Hunting in Bulgaria

Find out about shooting seasons, regulations, and getting a hunting licence in Bulgaria...

Hunting and fishing are highly regulated in Bulgaria in terms of species that may be hunted and the requirements for those wishing to hunt or fish.

Hunting Permits

A licence is required to hunt. Applicants must undergo a number of tests (theoretical and practical) before obtaining a permit for possession of a weapon and a permit to hunt. It is illegal to hunt without a valid licence. Weapons licences must be renewed every three years and hunting licences must be renewed each year.

There are two types of hunting licence in Bulgaria:

  1. Hunting licence for general hunting (????? ????? ?? ???)
  2. Hunting licence for selective hunting (????? ????? ?? ????????/?????????? ???)

A licence for general hunting is required before obtaining a licence for selective hunting.

Species Hunted in Bulgaria

Numerous species are hunted in Bulgaria, including pheasant, capercaillies, badger and wild yak.

Hunting Seasons

The general hunting season is usually shorter than the selective hunting season.

Some species can be hunted throughout the year, regardless of the type of licence held; these include predators such as: wolves, foxes, jackals, stone martens and polecat.

  • The European wildcat season is from the beginning of October until the end of February
  • In general, most game birds can be hunted from the beginning of October until the end of January
  • Big game, such as red deer and wild boar, can only be hunted from 1 September until 31 December

Selective shooting is only allowed in specified areas called State Breeding Farms (???????? ??????????? ??????????). These are state-owned and selective hunting is practiced there by both Bulgarian hunters and foreign hunters.

Hunting Licences

General hunting

Applicants for a hunting licence in Bulgaria must be at least 18 years old, hold an invitation from a local hunting club and pass the required theory and practical exams.

The process for obtaining a hunting licence in Bulgaria is:

  • Obtain an invitation from a local hunting club
  • Register for a course in hunting
  • On completion of the course, successfully pass the theoretical and practical exams in hunting
  • Once the exams are successfully completed, receive two documents: a membership card from the local hunting club and a permit to hunt in Bulgaria by the local office of the State Forestry Agency (???????? ??????? ?? ??????)
  • File in an application at the Control of Hazardous Weapons Department (??????? ?? ???????????? ????????) at the local police station for two permits; a permit for purchasing a hunting weapon (?????????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????) and a permit for possession of a hunting weapon (?????????? ?? ?????? ?? ??????)

The general hunting exam includes a theoretical section which tests:

  • the hunter’s knowledge of wildlife (animal biology, protected species and their way of life etc.)
  • knowledge of laws and legal regulations
  • knowledge of game breeding
  • knowledge of hunting (techniques, group hunting, vocabulary, etc.)
  • knowledge of weapons and munitions
  • knowledge of hunting dogs and proper use of dogs
  • knowledge of game diseases
  • knowledge of first aid techniques

The practical exam is a test of shooting skills.

Selective hunting

Successful completion of a course in selective hunting allows the licence-holder to selectively shoot game in State Breeding Farms (???????? ??????????? ??????????). The selective hunting exam includes a theory section and an interview with the applicant.

Knowledge of big game is the major focus of the test, as is the hunter’s knowledge of the weapons used in selective hunting.

Foreigners Hunting in Bulgaria

The State Forestry Agency issues and renews licences to foreign applicants who hold a long-stay visa. The following documentation is required:

  • A completed application form
  • Identification documents
  • A hunting licence issued in Bulgaria or the applicant’s country of origin (if applicable)
  • A photograph of the applicant
  • A receipt for paid fees

If the resident foreigner doesn’t already hold a hunting licence, then they need to complete the theory and practical hunting exam and get a permit for a weapon. Check with the local State Forestry Agency to find out if it possible to do the exams with a translator/interpreter.

The State Forestry Agency can issue a licence valid for one month to foreigners with a short-stay visa if the applicant can provide a valid hunting licence from their country of origin.

  • For a complete list of local State Forestry Agency offices: Click here

On arrival in Bulgaria for a hunting trip, the following documents must be presented at Customs:

  • Personal identification documents
  • A permit to carry a hunting weapon, issued in the country of permanent residence
  • A hunting licence, issued in the country of permanent residence

Any imported hunting weapon must be declared and two copies of the declaration completed with the manufacturer, the calibre and the identification number of the weapon. The two copies of the declaration are given to the Customs officer, who checks the weapon and certifies the validity of the declaration. One of the copies of the declaration stays within the Border Control Point and the hunter must carry the other one with their identification documents.

The State Breeding Farms provide all necessary export documents for the export of trophies:

  • An evaluation, issued by the State Trophy Evaluation Commission
  • Method of payment
  • A veterinary certificate
  • A customs declaration or simple customs declaration
  • CITES - for species included in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna
  • An invoice