Hunting in Portugal

Information on hunting in Portugal: permits, the season, restricted areas...

Game is hunted all over Portugal with the most popular places being the Alentejo and Ribatejo regions, where hunting can be with hounds and horses.

Favoured areas for partridge are in the extreme north in Trás-os-Montes and in the Algarve. Rabbit hunting is popular around the Douro valley and hare in Ribatejo and the Alentejo.

Quail is hunted in the Minho and Sesimbra, and ducks in Leziria and the Algarve.

A licence is needed to hunt in Portugal. A hunting license is valid from 1st June to 31st May each season.

Comprehensive information is available on these three popular Portuguese hunting organization websites:

Legislation governing hunting and the bearing of firearms in Portugal also require the following;

  1. Minors who are 16 or under may not hunt with firearms even under the supervision of an adult following a number of accidents (2009).
  2. Anyone who has more than TWO firearms at home must keep them in a safe or strongbox (2008).
  3. Hunters travelling in vehicles as passengers and carrying firearms are no longer liable under law to undergo an alcohol test if stopped by the police (2009).

Documents Needed for Hunting

  • Passport or identity card
  • Hunting licence (Licença de Caça)
  • Hunting permit (Carta do Caçador)
  • Firearms licence (Licença de Uso e Porte de Arma)
  • Hunting dog licence (Licença dos Cães) (if applicable)
  • Under 18 authorisation (Autorização Escrita do Representante Legal quando Menor) (if applicable). Minors who are 16 or under may not hunt under new legislation.
  • Fowl shooting permit (Título de Registo de Aves de Presa) (if applicable)
  • Hunting insurance (Seguro de Caçador): hunters using firearms must be insured to a minimum of €100,000; all other hunters must be insured to a minimum of €9,975. Typical annual insurance costs 30 Euros.

Hunting Licences in Portugal

There are two basic types of licence:

  • General hunting licence (Licença de Caça Geral)
  • Special licences for aquatic species and game hunting (Licença Especial de Caça Grossa e Aquatica)

Different licences are issued depending on where and what the person wishes to hunt:

  • National licence (Licença Nacional)
  • Regional licence (Licença Regional)
  • Non-resident's licence (Licença para não residents em território Português)
  • Big game licence (Licença Especial de Casca Grossa Maior)
  • Water fowl licence (Licença de aves aquáticas)

The licence can be obtained from the local regional Forestry department.

Applying for a licence

To get a licence, hunters must pass a theory and practical exam to hunt in their own country or in Portugal. Both of these exams are overseen by the ICNF and are held all year round. Candidates can get application forms from the local town council (Câmara Municipal) where they are resident. Under recent law, licences are valid up to the age of 65 and then must be renewed every five years and require a health certificate (Atestado Medico).

To prepare for this exam, candidates have to undergo an obligatory training course. Candidates may not take the practical exam until they have passed the theory exam and must be over 16 years old on the day of the theory exam.

The period of enrolling (Inscrição) to undertake the exams in the normal season (Época Normal) is between 1 October and 31 December.

The period of enrolling out of season (Época Especial) is between 1 April and 15 May.

Application procedure

Candidates should contact the Portuguese Hunting Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Tiro com Armas de Caça), or one of the other two main hunting organizations listed above, which will inform them of available dates for training sessions for both the theory and practical exam. Once training is complete either the hunter or the club to which they belong sends the form to The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests.

The following documents are required to apply for an exam:

  • Original and photocopy (back and front pages) of passport and/or identity card
  • Registration fee sent via registered mail (Correio Registado) to the ICNF accompanied by a cheque or postal order (Vale Postal) made out to the ICNF
  • Photocopy of any other existing hunting licence
  • Residency card (Documento Comprovativo de Residência no Portugal for candidates living in Portuguese territory; O Estangeiro when the candidate lives elsewhere)
  • The exam must be applied for from the ICNF or online 

The candidate will then be notified (with at least two weeks warning) of the place and time of the exams.

The exam

The theory exam (Provas Téorico) includes a number of questions based on the following themes:

  • knowledge of wildlife: recognising game and protected species, animal biology and their way of life
  • knowledge of hunting: different hunting techniques, knowledge and use of hunting dogs (Cães de Caça), and hunting vocabulary
  • knowledge of the rules and laws: concerning hunting laws and nature protection (Legislação Cinegética)
  • knowledge of arms and munitions: how to use them safely and security rules
  • knowledge of hunting birds: the biology of birds, their importance to the ecosystem, rules and techniques

To pass the exam, candidates must have a minimum of 75 percent correct answers and must have replied correctly to all the questions on security. The certificate is issued by inspectors of the ICNF. There have been some complaints to consumer watchdogs because the various parts of the exam can be held over four different dates per annum. Hunting groups want these consolidated on one date.

The practical exam (Prova de Tiro) can only be taken once the candidate has passed the theory exam. Following the theory exam the candidate has 18 months to pass the practical exam which has three parts which can be taken on different dates:

  • Simulation of hunting and shooting with blanks
  • Target shooting test, with black targets representing species that may be hunted and red targets representing species that may not be hunted
  • Shooting a moving target (maximum of six projectiles at a distance of not more than 30 metres)

Any dangerous behaviour will lead to automatic failure of the exam.

Once training is complete and both exams have been passed the Hunting Federation sends the application form to the ICNF.

Permit to Hunt

The permit to hunt (Carta de Caçador) is issued in Portugal and contains and acts as proof of the following data:

  • Insurance
  • Hunting licence
  • Identity card / passport details
  • Dog licence (if applicable)
  • Fire Arms Licence
  • Written authority of parents or guardians in case of a minor over 16 but under 18. Minors who are 16 or under may not be involved in hunting activities involving firearms of any type.

It entitles those with a hunting licence to hunt within a particular district at permitted seasons and times. The hunting permit can be obtained from

Hunting Species and Seasons

The hunting season of migratory species is from August to the end of February (subject to change by the ICNF).

Hunting season of sedentary species is potentially all year, depending on ICNF decrees. Certain species (wild boar, deer, roe deer and Muflão) can be hunted year-round, though only certain hunting techniques may be used at certain times.

The specific hunting rules and fees vary depending on the area.

Weapons Used in Hunting

  • Single or double barrelled shotguns within the Light Firearms for Hunting group of weapons (Armas de Fogo Ligeiras de Caça)
  • Hunting rifles (Espingardas) are usually termed as Caçadeiras and use special cartridge pellets (Cartuchos não de balas)
  • Larger shotguns with telescopic sights are used for hunting big game; these use bullets (Cartuchos de balas)
  • Archery with bow and arrow (Arcos e Flechas para Tiro)

Arms in Circulation and the European Firearm Licence

The European Firearms Licence allows hunters to go on hunting trips in all EU countries. The practice of hunting in Portugal by Portuguese or foreign non-residents who are holders of a valid EU member country hunting licence and European Firearms Licence is conditional on the validation of these documents under the rules applying to the delivery of a hunting licence in Portugal.

The European Firearms Licence allows hunters to hunt in Portugal with their own weapons registered on their European Firearms Licence, and without following any other formalities except those considered mandatory in Portugal (which means the presentation of the valid documents). The licence is valid for 5 years.

Before going on a hunting trip it is wise to verify that the arms being taken are actually authorised for use in Portugal. Contact the Portuguese Hunting Federation, the National Confederation of Portuguese Hunters or the Portuguese Embassy in the country of origin.

The allowance for EU hunters is: three arms of the 5th Category and 100 cartridges per arm. All foreign hunters must be able to prove that they are travelling for hunting purposes via an invitation from a Portuguese hunting organisation or club and by showing the European Firearms Licence.

Hunters outside the EU can bring in two sporting arms that are classified in Portugal in the 5th Category and 100 cartridges per firearm.

Note: Since terror attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 and other terrorist scares in the US and Europe, airlines may have stricter prohibitions regarding carrying firearms on board planes. Check with the airline or appropriate Embassy for conditions and requirements.

Further Information