There is a long tradition of hunting in the Elbe valley, and income generated by hunting licence fees, the sale of meat from game and hunting tourism. A total of 126 officially designated hunting districts lie partly or entirely within the biosphere reserve.
There is a rich variety of big and small game to be found in the Elbe region. The hunting districts are generally in open country. Typical game in the region are roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and fallow deer (Dama dama) can be found in the state forests and on the estates of the family Graf von Bernstorff. Fallow deer was introduced here in 1848.
During the migration period, thousands of water fowl can be found on the Elbe and other bodies of water in the valley, so shoots for water fowl are of particular importance within the biosphere reserve.
The special requirements governing water fowl are laid down in Paragraph 15 of the Lower Saxonian Biosphere Reserve Act. This states that water fowl in the Elbe hunting districts can only be shot according to a set rota system, ensuring compliance with the stipulations of the EU Bird Directive, which give special protection to migrating birds and the habitats which they use.
Red deer can be found in the state forests and on the estates of the family Graf von Bernstorff.