For more than two centuries, Croatia has been considered the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” After spending a week there touring various hunting areas and the Dalmatian Coast, I understand why. Croatia is a treasure for international hunters and their non-hunting spouses, offering a wide range of hunting opportunities — from easy to exceedingly difficult — alongside historic sightseeing, shopping and romantic tours through wooded forests and along the cobalt blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Croatia lies opposite Italy on the eastern side of the Adriatic. Peppered with 1,200 islands, this may be the setting for Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Croatia is shaped like a crescent, with one point stretching eastward to Serbia, then wrapping around Bosnia-Herzegovina and running down the Dalmatian Coast. A pristine area featuring three of Croatia’s seven UNESCO Heritage Sites, the Dalmatian Coast is a popular destination with European tourists. Thanks to a new motorway that stretches from the capital, Zagreb, in the north, to Dubrovnik in the southwest, you can be almost anywhere in Croatia in only a few hours. You can, literally, let your family play on the Dalmatian Coast while you go hunting and get back for dinner that evening.
Eastern Croatia from Zagreb all the way to the Serbian border is mostly flat and home to red stag, roe buck and wild boar. As you go west and south, you encounter rolling terrain and finally hills of 300 to 800 meters. This area offers hunting for boar, red deer, roe buck and European brown bears. As you continue west and south, you encounter the Velebit Mountains, which run 120 miles along the length of the country’s western coast. The Adriatic side of the range, where you can hunt mouflon sheep, tops out between 1,300 and 1,600 meters.
The Adriatic side of the Velebits was deforested by the ancient Romans and Venetians, who exploited Croatia’s wood to build their trade and war ships. The denuded forests never recovered, and after two centuries, erosion has left this side of the range arid, rocky and perfect for mouflon. The interior side is heavily forested and offers excellent brown bear hunting. The Velebits are also home to Balkan chamois.....