Hunting proclamations, regulations and legislation in South Africa differ from province to province. Therefore, it is very important that hunters understand and observe these legal obligations and not inadvertently break the law. The old saying applies – “Ignorance of the law is no excuse!”
Each province publishes its hunting regulations in the Government Gazette. SAHGCA advises hunters to study the detail of the regulations pertaining to each province as published in the Government Gazette very carefully. The most recent proclamations are available here.
Hunters should take note that the term permit might also refers to the letter that the landowner gives to hunters in which he grants permission to hunt game on his farm and to transport the meat. This letter, which must be signed by both the landowner and the hunter, should not be confused with the hunting permits that conservation authorities issue. It is a prerequisite for the landowner or his authorised representative to issue the permission letter to the hunter before the hunt commences. Hunters must carry these letters with them during the hunt and when transporting game meat. An example of such a letter is available here.
Landowners of exempted farms, also referred to in some provinces as adequately enclosed farms, must include the number that appears on the farm’s exemption permit, on the permission letter that they give to hunters. SA Hunters recommend that a copy of the farm’s registration or exemption permit be provided to hunters as well.
A hunting licence is a document that hunters buy from the provinces and that authorises the hunting of ordinary or common game on specified properties during a proclaimed open season. This might include both game and gamebird species.
A permit is usually required to hunt out of season or to hunt protected game and other species. Some provinces refer to these documents as licences while others refer to them as permits.
Exempted or adequately enclosed farms
In Gauteng, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo hunters may hunt on exempted farms without a licence, provided they have written permission from the landowner; and they hunt exempted species according to the conditions stipulated on the permit.
In the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, hunters must always have a hunting licence, whether they hunt on an exempted farm or not. In some instances, landowners and their relatives are exempted from provincial hunting licences.
Hunting licences/permits are always required when hunting protected game and game birds. The cost, conditions and availability of hunting licences vary during and outside the hunting season and from province to province.
Exempted farms/adequately enclosed farms
Landowners can apply for exemption from the relevant authority if the farm complies with certain conditions, such as proper fencing, property size, etc. The landowner is issued with a permit that allows hunting and other game management practices according to specific conditions.
NB: some species, such as gamebirds, are never added to the list of exempted species. Therefore, a hunter must always be in possession of a licence/permit when hunting common/ordinary gamebirds.
On open farms, hunting is usually allowed during the hunting season only and with the appropriate hunting licence. Bag limits apply.
Open and closed season
Provinces publish proclamations in the Government Gazette to announce the dates, times and conditions for hunting that apply to that province. Open or hunting season for hunting is usually from May to August (it may differ from province to province) and according to species.
A hunter does not need a hunting licence to hunt on an exempted farm, but must obtain written permission from the landowner to hunt. He must carry this permission letter while hunting and transporting hunted game.
Game farmers must apply for exemption at the Nature Conservation offices of Limpopo Province. The game rancher or his manager must grant the hunter written permission to remove the meat from the farm. SA Hunters recommends that a copy of the exemption permit is also given to the hunter, although it is not a requirement.
A veterinary transport permit is required to transport wild pig meat. These permits are available from some landowners or from the state veterinarian in the district where the hunt takes place.
During the open season, a licence is compulsory for hunting common gamebirds on open and exempted farms. Bag limits apply. A hunter may apply for a permit to hunt outside the proclaimed season. Please note that the Rock pigeon/Speckled pigeon is classified as common game for which a licence is required.
Hunters must have both a statutory hunting licence/permit and written permission to hunt. Hunters may only hunt proclaimed open species during a proclaimed open season. Bag limits apply.
Hunting licences are available from service centres of the Directorate for Wildlife Trade and Regulation. All hunting licences (including licences for game birds) are available here.
The same rules apply as for Limpopo Province.
Gauteng proclaims an open hunting season for gamebirds only. Bird hunting licences are available from Gauteng Conservation (011 240 3043 or 012 316 1638) offices as well as the SA Hunters’ offices at Inyathi Park, Pretoria (012 808 9300). The hunting of fur game is handled on an ad hoc basis and individual permits are issued. The Department will be launching an online application system, which should streamline the process. SA Hunters will provide the link as soon as the system is functional.
During the open season, a licence is compulsory for hunting common gamebirds on open and exempted farms. Bag limits apply. Outside the proclaimed season, a hunter may apply for a permit. Please note that the Rock pigeon/Speckled pigeon is classified as common game and requires a hunting licence.
The same rules apply as for Limpopo Province.
Each year, the landowner must apply for a quota of game to be hunted. The Department of Nature Conservation supplies a hunting permit booklet to the farm owner that he can use to issue hunting permits to hunters. Licences must be carried at all times during the hunting trip.
Open seasons with applicable daily bag limits are proclaimed for gamebirds only. Hunters must have a licence/permit to hunt common gamebirds on open and exempted farms, during the open season only. Bag limits apply. It is important to note that most doves and pigeons are classified as common game for which a hunting licence is required. Hunters can apply for a permit to hunt outside the proclaimed season.
The Department plans to launch an online application system, which should streamline the process.
|Office||Tel No||Office||Tel No|
|Mafikeng/ Marico/ Zeerust-gebied||018 388 1169||Potchefstroom/Klerksdorp/ Wolmaransstad/ Bloemhof||018 299 6648|
|Rustenburg / Brits/ Swartruggens||014 597 0474||Vryburg / Schweizer/ Stella/ Pomfret||053 928 0640|
The same rules apply as for Limpopo
Hunters must obtain a special veterinary permit to hunt on farms adjacent to Kruger National Park or any other area where foot and mouth disease occurs.
For more information, phone Mpumalanga Parks Board (013 759 5336) or the State veterinarian closest to the farm where you will be hunting.
Open farms (only during hunting season)
During the open season a licence is compulsory for hunting common gamebirds on open and exempted farms. Bag limits apply. Outside of the proclaimed season, a hunter can apply for a permit. Please note that the Rock Pigeon/Speckled Pigeon is classified as common game and requires a licence.
Hunting licences are available during office hours at:
|Office||Tel No||Office||Tel No|
|Ermelo||017 819 2827 083 627 0991||Nelspruit||013 759 5386|
|Middelburg||013 282 8671||Komatipoort Malelane||836 266 319|
|Lydenburg||013 235 2395|
Hunting licences are required for the hunting of all classified game, even on an adequately enclosed property (the equivalent of exempted properties in other provinces). Hunters must have permits to hunt protected game, as well as permits to hunt outside of the proclaimed open season.
Hunting licences are compulsory when hunting game birds. Daily bag limits apply as prescribed in the annual hunting proclamation. The Rock pigeon/Speckled pigeon is not classified as common game and a hunter only requires the landowner’s written permission to hunt.
Hunting licences are available at SA Hunters’ national office at Inyathi Park, Pretoria (012 808 9300), in Kroonstad from Kobus Harmse (082 651 2836) or the following places in the Free State:
|Office||Tel No||Office||Tel No|
|Bloemfontein||087 803 0980||Kalkfontein Dam NR||051 722 1441|
|Sandveld NR||053 433 1703||Gariep-dam NR||051 754 0026|
|Koppies-dam NR||056 777 2034||Tussen-die-Riviere NR||051 763 1000|
|Willem Pretorius||057 651 4003||Caledon NR||051 583 1920|
|Soetdoring NR||051 433 9002||Sterkfontein-dam NR||058 622 3520|
|Erfenis-dam NR||057 724 2111||Seekoeivlei NR||058 924 0183|
|Rustfontein-dam NR||051 528 2924||Bathurst NR||051 442 7080|
Hunting licences for common game (Impala, Bushbuck ram, Grey Duiker, Guinea-fowl, Yellow-billed Duck, Egyptian Goose) are usually required during the proclaimed open season from 31 May to 31 August. The Rock Pigeon/Speckled Pigeon is not classified as common game and a hunter only requires written permission from the farmer to hunt.
Special hunting licences are required when hunting out of season and for hunting all protected game. These licences are available from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Hunting licences are available at most firearm dealers in the province or from Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (033 845 1652) or from the SA Hunters’ national office at Inyathi Park, Pretoria (012 808 9300).
Hunting licences are compulsory for all hunting on open farms during the proclaimed open hunting season and used to be compulsory on adequately enclosed properties. The department recently changed its policy and a licence is no longer required when hunting species that are listed on the farm’s certificate of adequate enclosure. Hunting licences are compulsory when hunting game birds on adequately enclosed properties. Daily bag limits apply as prescribed in the annual hunting proclamation. Most doves and pigeons are classified as common game and require a licence to be hunted.
Licences are available at Northern Cape Conservation office, at any post office in the Northern Cape and at many post offices in towns en route to the Northern Cape, i.e.: Vryburg, Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein, Beaufort-Wes, Vanryhnsdorp, Bellville, Malmesbury, Worcester, Laingsburg, Prince Albert, Middelburg (Eastern Cape), in Johannesburg at Rivonia, Sandton, Isando, Edenvale, Kempton Park and Halfway House. In the Pretoria region licences can be purchased at post offices in Centurion, Lynnwood Ridge, Montana Park and Brooklyn Square.
However, a special licence is required for protected game, which is only available at the Northern Cape Conservation offices. Enquiries: Colette or Lidia at (053 807 7300).
Hunting licences are required for all hunting in the province and are valid for exactly one year from the date of purchase. Certain species may be hunted during the hunting season only. The hunting of some species is limited to specific magisterial districts. It is very important to consult the up-to-date hunting proclamation for the correct information.
All hunters must have general hunting licences to hunt in the Eastern Cape Province. The licence is also valid for bird hunting and is required when hunting doves and pigeons. It is available from most firearm dealers and the SAHGCA Head Office at Inyathi Park, Pretoria (012 808 9300). Eastern Cape Nature Conservation office numbers: (043 605 7106/7121/7133).
Hunters must have a general hunting licence to hunt on open and adequately enclosed farms. The proclamation restricts hunting of some species. Therefore, it is important to consult the most recent and updated proclamation for hunting seasons and daily bag limits. Please note that most doves and pigeons are classified as common game and require a licence.
Licences are available at agencies, firearm-dealers or from SA Hunters’ national office at Inyathi Park, Pretoria (012 808 9300). The Department launched an e-Permitting system to help improve service delivery.
Cape Nature Conservation contacts
|Town/City||Conteck Tel No|
|George||044 802 5300|
|Porterville||022 931 2900|
|Robertson||023 625 1621|
|Onrus||028 314 0062|
|Kaapstad||021 483 0000 / 659 3418|
|Oudtshoorn||044 203 6300|