Tropical forests provide refuge to some of the world’s poorest communities. The increasing dependence on fauna resources due to increasing access to economic markets and the growth of human populations have left many species threatened and vulnerable to extinction. Both subsistence and commercial hunting result in the depletion of fauna, which can have detrimental effects on remaining vertebrate populations, plant regeneration and ecosystem dynamics. Before an effective management strategy can be implemented, an understanding of the culture, history and drivers behind hunting in Brazil is essential. Brazil has a long history of hunting both for subsistence and commercial reasons but changes in governance, population size, advances in technology and economic development have lead to increased pressure on natural resources. Similar issues in the forests of Asia and Africa could aid Brazil in developing a suitable management strategy if site specific considerations are taken into account.