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Hunting season in East Belgium

Hunting season: Which areas are closed?

 Ostbelgien Jagd Beschilderung 09(c)pixabay

The latest hunting schedules and closures in just one click

In our cycling and hiking route planner, you can plan your cycling tour or hike through East Belgium individually. You will receive information on the distances between the selected junction nodes and find out which interesting attractions and restaurants are nearby. You can print out or share this information as well as the maps via a link. The GPX tracks are also available to download.

For your safety, hunting dates and other closures are displayed in the planner on a daily basis.

You can enter the date of your hike or cycle tour using the red button with the warning triangle. The areas closed on this date will then be displayed. Especially in autumn, we recommend checking before each tour whether the planned paths are accessible.

The hiking route planner can be found here: www.ostbelgien.eu/en/walking/hiking-route-planer
The cycle route planner can be found here: www.ostbelgien.eu/en/cycling/cycle-tour-planer

Please follow the warnings on site.

In addition to the information in the route planners, please make sure to pay particular attention to the signs on site. The hunters display appropriate warning notices at the entrances to the forest.

Hunting information


In East Belgium hunting can be carried out in an expansive forested area spanning some 45,000 hectares (111,000 acres). The right to hunt there can be obtained by leasing a hunting ground of at least 50 hectares (123 acres) from the forest owners (the Walloon region, the municipalities or the private owners). This lease runs for 6, 9 or 12 years. It goes without saying that every hunter must hold a hunting licence which is obtained by passing a suitable examination.

In East Belgium, game predominantly consists of stags, deer and wild boars, the hunting of which is strictly organised by legislation and the large gamekeeping communities. Contrary to popular belief, hunting is not only organised for the pleasure of hunters but, above all, for the purpose of regulating the number of animals in the forest so that the economic utilisation of the forest is ensured. If game numbers are too high, this can result in substantial damage being caused to the rejuvenation of leaf trees and to trees of economic value. For this reason, culling plans were already introduced many years ago which specify the exact number of animals which may be culled during the hunting season. These are based on the game population counted by the forest administration in the spring.


Approximately 500 people have permission to hunt in East Belgium, either as tenants of a hunting ground or because they have received an invitation from such a tenant. The hunters are members of a large game ring whose primary objective is to organise hunting by respecting the manner in which the wildlife lives and the conservation of nature – in direct collaboration with the forest administration.

Game is extremely popular among gourmets as a gastronomic delicacy. The sale of culled game is strictly regulated in order to guarantee that it can be traced. The sale is carried out by specialised, approved companies which have applied for a licence. 

Information for hikers and mountainbikers

Hunting can be done from raised hides or in the form of an organised shoot. These shoots take place over the course of an entire day and over an extended area of land, which is marked out with special signposts and therefore strictly out of bounds for hikers. It is vital that these signs are adhered to as staying in the forest can be dangerous on these days. However, there are not so many organised shoots in East Belgium and they are announced in advance. Shoots are restricted so that they do not interfere too much with the use of the forest by tourists.

The procedure is very simple. The main hunting period extends from 21 September to 31 December (with some brief, additional times in the spring and summer, and bearing in mind that wild boar can be hunted at any time of the year). During this period the hunters are obliged to mount prohibition signs at the entrances to forests when there are organised shoots for deer and red deer for the safety of the guests. They must also notify the responsible forestry office at least one week before the start of the shoot. Sometimes, shoots for wild boar need to be scheduled on the same day – they are, however, signposted accordingly.

It is essential that hikers observe these prohibition signs for their own safety and that they fall back on other forest areas when a shoot is taking place. Hikers should keep strictly to the paths and officially signposted hiking trails at all times.

In general, it can be said that very few organised shoots are held on Sundays or public holidays. Since hunting from hides is the most widespread form of hunting in East Belgium, the forests here are only closed on a few days of the year. As a rule, hunting from hides normally takes place away from the hiking trails.

Contact addresses

Forestry offices in East Belgium:
Direktion Malmedy Tel.: 080/ 79.90.41 oder -42-44-45 
Forstamt Büllingen  Tel.: 080/ 29 25 30
Forstamt Elsenborn   Tel.: 080/ 41 01 71
Forstamt Malmedy Tel.: 080/ 79 90 40 emergency service (weekends) - GSM: 0477/823.001
Forstamt St. Vith  Tel.: 080 / 280851
Forstamt Eupen   Tel.: 087/ 859020