Wildfowl and wildfowling in Bulgaria

Nikolai Boev


Bulgaria is not very important as a breeding place for wildfowl, because it is too far south, but large numbers stop there on passage in autumn and early spring and considerable numbers remain through the winter in milder years. The drainage of marshes has greatly reduced the habitat available and the construction of hydro-electric reservoirs has done little to offset the losses. The number of wildfowlers in Bulgaria has risen from 36,000 in 1939-40 to 68,000 in 1945-46 and 100,000 in 1964. The kill has fallen from 128,000 ducks and 11,000 geese in 1939-40 to 126,000 ducks and 12,400 geese in 1945-46 and to only 25-30,000 ducks and 4-5,000 geese annually at the present time. In efforts to restore the position the shooting season has been shortened - it is now 1st September to 25th March - and a bag limit of ten ducks and three geese introduced. Further restrictions may be necessary, in conjunction with efforts in other countries. Shooting techniques are described. The keeping of Ruddy Shelduck in semi-domestication was formerly widespread, but the species has decreased greatly. Only five species nest regularly in Bulgaria: the Greylag Goose, Mallard, Garganey, White-eye and Red-crested Pochard. The Greylag has decreased seriously and none of the others are increasing.

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