Finland has approximately 300 000 hunters, i.e. persons who have paid the annual game management fee and thereby obtained a hunting licence. Relative to the number of inhabitants Finland has a high number of hunters compared to many other European countries. The number of hunters is still growing and especially the proportion of women hunters has been growing in recent years.
Every one who hunts in Finland is required by law to possess a hunting licence and to have the landowners consent for hunting. The use of firearms requires the possession of a gun licence and the hunting of big game requires valid proof of passing the compulsory shooting test. For the hunting of certain game species, such as, e.g. moose and the big predatory species, only a limited number of licences are released annually.
In Finland the hunting right of an area belongs to the landowner. The majority of private hunting grounds are leased to hunting societies, but permits for hunting on state land are sold to all hunters.
Finnish hunting culture
Hunting is both common and appreciated in Finland, a position, which stems from the history of Finnish hunting. Hunting has always been a way for the ordinary person, regardless of position or wealth, to acquire additional food for the family. Finnish hunting still stems from true outdoors life and huntsmanship.
Hunting has a central role in Finland as a society based activity connecting all kinds of people. Finnish hunting encompasses a wide range of voluntary work such as habitat improvement and game animal feeding. Furthermore, Finnish hunting is based on state-of-the-art game research, in which the help provided by hunters in, e.g. game animal surveys is invaluable.
Game species and hunting
Finnish hunting legislation lists 34 mammalian and 26 avian game species.
Popular hunts, drawing the most hunters annually are waterfowl hunting (annual bag size approx. 500 000-600 000 waterfowl), hare hunting (annual bag size approx.
250 000 hares) and moose hunting (approx. 60 000-85 000 moose annually). Finns also highly value the hunting of grouse species, big predatory species and naturally the important hunting of small predatory species.
The use of hunting dogs plays a central role in Finnish hunting.
Game management officials
Finnish Hunters’ Association is an independent civic organization and the official bodies responsible for game management in Finland are the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Hunters’ Central Organization. The Hunters’ Central Organization is, e.g. responsible for the admitting of hunting licences for different species as well as organizing hunting examinations.
Game research in Finland is mainly conducted by the Game and Fisheries Research Institute and state land is governed by the Finnish Forest and Park Service (Metsähallitus).
Find out more about Finnish hunting on the pages of the Hunters’ Central Organization:
Hunting in Finland