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Hunting season called off after weather chaos

By David Rogers

There will be no pheasant or rabbit hunting in the northern part of Salzburg’s Flachgau region this year in the wake of a severe hail storm that killed many wild animals last July.

Provincial hunting chief Sepp Eder said today (Thurs) that 80 per cent of rabbits and 90 per cent of pheasants had been killed by tennis-ball sized hail in the Michaelbeuern, St. Georgen, Lamprechtshausen and Bürmoos municipalities.

He put the total number of pheasants killed by hail in the area at 2,500, adding that 200 deer had either been found dead or so badly injured they had to be put out of their misery.

Eder said wild animals had sought refuge in grain fields in vain, as high wind during the hail storm had blown the masses of ice in all directions, making it impossible to find a secure refuge.

He noted parts of Bavaria and Lower Austria had also been hard-hit by hail but not as badly as the Flachgau.

Eder predicted it would take three to five years for the wildlife population to return to normal size in that region.

Wild animals were not the only casualty during summer hail storms, which cost Austrian farmers 70 million Euros in damages.

Insurance companies received more than 16,000 damage reports, one-fifth more than in 2007. More than 100,000 hectares of cropland and every tenth farmer were affected.

Kurt Weinberger, the General Director of the Austrian Hailstone Insurance Company, said in mid-summer: "There was a hailstorm every third day somewhere in the country in the months of May and July."

The worst day was 11 June, when hailstones as big as tennis balls caused damage amounting to eight million Euros in eastern Styria.

Farmers reacted to worsening weather conditions by buying more insurance. At present, 84 per cent of cropland and 68 per cent of vineyards are insured.

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region  cropland  tennis  ball  Austria  rabbit  Insurance  farmers  refuge  animals  pheasant  hunting  hail  Eder  killed  Hailstone  injured  Flachgau  storm  weather


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