A society representing hunters in Estonia has appealed to the Ministry of the Interior to lift a bar on night-vision devices (NVDs)
on weapons, to facilitate the night hunting of wild boar in particular.
Under the current, relevant legislation, night sights are forbidden for civilian use, though the Ministry of the Interior says it has agreed to discuss the hunters' proposals.
The main factor behind the request, from the huntsmen's society (Jahimeeste selts) is a fear of African swine fever (ASF), outbreaks of which were detected in Estonia in 2020 and 2021, while the move would aid in combatting other diseases carried by animals, as well as eradicating species "alien" to Estonia, the huntsmen said.
Sven Põierpaas, adviser to the interior ministry's department of law enforcement and criminal policy, told ERR that there are no serious concerns relating to the illegal use of NVDs at present, meaning that they are not opposed to the idea, and are open to discussing the matter with the hunters' representative body.
Põierpaas qualified this by noting that there might be ethical hunting issues which need discussing, adding that NVDs should never be used in mere trophy hunting.
"Based on the preliminary assessment, the use of night sights can be regulated more precisely in the future by the Hunting Act or legislation issued on the basis thereof. Finding the best legal solution is one of the goals of the discussions that will begin," he added.
The hunters' request would not include deer and elk, though hunters on Saarema also added jackals to the list – while it might seem outlandish to readers, golden jackals have indeed been found in Estonia over the past decade – and other species have been suggested from some quarters.
The proposal was signed by the agricultural chamber of commerce (Põllumajandus-kaubanduskoda), the farm owners' central union (Talupidajate keskliit) and the Riigikogu's hunters' support group, as well as the main hunter's union.
The interior ministry has recently looked at other proposals from hunters, including permission to use silencers on weapons – also currently banned to civilians.
Editor: Andrew Whyte