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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2010 str. 36     <-- 36 -->        PDF

D. Pejnović, K. Krapinec, M. Slamar: LOVCI U HRVATSKOJ KAO SOCIJALNO-GEOGRAFSKASKUPINA... Šumarski list br. 9–10, CXXXIV (2010), 461-474

settlement (r = 0,90; p <0,05). These results indicate that number of hunters in total population
will be lower as population density is higher. In 2001 Ratio of hunters to general
population was 1:117, but 2007 this ratio was 1:73. This ratio classifies Croatia in the
middle on the European scale of portion of hunters in general population.

The spatial distribution of hunters results from the interference of several factors,
from natural/geographic features, through population density, phase of socio-economic
development, degree of urbanisation/ruralisation and functional orientation of physical
space, to the status and role of hunting traditions in the regional system of values. As a result
of the cumulative causality of these factors, the highest number of hunters in 2001 at
the county level was registered in Istria (3,246), followed by Primorje-Gorski Kotar
County (3,005), while the lowest numbers were recorded in Varaždin (703) and Dubrovnik-
Neretva Counties (994).

From the geographic standpoint, fundamental significance is accorded to study of spatial
differences in hunting intensity, both hunting-geographic (number of hunters per unit
surface), and hunting-demographic intensity (number of hunters per 1,000 inhabitants).
Comparative analysis at the county level shows the highest hunting-geographic intensity is
characterised by Međimurje County, which records a spatial intensity 2.7 times higher
than Croatia’s average (185.3 hunters per 100 km2of territory in the County, in relation to

67.4 in Croatia), while the lowest is in Virovitica-Podravina County, which lags behind the
national average in equal measure (25.8 hunters per 100 km2of territory in the County, in
relation to 67.4 in Croatia). On the other hand, Lika-Senj County stands out with the highest
hunting-demographic intensity, more than three times the Croatian average (27.9 hunters
per 1,000 inhabitants in the County compared to 8.6 for Croatia as a whole). This
county simultaneously records the highest coefficient of use of hunting-demographic potential
among Croatia’s counties, three times the country’s average (34.3 effective per
1,000 potential hunters in the County, in comparison to 10.8 in Croatia as a whole), while
the lowest coefficient of use of this potential, after the City of Zagreb (1.8 effective per
1,000 potential hunters), is Varaždin County (4.8 effective per 1,000 potential hunters).

The results of survey research conducted in December 2007, which encompassed
2,132 hunters from 44 hunting associations from almost all Croatian counties, indicate
that the primary drivers of hunting activities in Croatia are men between the ages of 45
and 65, with emphasis on the 50–54 age group, and an average age of 49, of whom most
have completed secondary school and are employed, and largely reside in rural areas.
The highest number of hunters became involved in this activity while in their twenties,
motivated by the personal need for outdoor recreation, and they account for over one half
of the total number of hunts during the season and they enjoy the support/understanding
of their families for this manner of using their leisure time.

The recent growth in the number of members of this social group in Croatia is a result
of growing interest in hunting as an increasingly popular way to spend leisure time as the
country undergoes increasing urbanisation. Growth in the number of hunters is accompanied
by the correspondingly increased role of hunting as an instrument of sustainable
development, both in terms of economic advancement and environmental protection, in
the sense of preservation of biological diversity. This pertains in particular to Croatia’s
rural and more tourism-oriented regions, in which hunting has been traditionally and
even economically important in the former, while in the latter it contributes as a selective
form to diversification of the tourism product.

Knowledge of the socio-demographic characteristics of hunters, above all the hunting-
geographic and hunting-demographic intensity at the county level, is one of the fundamental
conditions for examining the place and role of hunting in sustainable development in Croatia
and its subordinate regional components. Greater familiarity with these characteristics
should contribute to the more complex evaluation and planning of hunting activities in the
country in compliance with the principle of sustainable development of geographic space
and with sound practices in the more developed member states of the European Union.

Key words:hunters, socio-geographic group, hunting-geographic intensity, hunting-
demographic intensity, coefficient of use of hunting-demographic potential, demographic
characteristics, social characteristics