Hunting in Russia

Hunting in Russia has an old tradition in terms of indigenous people, while the original features of state and princely economy were farming and cattle-breeding. There was hunting for food as well as sport. The word "hunting" ("охота", okhota) first appeared in the common Russian language at the end of the 15th century. Before that the word "catchings" ("ловы", lovy) existed to designate the hunting business in general. The hunting grounds were called in turn lovishcha ("ловища"). In the 15th-16th centuries, foreign ambassadors were frequently invited to hunts; they also received some of the prey afterwards. So did Feodor I in particular, once sending out nine elks, one bear and a black-and-brown fox.

The right of using the hunting grounds in Russia was once granted to every social class. The right of the nobility was even sometimes limited by agreements with others regarding hunting grounds. The hawkers and separate persons who dealt with hounds, beavers, black grouses, hares, etc. were permitted either on the landed properties, or on territories specified by local people. Though the Russian Orthodox clergy once disapproved the hunting, these persons were authorized to eat and feed their horses, hounds and falcons on others' account or even demand participation in hunting.

The Russian imperial hunts evolved from hunting traditions of early Russian rulers (Grand Princes and Tsars), under the influence of hunting customs of European royal courts. The imperial hunts were organized mainly in Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo and Gatchina.

During the soviet rule, state-sponsored hunting clubs were formed within the administrative boundaries or factories. Hunting clubs based in cities were allocated hunting grounds where club members were allowed to hunt according the federal and local regulations. Following demise of the Soviet Union private individuals were allowed to lease hunting territories formerly used by government sponsored clubs. Many lease owners are wealthy Russians who are willing to spend large sums of money in order to maintain leased hunting grounds for their pleasure and sometimes to allow other hunters to use their territories for a fee. As a result, the quality and quantity of the game increased dramatically during the past 20 years in most parts of Russia. During the Soviet Union time, a single agency called "Glavohota" was granted an authority to conduct hunts for the foreign hunters. Nowadays many outfitters and booking agents organize hunting trips for the foreigners. The inevitable competition between such companies improved quality of hunts and brought down the prices which used to be extremely high.

Read more about Hunting In Russia:  Hunting With Hounds, Hunting Birds, Walrus

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