Austria: the marmot hunt has started

from the blog of Martin Balluch*


Back from a week in the forest, I realize that the hunt for marmots has started. At least with us in Styria, (Austria). In Tyrol and elsewhere it lasts until mid-August, but there are still 2 months left for this cheap hunt.

The shot costs only € 500, with a € 100 discount if you don’t hit. It is 4 times as expensive to shoot a chamois.

balluch murmeltierjagd

The picture above shows an encounter with a marmot on the Wetterinalm. “Beautiful” meadows road, isn’t it? You can tell right away that there is nature here.

The marmot lives carefree there, doesn’t care about hikers or my dog ​​friend who was there.


He is totally peaceful with all animals anyway.

Last autumn I and my family were in an alpine pasture in the Hohe Tauern for a few days after the cows were brought down. We made friends there with a family of marmots.

And then a hunter came up from the valley with his 14-year-old son and a 17-year-old hunting guide. The 14-year-old wanted to shoot a groundhog for his birthday. Nothing easier than shooting at these almost tame marmots that had played with us.

While these hunters were happy, I felt like a traitor. How can you be nice to animals when others take advantage of this approach to kill? I have reported about this incident:

murmeltier Balluch

Why do people want to shoot marmots? This question is wrong. They just enjoy it, otherwise, they wouldn’t pay for it. But how is that justified?

Surprisingly, with the protection of the cows on the alpine pasture, and because the alpine meadows would be less easy to mow if marmots were built there. This was confirmed to me as an argument from many sides, but can also be found here in this article of the German “Tagesspiegel” * : 

” The fact that the marmots are hunted is because they get in the way of the alpine farmers with their zeal. The animals dig tunnels with a length of ten to 70 meters, in which they disappear if there is danger, the record for a marble tunnel is 113 meters long. “The animals undermine the alpine pastures and thus endanger the cows,” says hunter Kühl. “If they step into the holes dug by the marmots, they can be seriously injured. The marble not only causes problems for the cows, but also for humans. Because of the holes, the farmers have problems mowing the alpine meadow”.

The marmot in this country was already exterminated by the hunters.  Do we ever learn? Can we eventually overcome this strange desire to kill?

Will we eventually reduce the total use of nature, enable a wilderness, and then leave it to the wild animals?


* Dr. Martin Balluch: Martin Balluch studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy at the University of Vienna. He then did his doctorate in physics at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg in 1989. From 1990 to 1997 he worked as a university assistant alongside Stephen Hawking in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at Cambridge University.
He is the chairman of the “Verein gegen Tierfabriken” (association against animal factories) which has had many successes against gate hunting in Austria.


Some interesting facts about marmots: The small rodents can’t stand the heat. They feel 20 degrees Celsius like we humans 36 degrees in the blazing sun.

Marmots hibernate. At -20 degrees Celsius, the ground squirrels like to crawl in their burrow, where it is pleasantly warm. They cuddle up to each other and lower their body temperature to 6 degrees so that they burn little energy. The smallest come in the middle because it is warmest there. In this way, up to 20 marmots form a huge ball of fur under the ground. They create complex tunnels in which many human animals would get lost.

And I mean…The only ones allowed to kill with impunity are the hunters.

Hunters and farmers produce many excuses to justify their murders of defenseless animals. The first do it out of a hobby and perverse sadism, but they always keep silent the joy, the experience of killing.
The second one is used to torturing animals anyway and cruelly slaughtered for profit.

In today’s society, the following applies: Whoever feels nothing when killing is a psychopath and severely disturbed.
In my view, these people are ruthless assholes, who can continue to kill animals in the forest and everywhere because they are protected by authorities, judges, and politicians who are also hunters themselves.

In Germany, the hunters are a miserable minority of 45% of the population, who nevertheless have the right to terrorize citizens and animals in the forest, to “accidentally” kill pets, to destroy the soil, and to cause enormous pollution.

But the average German thinks it’s none of his business what happens in the forest until he finds his cat or dog shot somewhere, by a hunter.
And he must be happy if a hunter does not mistake him with a wild boar when he takes when he goes for a walk in the forest!!

And so we are back to a known fact: as long as society is manipulated by media propaganda and false information and acts cowardly, nothing will change about the hunt.

It is these who have the power to abolish hunting that must be put under pressure.
From all of us.
We have many resources for this today, we just have to bring courage.

We owe it to the animals.

My best regards to all, Venus

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