Traces of Hunting in Switzerland

Although our ancestors were still hunting cave bears and cave lions in Switzerland 200,000 years ago, today hunters will
have to be content with deer and stag. From no restrictions on how and how many animals could be caught, a strictly regulated form of hunting has evolved.

From hunters and gatherers of the Lower Palaeolithic Era (until about 110000 BCE), mankind has gone from users of animals to competitors among the biggest meat eaters in the world.

Also in the territory of what is today Switzerland, hunting lost its place in meaning in the Neolithic Era (5500–2200 BCE) to cattle breeding. Social differences and the ownership of land played an increasing role in the granting of hunting rights. With that, it lost its useful character and became increasingly a sport-oriented activity of leisure, as in the “Art of the Hunt”.

Around 1500 CE it was in the hands of the ruling class and already regulated through numerous mandates and edicts. Hunting bans and closed seasons were inscribed into law and, with the invention of the firearm, the implementation of certain weapons and aides were regulated.

With the collapse of the Ancien Régime (around 1798), which fraternities and game wardens had known, fundamental changes in the ways and means of hunting took place. With democratisation, there was rapidly increasing pressure on game stocking such that, in 1803, the cantons began to intervene legislatively. After 1876, with the first federal legislation regarding hunting and bird protection, a basic legal principal was created for all of Switzerland, which still today legally stipulated patent (license) and district (leasing) hunting. The 20th century was the time of an incremental restriction of hunting, the dramatic decline in natural space, and also the strengthening of hoofed game stocking as
well as the migration and reestablishment of species, which had been killed off.