Hunting Laws in India

You may have seen movies or perused history book pictures that portrayed wealthy Englishmen decked in hunting gear kneeling proudly beside the tiger, elephant or rhino they had just shot.

When most people think of hunting, they think of the wild safaris of Africa. For many years, hunting was popular and profitable in India as well. India has such a variety of native animals that hunters came from all over the world to try their luck at shooting one of these exotic animals.

When it comes to hunting in India today, however, things are quite different.

The rapid depletion, and near extinction of many wild animals due to sport and food hunting has led the Indian government to take drastic measures to protect such treasured animals.

For the most part, hunting for fun, or sport, is illegal.

There are only a handful of circumstances where hunting and killing an animal is legal. These instances include:

  • When it is necessary to protect people living in the area of a dangerous animal, where an attack can occur.
  • When an animal is severely injured or disabled and can’t be effectively treated
  • When an animal is too sick or diseased to be treated and recover.
  • When an animal attack results in the destruction of property.
  • When  force is necessary for adequate self-defense.

Furthermore, any part of the animal that is legally killed belongs to the Indian government and can’t be used for personal profit.

There has been times when the Indian government has legalized the hunting of certain species such as wild boars and Blue Bulls to control their numbers and when these animals routinely destroy or eat a farmer’s crop.  In the cases of crops, only the farmer is allowed to shoot the animal. This can only be done after an inspection of the damage by a government official and permission from both the government and the village in which the farmer resides.

When animals are shot and killed, the animal is to be immediately buried. The Indian government prohibits the collecting of meat even from legally killed animals.

A big influence in the banning of hunting animals for food is the Hindu religion which sees certain animals as sacred and others as “unclean.”


The severity of punishment from a hunting offense is dependent upon multiple factors, including what animal was shot, where the hunting took place, the purpose of the hunt and the offender’s hunting history.

The current hunting laws began in the 1970s when, at the time, they varied between states. Now, the  same hunting laws are enforced in each state.

Under Section 9 of India’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which ushered in the anti-hunting laws of today, thousands of animals are protected against hunting.

Protected animals are categorized amongst four schedules, with the most endangered, sacred species in schedule one and the least protected species in schedule four. Each schedule contains more than 200 species of animals.

Hunters who injure or kill and animal in schedule one, such as a tiger, lion, leopard or elephant, will face a harsher punishment than someone who killed an animal in schedule 4.

Those who hunt and subsequently injure or kill an animal in a protected preserve will be subject to stiffer penalties than one who shoots an animal on his farm.

Those who hunt animals in India typically do so for one of two reasons: trophy or profit. Both of which are illegal. Those caught killing an animal for a trophy will receive a lesser punishment than someone who undertakes the commercial killing of an animal with the purpose to sell its skin, body parts or meat.

Ignorance is often not an excuse when defending one’s hunting conviction. Every Indian knows hunting is native  animals are illegal. First time hunting offenders typically get a three to seven year prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 rupees. Repeated offenders get similar prison sentences and a fine of 25,000 rupees.

Endangered vs. Non-Endangered Species

 Not every animal in India is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. Such animals include domestic animals, which include dogs, cats, pigeons, horses and donkeys, and animals that aren’t native to India.

Domestic animals, however are protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Hunting is very restrictive in India, which have subsequently led to an influx of shooting ranges throughout different states. The hunting legacy of India can still, therefore, be experienced by both locals and visitors.

India’s legacy of hunting has contributed to the design and manufacturing of high-quality hunting and shooting gear that is sold at Kiehberg, an India-based outdoors company.

Contact us today to learn more about our premier hunting inventory.