Use of night sights in hunting legalised

Asociatyvi nuotr.

The Seimas has decided to override the veto of the President of the Republic, Gitanas Nausėda, and to adopt the amendments to the Hunting Law on the use of night sights in hunting without amendments. 75 members of the Seimas voted in favour of the decision (No XIVP-3271 GR), 39 against and 10 abstained. The Committee on Rural Affairs proposed to the Seimas to override the veto of the Head of State.

On 13 December 2023, the Seimas adopted amendments to the Law on Hunting, which introduced a number of prohibited and permitted tools and equipment for hunting.

According to the adopted amendments, it was agreed to allow the use of night sights or accessories attached to optical sights for hunting deer, foxes, mongooses, me&scaron, martens, mink, nutria and muskrats in the hunting season. The hunting of other animals with night sights will be prohibited.

According to the drafters of the proposal, the limited use of night sights will contribute to a more effective enforcement of the principles of animal welfare and will allow a more effective fight against African swine fever. The re-adopted law will enter into force on 1 May 2024.

Member of the European Parliament Audrius Petrošius called to follow the long-established path taken by neighbouring and Western countries and to allow the use of technological means.

Hunting is about the state's need to regulate the animal population, hunters are entrusted with the function of regulating the population, and we must provide all the tools that the community needs. Hunters are also about the ethics of hunting and about certain traditions, which are certainly not lacking here," the parliamentarian said at the parliamentary session.

The head of the šalies, who vetoed the amendments, believes that the motives for the adoption of the law are not strong enough, and the legal regulation introduced may lead to unjustified impoverishment of wildlife.

„It is possible to stop the spread of African swine fever by hunting female deer and thus reducing the size of the deer population, but the current legal framework also provides the necessary preconditions for this.

The hunting of deer is not limited either by the hunting season or by the number of deer hunted," Agnė Jakstienė, advisor to the President of the Republic, told the Seimas meeting. She also pointed out that although the use of night sights in hunting is legal in a number of European Union Member States, in most countries the use of night sights is based on an individual permit.

„The authorisation for the use of night sights provided for in the Law is formulated on the basis of a general authorisation rather than on an individual basis. That is, the šis clause, išbyšseparating the classes of animals allowed to be hunted as specified therein, does not provide for any restrictive conditions for the use of night sights, “, − noted the Adviser to the President of the Republic.

The use of hunting šguns with night sights for the purpose of protecting the country would not be an effective means of defending the country against armed attack, she argued;the use of night-sighted firearms in hunting is not identical to the use of šious means in wartime, where the targets are not wild animals, but troops, military equipment and other objects belonging to the armed forces.