 66 and 76 cm and the chokes can be: |, ||, |||. The most commonly used rounds are № 6 ½ and № 7 ½, generally though you can use rounds ranging from № 5 to № 8
Accessories: camouflage netting, 3D camouflages, appropriate clothes that seamlessly blend in with the terrain.
The wood grouse is the biggest gallinaceous bird and is encountered in pine forests at over 1500 m above sea level.
It is also one of the most prestigious trophies among birds. Wood grouse hunting takes place early in the morning, before dawn. Observations need to be made beforehand to identify the so-called tokovishta (places where the wood grouse mates with 1 to 6 females).
Wood grouse hunting can only take place during its mating period, and having a guide who knows the area well is mandatory, because the trecks to the hunting grounds are made in complete darkness. Advancing towards the singing wood grouse happens on command from the guide.
Depending on the terrain, up to 3 paces are walked only during certain parts of the wood grouse’s song. It makes 3 sounds and the hunters can move only when it starts singing the third one - brosene. This is a sound that mimics the sound of sharpening a scythe. Before that the two others are popping (sounds like opening a bottle of champagne) and knocking. When making the third sound the wood grouse can’t hear anything, that’s why the hunters need to make their advance then.
If a hunter cannot synchronize their movement with the bird’s song, the guide must take their hand and make sure they move in unison with the melody. Shooting distance is about 30 m and the shot is taken on the command of the hunting guide. This is the only bird that can be shot when on the ground. The rounds are № 2/0 до № 4/0 when hunting with a smoothbore weapon.
When hunting with a rifled weapon, the shooting distance can be between 50 to 80 m, if the visibility allows it. When using a rifled weapon the wood grouse can be hunted in daylight, because the distances are significantly greater. Rifles and Flobert rifles can be used, as well as 223 and all small caliber shotguns. The wood grouse in Bulgaria is an exceptional trophy but it isn’t a bird that can be consumed. It is a trophy which can be stuffed and preserved.
The hunt itself is very interesting and emotional.
Wild duck hunting is one of the coldest and most exciting types of wing shooting in Bulgaria. There are three types of duck hunting. The first kind is at flight, early in the morning and at dusk. The second kind is with fake lures at the resting spots (reservoirs, dams, rivers and runoff water). The third kind is walked up hunting along river banks, canals and streams.
When hunting in the early hours of the morning, the hunters have to be at the hunting spots before dawn. The birds move from ther feeding spots towards the resting spots. Those are normally large dams and high-water rivers. Wearing warm clothes is recommended, but using camouflage coverings is a must, due to the fact that these birds have a sharp eyesight and a very acute sense of hearing. It is a good idea for hunters to use auditory decoys, so as to direct the birds towards themselves. You may use retriever dogs (Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Drahthaarts, Kurzhaarts and Setters). The dogs need to be very disciplined, compliant and to obey the command Stay in place!. Dogs with experience trace the shot birds by themselves and swiftly retrieve them for their guide.
During the hunts at dusk, it is advisable to lie in wait for the ducks at their feeding spots.
Those are: surface runoff areas (overland flow), harvested fields (rice fields), shallow streams, flooded corn fields (grooves filled with water). It is mandatory to use auditory decoys, so as to direct the birds towards the desired places. It is advisable to use retriever dogs, due to the fact that the hunt takes place in the darker hours of the day. For this kind of wing shooting in Bulgaria, using Drahthaars and Kurzhaars brings greater success. They are able to find the shot birds visually as well as by smell, while Labradors and Golden Retrievers tend to track the bird visually and are more suited for hunting at wide open water areas (reflective water surfaces).
Walked up hunting is the second method of hunting ducks. That is an emotion-filled outing involving long hikes, which is why the hunter must be in excellent health. This kind of hunt is most sucessful when the bigger dams in the area freeze over. Smaller canals and rivers do not allow the water to freeze even at temperatures below - 15 degrees. Birds are aware of that and they find favourable conditions to rest and eat. It is recommended to start this type of hunt at 6 am, and it can last until as late as 5 pm. It may then be combined with an evening hunt at dusk. Combined, the two types of hunt can bring wonderful results. During walked up hunts, it is good to use a guide who knows the places where the birds rest during the day. Once you near the resting spots, you need to move quietly and stay low. You need to use the surrounding vegetation as a cover while you approach the birds and use the element of surprise. It’s possible to lift between 20 and 50 birds into the air at one of these spots. When moving along a riverbank or canal, you need a disciplined dog that walks no more than 15 - 20 steps ahead of you. Once you near the resting spots, the dog must obey the command Heel! or Behind me! so as not to lift the resting game birds. In Bulgaria, the most widely established dog breeds are Drahthaar and Kurzhaar. Once the birds have been shot, the dogs must retrieve the birds from water as well as dry land under the command Retrieve!. The dog must be able to maneuvre through obstacles (water obstacles, fallen trees, ponds, etc.) - in other words, it needs to be hardy while retrieving.
The third kind of hunting is by lying in wait for the birds at their resting spots. Those are: large reservoirs (dams), surface runoffs. It is mandatory to use lures (decoys). It is advisable to put between 40 and 100 duck decoys into the water. It is good to have two or three pairs of spinning wing decoys (mojos). You may use mobile duck decoys with electric motors, so as to create the illusion that the birds are moving. The hunters need to have made a temporary hiding place at the river bank. It must blend in with the terrain so as not to arouse suspicion in the birds. A boat camouflaged with reed vegetation can be used for the same purpose. Hunting by boat allows the hunters to choose the hunting spots for themselves. When using decoys in such cases, they need to be mobile, with built-in chords and weights (so that they can be thrown directly from the boat).
The turtle-dove’s passage begins at 7:30 AM and ends at 11:00, at the places where it feeds (sunflower fields), that is why the hunters have to be at the hunting grounds by 7:00 AM. Due to the fact that birds of the dove species use the same air corridors when flying, it is advised that the hunting guides research the hunting spots a day or two in advance.
The spots where the cover will be set to stalk the birds are decided on the basis of the collected information. After 11:00 AM if we’re not satisfied with the results, we can stalk the birds by their watering places (by rivers, swamps, overflows etc.), on the condition that there are trees, dried tree trunks, electrical posts and wires.
The use of retriever dogs is common practice. The dog must be very disciplined and adept at carrying out commands.
It should obey the commands: stay, lay down, fetch. An experienced dog has the ability to track the moving birds before the hunter and upon shooting to bring back the bird quickly and energetically, well remembering the shot bird’s exact spot. It must sit down in front of the hunter and give back the animal.
During a group hunt (in groups of 4 - 8 hunters), it’s advisable they cover all corridors of the passing birds, forcing them to keep flying in the air and giving the hunters a chance to continue shooting. The turtle-dove flies at speeds of 70 to 90 km/h and must be anticipated properly.
Snipes are rarely the target of Bulgarian hunters, but there is quite the interest from foreign hunters.
This type of wing shooting in Bulgaria doesn’t require the hunters to get up early and can continue the entire day. Snipes are most commonly hunted in the so called overflows (fields that retain water, rice fields, spots where rivers have overflown and shallow lakes).
This is a bird that makes one of the longest migratory flights in the world. There is evidence that some specimens travel from Japan to Bulgaria. The hunt is very emotional and puts the hunter’s marksmanship skills to the test.
On liftoff snipes let out a cry which guides the hunter to the target. The problem is the bird makes sudden and sharp turns to either side and after the 30th meter straightens out its trajectory.
Missing the target is quite common. Out of the three types of snipes (small, common and large) the common snipe is allowed to be hunted in Bulgaria. Retriever dogs, which cope well with watery terrains, can be used.
The dogs must work very close to the hunter, at a distance no greater than 20 - 25 m. because the snipe lifts off at the 20th meter (the bird doesn’t allow the hunter to get close to it; the terrain doesn’t allow stealthy movement) and does so very quickly, making it quite difficult to hit.
English Setters have established themselves as the best dogs for this hunt. They have a good, firm stance and an exceptional sense of smell. Their fur protects them from the moisture and they can work all day.
Snipe hunting is allowed in the period from the beginning of August to the end of February. The best time for this type of wing shooting in Bulgaria is in December and January when most water basins freeze.
Quail hunting in Bulgaria - one of the two types of wing shooting in Bulgaria that can take place as early as August. Quail hunting is carried out primarily in the early hours of the day. It’s recommended you be at the hunting grounds by 6:00 AM.
In the beginning of the season, it is best you hunt until 10:00 AM and from 16:00 to 19:00 in the afternoon because of the high temperatures which impede the dogs work. During that period, it’s advisable you choose hunting grounds that are at greater altitudes. Practice shows us that quails prefer higher mountainous regions when the temperatures start to rise. They are most commonly encountered in meadows where different sorts of millet grow, in flat fields of harvested grain crops or the so called stubble fields where weeds are dominant.
The use of dogs of English breed (Pointer, Setter, etc.) is recommended. Hunting quails in passages is the most intense and successful method, when groups of 1000 to 3000 birds are formed. The season for this kind of wing shooting in Bulgaria is from the 1st of September to the 1st of October. During this period, temperatures are lower and it’s possible to hunt throughout the course of the entire day. A single hunter can shoot more than 100 birds during this type of hunt.
If the dogs are well trained, it is possible to shoot around 15 - 30 quails in about 2 - 4 hours. Our advice is to only shoot when the dog is in its pointing stance. That way there is equality between the hunter and the prey, and the hunt itself is pleasant. The dog has to be well trained, have a firm pointing stance and be a good retriever.
Young dogs can be brought along on this hunt, because they gain qualities and experience, making them better helpers when hunting other types of birds. The dog must work hard to find the game and, after the shot, bring it back to the hunter. If it learns to find quails then it will be able to find all other types of birds with ease. The recommended shooting distance is 20 to 30 meters. When the dog is standing still but there is nothing in front of it, it should be allowed to pick up the scent of the fleeing animal.
During group hunts the participant have to walk slowly and stop every 10 - 15 paces for about 30 seconds. That way the birds that press themselves down to the ground are forced to leave their cover and the dogs are given a chance to pick up their scents. When hunting in a group (4 - 5 hunters) we must always know the position of our fellow hunters. Whenever a person from the group fires their gun in an attempt to shoot down a bird, the others have to wait for him and then fire. Usually a region is searched with the group forming a line, complying with the safety measures.
The quails are completely wild; the populations are not mixed with birds raised in captivity. The best hunting period starts on the 1st of September and ends on the 1st of October. The hunting terrains are mountainous, hilly and farmlands.
Pheasant hunting is a fun and exciting type of wing shooting in Bulgaria's flatlands.
The hunt for pheasants begins at around 9:00 AM and can last the entire day. The terrain can be small, rolling hills, flatlands or along rivers and canals where thick vegetation is present.
Wild pheasants prefer hiding in thick bushes. The best places for this kind of wingshooting in Bulgaria are along the river Danube, in the northern part of the country. The hunt can be done in a group or individually, walking along rivers canals and the edges of forests.
When hunting pheasants in Bulgaria, continental pointing dogs find wider use, because the terrain is overgrown with thick vegetation where the English pointing dogs find difficulties. There are areas in Bulgaria where pheasants bred in reserves can be hunted. These birds live on huge patches of closed off land where they can grow much like their wild counterparts. They are bred in order to meet the numbers that hunters desire, especially during driven hunts.
Pheasants can be hunted all year round in Bulgaria at the designated places.
Partridge Hunting in Bulgaria begins at around 9:00 AM, because the gallinaceous birds do not require the hunter to get up and be at the hunting grounds very early. This type of wing shooting in Bulgaria takes place in flatlands and regions with small, rolling hills.
Partridges found in Bulgaria are wild and their biggest populations reside near Plovdiv, where there are lots of uncultivated lands and fields of weeds. In these places partridges can easily hide and breed. Some flocks consist of more than 50 birds. It is possible to see 10 to 20 families a day. Partridges are hunted with pointing dogs, the Pointer and Setter being the breeds most commonly used. They scour bigger areas quickly and have a good firm stance.
Some Pointers can smell flocks from 100 m away. You can hunt individually or in a group. Nervous dogs are to be avoided (dogs that can’t hold their stance or are easily provoked by the moving birds in front of them, which in turn impedes the hunters’ advance). Partridges, when in danger, fly 300-600m from where they were standing and land again. That is why their flight path needs to be tracked.
We need to have good control over the dog so as to be able to regulate the search distance, especially when we know where the birds are. The families have a strong scent which makes them easy to find. It’s advisable, when hunting partridges, to try and break up the flock. Then they press to the ground longer and we can observe beautiful stances from the dogs.
This type of wing shooting in Bulgaria can last all day with a lot of ground covered with high tempo. That is why the hunter needs to be in good health.
Hares are one of the most popular species of game for Bulgarian hunters. Hare hunting is deeply enrooted in Bulgarian tradition.
There are two methods for hunting hares used in Bulgaria. One is on foot with pointing dogs, but the more preferred one is by driven hunt.
Usually flat, rolling and isolated patches of land are searched. Hares are hunted in groups, and the hunters usually align in a straight line within 6-10 paces of each other. During group hunts, safety precautions are of vital importance.
Shooting is only allowed in front of the hunter and behind them, while keeping in mind the position of the other participants in the hunt. Usually, plowed patches are searched, especially in windy conditions. The reason for this is that the hare lies down in a small burrow with its back to a big lump of dirt. This usually occurs during cold winter days.
Depending on the weather, hares can be encountered by the edge of fields and forests and in rolling terraced places, especially in rainy conditions. In these spots, the soil drains well and the hare can watch out for danger. They always choose high places (terraced hills, mounds, dams, etc.) for their burrows.
The dogs must work close to the hunters and, upon finding the hare, must freeze in a pointing stance in front of it. After the shot they must bring back the animal.
The hunters should be in good health due to the long treks in cold weather. A backpack is a must since each hunter carries their catch. Foreign hunters usually hunt with a guide and a carrier so this doesn’t always apply to them.
Goose hunting involves early mornings and very cold treks. This type of wing shooting in Bulgaria is effective while the birds are in flight in the morning and late afternoon.
In the morning the geese are stalked by the places they have rested at (big lakes and rivers). Places that offer a vantage point are chosen, allowing the hunters pick the birds off before they manage to climb beyond the hunters’ range. The best distance for shooting geese is about 30 to 40 m. This is a very resilient bird and that is why bigger pellets must be used (№ 1, № 0, № 2/0 and № 4/0).
In the late afternoon the geese can be stalked by the places they rest at overnight (big lakes and rivers), usually by the edge of the water. The use of goose calls is recommended in order to lure the birds in the desired direction. At dusk the shooting distance can range from 15 to 30 m.
The second way to hunt geese is at their feeding spots.These are fields with wheat crops still in the early stages of their growth, the main food source for the geese. After the field is chosen a hideout that blends in with its surroundings is constructed. The hideout can be set up some time before the hunt allowing the birds some time to get accustomed to its presence.
Decoys with and without spinning wings can be used as well as 3 artificial magpies and 50 to 100 static birds, mimicking a flock of feeding and resting geese. Other types of decoy birds can be used in order to create the illusion of a peaceful field. Shooting distance ranges between 15 to 30 m.
Hunters can use goose calls to direct the flocks to the desired spots and because the birds drop down from great heights the hunters must have patience and wait for them to come within range. Shooting is under the command of the guide (Now! etc.). These are powerful birds with good plumage. If shot at prematurely there is a chance to miss or wound the goose.
A retriever dog can be used. It must be well-disciplined and obey the command Stay! and must be kept inside the hideout. Geese hunts can last the entire day and the hunt itself is static and in cold weather.That is why heat insulating clothes, warm winter boots and neoprene socks are a must for this type of wing shooting in Bulgaria.
Big game hnting in Bulgari
The Balkan Chamois mostly inhabits the Rhodope and Rila mountains. The hunting areas in Bulgaria are usually over 1800 m, but in certain places even over 800 m and the stalking is easier than elsewhere. Female chamois have an average of 90 - 93 CIC points, the males about 103 - 106 CIC points. Hunting chamois in Bulgaria gives hunters a chance to get amazing trophies.
Wild Boar Hunting from a High Seat
Individually, wild boar hunting in Bulgaria is done from a high seat. During the summer period, the fur of the wild boar is short and rare (from May to October) and it is not as beautiful and impressive. The quality of the trophies shot down is high and the sizes range between 18 and 31 cm. The world record for wild boar trophy is in Bulgaria - 158.2 points CIC.
Roe deer are widely distributed throughout our country. Its population has gradually increased in the last few years. The average weight of male deer trophies is abound 300 to 500 g. However, specimens with a trophy weight more than 400 g are often shot.
From the end of spring until the beginning of autumn, the big game rests. Only roe buck hunting is allowed during this period. The best time for successful hunting is in May and June just before the forest trees rustle, and the grass has not grown too high. The rut is usually at the end of July.The most suitable time for roe deer hunting in Bulgaria is in May, when the season opens and in August, during the mating period.
In Bulgaria, the roe deer inhabits lowlands as well as mountains. The hunting method used here is stalking, which requires good preparation. However, waiting and stalking are worth if you want to acquire trophy with weight about 300 - 450 g in the mountainous hunting areas, and 400 - 550 g in the northeastern Bulgarian plains. Trophies of roe deer are symmetrical, with long and richly pearled antlers.
Red deer are the pride of Bulgaria's hunting reserves. Some of the best red deer trophies have been shot in Bulgaria.
Due to the rich natural biotope and proper care the population boasts very good trophy characteristics - mighty, beautifully symmet
- Jagd in Bulgarien
- BOOK YOUR HUNT IN BULGARIA
1. Благороден елен
Срокове на ловуване
- мъжки и приплоди - от 1 септември до 31 януари
- женски - от 1 октомври до 31 декември
- мъжки и приплоди - от 1 септември до 31 януари
- женски - от 1 октомври до 31 декември
Разпространение на благородния елен
Благородният елен се среща в Средна и Западна Европа, европейската част на Русия, Средна Азия, Далечния Изток и в някои други райони. У нас е повсеместно разпространен в планинската и равнинна част на страната. Според ловната статистика
числеността му възлиза на около 23 000 бр.
Общи сведения за благородния елен
Половият диморфизъм при благородният елен е силно изразен. По правило окраската на елена през лятото е червенокафява, а през зимата сиво кафява. Коремът, вътрешната страна на краката и около опашката са кално мръсно бели. Дължина на тялото
-165-250 сm. Височина при холката -100-150 сm. Дължина на опашката - 12-14 сm. Тегло - 100-450 kg. Женските са с от една четвърт, до една трета по-леки и нямат рога по време на размножителния период. Мъжкият сменя рогата си всяка година,
от март до края на април. При силните рогачи рогата опадват през февруари - март, а по-малките и по-слабите - през април - май. Новите рога израстват за около 4 месеца. При растежа те са покрити с добре кръвоносноснабдена кожица, която
след израстването на рогата изсъхва. През юли август рогачите търкат рогата си по дърветата и обелват сухата кожа (ликото). Падането на рогата се предизвиква от рязка промяна в нивата на различните хормони в кръвта. То е съпроводено
с леко кървене и отваряне на рана, която зараства много бързо. На едногодишните екземпляри рогата са много малки и недоразвити, имат едно, максимум две разклонения, на втората година могат да бъдат вече шест. С възрастта рогата стават
все по-големи, мощни и разклонени. Максимум се достига около десетата година, когато разклоненията им могат да достигнат 24 или повече на брой, тогава е оптималната възраст за отстрелване на капитални трофеи. Когато животното започне
да остарява, рогата започват да намаляват размера си. Женските (кошутите) са без рога.
Начин на живот и хранене на благородния елен
Елените се хранят привечер, през нощта и рано сутрин. В тихите и спокойни места за кратко време пасат и през деня, а през останалото време почиват и преживят. Те използват растителна храна - трева, листа и клонки от дървесни и храстови
видове, културни растения, жълъди, горски семена и плодове. През зимата с охота се хранят с къпини, малини, зеленика, трепетлика, ива и др. Някои елени се пристрастяват и белят кора от младите дръвчета. Обикновено елените живеят на
малки стада, съставени само от мъжки или женски индивиди, които се смесват само в размножителния период. Те са слабо привързани към определена територия и често странстват на големи разстояния. Въпреки големите си, със заострени шипове
и крайно опасни рога, когато са заплашени и мъжките и женските се защитават удряйки силно с предните си копита и не са редки случаите на тежко пострадал хищник след опит за нападение над кошута с малко. Благородният елен, понякога
обича да се валя в кал, което не е характерно за другите видове от семейство Плътнороги. Кошутите, теленцата и част от младите рогачи прекарват зимата на стада, които се разпадат през пролетта, преди раждането на малките. Останалите
мъжкари прекарват зимата и лятото сами или на групи.
Размножаване на благородния елен
Кошутите са полово зрели на 2 години, а мъжките са полово зрели и годни да оплождат след 3-та година, но участват реално в размножаването след като навършат 5-6 години, когато са в състояние да се преборят за женската. Брачният период
на елена започва към 20-25 август в по-южните и по-топли райони, а в планинските места - през първата половина на септември и продължава около един месец. Силните рогачи събират около себе си 4-5, а понякога и повече кошути, които
ревниво пазят, докато ги оплодят. По време на сватбуването мъжките реват, като особено активен е ревът им сутрин и привечер. През брачния период рогачите почти не се хранят, а само пият вода и се калят, поради което отслабват много.
След сватбуването мъжкарите се оттеглят в глухи места, започват да се хранят интензивно и бързо се подготвят за зимата. Женските, когато раждат се отделят за известно време от стадото и след това отново се присъединяват. Бременността
на кошутите продължава около 8 месеца (240-250 дни) и в края на май и началото на юни те раждат по 1, рядко по 2 теленца, които бързо укрепват и след няколко дни вече могат да следват майка си. Неприятели на елените са вълците, чакалите,
лисиците и рядко мечките и подивели кучета. Теленцата могат да станат жертва и на някои от едрите грабливи птици.
Стопанско значение на благородния елен
Благородният елен е ценен ловен обект, за който се полагат грижи и се поддържа популацията му. Обикновено са разрешени за лов единствено мъжкарите и то само за кратък определен период. Изключение прави подборния лов, който цели да поддържа
доброто състояние на популацията и качеството на наследствения материал. Ловният трофей са рогата му. В България е отстрелян световният рекорд на трофей от благороден елен, с оценка 273,6 точки по CIC. Страната притежава 15 трофеи
с оценка над 250 т. по CIC. Десет от първите 20 трофеи в света са български. Предлагат се трофейни екземпляри с тегло на рогата от 7 до 14 kg.
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Разпространение на елена лопатар
Еленът-лопатар произхожда от средиземноморските острови, откъдето е бил разселен по изкуствен начин в много европейски страни. У нас е аклиматизиран преди около 70 години, но на свобода се развъжда през последните 25-30 години. Понастоящем
се среща почти повсеместно. Числеността му у нас е около 50 000 бр.
Общи сведения за елена лопатар
Еленът-лопатар е получил името си от лопатовидната форма на рогата си. Значително по-дребен е от благородния елен. Тялото му е набито и дебело, а краката са относително къси. Рогачът достига на дължина 130-140 сm и височина - 85-90 сm,
тежи около 80-90 kg. Женската е по-малка и достига на тегло 35-50 kg. Козината му през лятото е ръждивочервена, изпъстрена с кръгли бели петна от двете страни, главата отгоре и страните са кафеникави, а коремът и вътрешната страна
на краката бели. Огледалото е също така бяло и е оградено с черна ивица. През зимата козината е еднообразно сиво-кафява. Често се срещат изцяло бели и черни екземпляри. Линее през април и октомври. Първите рога на елена-лопатар, които
израстват през втората година, са шиловидни без розетка, а вторите рога, които израстват, след като е навършил три години, имат лопатовидно разширение към върха. През следващите години лопатата расте на дължина, след което се увеличават
ширината и масата на рогата. Нормално израсналият лопатар има добре развити очни и средни шипове. Рогата достигат максималните си размери към 10-12-годишна възраст. Еленът-лопатар ги сменя всяка година през април-май. Новите рога израстват
бързо и към края на август или началото на септември са с нормална големина и напълно оформени. На тежина достигат 3-4 kg.
Начин на живот и хранене на елена лопатар
Еленът-лопатар обитава равнинните широколистни и смесени гори. Оптимални условия за неговото развитие са крайбрежията с по-топъл и влажен климат. В такива места той развива едро тяло и мощни рога. Подходящ е за развъждане в паркове. Изкачва
се и в планините, където има изобилие на поляни и разнообразна тревна, храстова и дървесна растителност. Избягва северните изложения, сенчестите места и районите с дебела снежна покривка Силно е привързан към местообитанията си, но
при липса на храна и вода, както и през сватбения период предприема странствания. Силните мъжки екземпляри се движат най-често сами. Еленът-лопатар не се каля. На паша излиза както през деня, така и през нощта. Към храната си е невзискателен,
храни се с трева, листа на дървета и храсти, различни гъби и горски плодове. По-доверчив е от благородния елен. Има силно обоняние и зрение. Бяга по-бавно, поради което трудно се спасява от неприятели. Най-големият неприятел на елена-лопатар
е вълкът, а на места овчарските и скитащите кучета. Лисицата и чакалът нападат теленцата.
Размножаване при елена лопатар
Сватбеният период започва от средата на октомври и продължава до края на ноември. Бременността трае около 240-250 дни. През юни женската ражда 1-2 малки, които през първите няколко дни са безпомощни.
Стопанско значение на елена лопатар
Еленът-лопатар у нас се е развъждал в парковете като декоративен вид, но през последните двадесет години се разселва масово и като обект на лов. Причинява щети на горското и селското стопанство. Особено вреди на декоративната растителност
в парковете. Месото му е вкусно, а рогата са ценен трофей. Национален рекорд за страната е 208,59 т. по СIС. Предлагат се трофейни екземпляри с тегло на рогата от 3 до 5 kg.