Audit of hunting grounds points to non-transparency of processes and clientelism

Bratislava, May 5, 2023 – The rules for hunting in state areas need to be modified and clarified. The current legislation is ambiguous and there is room for circumventing it and non-transparent actions, which in the past enabled selected people to get into hunting grounds more easily and without public competitions, this emerged from an audit of the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) of the Slovak Republic focused on the system of renting hunting grounds in period 2018 to 2021. "The audit confirmed deficiencies in the management of state lands during hunting, as well as the abuse of the sale of game shooting in state areas to circumvent the transparent process of selecting the user of the hunting area, while the sale itself ultimately had the character of a long-term lease or use of the area," stressed the vice-president of the SAO, Jaroslav Ivančo. "The sale of shooting in state areas for a period of more than 10 years and later amendments to the contracts confirmed that the goal was actually the use of the area. The sale of the shooting and the hunting guest thus became a long-term guest," explained the vice president of auditors.

The audit further showed that Lesy (Forests) SR did not have a documented process for selecting hunting grounds and selling off game shooting. The evaluation criteria of the areas and the amount of compensation for their use or the shooting of game were not adequate, the members of the selection commissions did not justify the assigned points. The SAO audited a sample of 20 districts in which the sale of game shooting was entered. The shortcomings of the entire system are also documented by the fact that in one of the areas the contract for the sale of the right to shoot game was signed for more than 30 years, in two cases the game shooting was sold even without a decision of the evaluation commission. The sale of game shooting as a form of hunting began to be applied to a greater extent in Slovakia after the approval of the Hunting Development Concept from November 2017, the argument being its economic advantage. Since March 2020, the sale of game shooting has been suspended by the administrator of state lands, precisely because of its lack of transparency.

The full text of the press release about this issuin Slovak language is available here. Use the Google icon in the top bar for automatic translation.