Wednesday July 17, 2024

Number of active hunters drops in 2023

Published : 08 Jul 2024, 22:14

  DF Report
File picture of hunters with hunting rifles. Photo Lapland Material Bank by Olli Autonen.

There were a total of 186,000 active hunters in Finland in 2023, of whom 146,000 hunted small game, according to the statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

The number of hunters has been declining in recent years, said Luke in a recent press release referring to the statistics.

About 302,000 hunters paid the game management fee. Of them, 186,000 went hunting.

Four out of five hunted small game. There has been a slight decreasing trend in the number of active hunters since 2011.

"The number of hunters who pay the game management fee has remained relatively stable, but the share of hunters who actually go hunting has continuously decreased. In 2023, only 62% of those who paid the game management fee hunted, compared to more than 70% in the early 2010s", said Senior Statistician of Luke Miikka Husa.

In 2023, approximately half of active hunters or some 95,000 persons hunted grouse. The hunting bags of all grouse species were estimated to be lower than in the previous year.

A total of 108,000 black grouse, 30,000 capercaillies, 25,000 hazel grouse and 31,000 willow ptarmigans were bagged. Most black grouse were bagged in Kainuu and Northern Ostrobothnia, while most capercaillies were bagged in Lapland.

The European hare bag has remained fairly stable throughout the 2000s, while mountain hare bag has been on the decline since the mid-1990s.

In 2023, both the European hare bag and the mountain hare bag was approximately 73,000 individuals. As recently as the first half of the 2010s, the mountain hare bag was almost three times as large as the European hare bag.

The common wood pigeon has been Finland’s largest game species by number of bagged individuals since 2014.

In 2023, approximately 242,000 individuals were bagged. The bag per hunter is also typically larger in the case of the common wood pigeon than in the case of other small game species. In 2023, the average bag per successful hunter was 11 common wood pigeons.

The bag size of Finland’s most hunted waterfowl, the mallard, decreased to about 114,000 individuals, while the Eurasian teal bag increased to 52,000 individuals.

Of small predators, raccoon dog and fox bags increased, while fewer minks were hunted than in the previous year. The raccoon dog bag was 133,000, the fox bag 46,000 and the mink bag 31,000 individuals.

The European pine marten and European badger bags remained at the previous year’s level, 16,000 and 9,000 individuals respectively. Since 2019, a hunting card has not been required to hunt raccoon dog and mink, and the total bag may therefore be higher than shown here, especially for mink. Hunting mink with instantly killing traps is allowed, and a gun is not necessarily needed.

Fewer moose, white-tailed deer and roe deer were hunted during the hunting season 2023/2024 than during the previous season. The moose harvest was 32,345, the white-tailed deer 59,195 and the roe deer 17,480 individuals.

The number of hunters who hunted deer also fell slightly, to about 112,000. They accumulated a little over 1.4 million deer hunting days.

The game bag totalled over 7 million kilos of carcass meat, of which more than half was moose. The nominal value of the game meat was around EUR 55 million.