Every year hunters take to the mountains of Valais in search of deer and chamois for two weeks. The hunt is a highly regulated and well planned exercise with clear targets.
The canton’s hunting authority sets annual hunting targets, part of a system of regulating wild fauna. This year the target is 1,800 red deer, 1,500 roe deer and 2,700 chamois. The number of hunters in Valais is around 2,400.
Deer like to eat the shoots of young trees. 87% of the canton’s forests are designated as protective woodlands and the authorities want to give young trees a chance in the face of aging forests. When there are too many deer young trees don’t stand much of a chance of making it beyond infancy.
1,800 red deer represents around one third of a total population of 5,200. Last year, during the hunting season 1,600 were shot, insufficient to stabilise the population. This meant another special hunt was needed to bring the number up.
Regarding chamois, the target this year is 2,700 out of around 20,000, and for roe deer, this year’s target is 1,500 out of a total population of 5,000.
In the canton of Graubunden in eastern Switzerland, hunting started at the beginning of September. 5,300 hunters there shot a record 5,370 deer.
Hunting requires a permit. These cost up to CHF 1,420 if you live in Valais, up to CHF 3,555 if you live in another Swiss canton, and up to CHF 5,750 if you live abroad. Valais’ deer hunting season runs from 18 to 30 September 2017.
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Hunting information on the canton of Valais’ website (in French)