Game refers to food acquired by hunting. In Finland 34 mammal species and 26 bird species are classified as game animals by law. Hunting game was historically  a significant source of livelihood for many Nordic countries including Finland. Nowadays hunting is perhaps more important as a recreational activity although the meat of some species, especially elk, can still be a significant part of diet for some Finns.

More than 300 000 Finnish citizens, equalling 5-6% of total population, have a hunting license. The average licence holder is 49 years of age. The direct monetary value of game bag was approximately 65 million € in 2013. Some 46 million of this consisted of elk.


Due to the rugged landscape and severe winters only relatively few game species can survive of which include moose, red deer, roe deer, white-tailed deer, mountain hare, brown hare, and boar.  There are 26 bird game species (e.g. waterfowl, capercaillie, rock ptarmigan, willow ptarmigan, mallard, black grouse, woodcock, common pheasant, common wood pigeon, and geese).  Fur game consists of red fox, raccoon dog, American Mink, beaver and pine marten. Big game animals include bears, lynxes and wolves.  Hunting licenses are needed to participate in hunting to manage and secure the populations. The game species and the hunting seasons have been legislated by the hunting law and hunting regulation.  In order to hunt game in Finland a citizen must have: a Finnish hunting card, hunting permit granted by the land owner or state, firearm license, shooting test, and additional certificate for big game or an exemption.

The highest authority concerning hunting related issues in Finland is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The Ministry oversees Hunters’ Central Organization, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) and regional game management districts. The mission of the Game and Fish Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is to secure the perquisites of game, fish and reindeer based industries by guiding the use and management of the natural resources of these sectors. The responsible organization on the game population estimations is the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL) in co-operation with The Hunters’ Central Organization and game management districts approximately 3% of hunters are participating to the field work (collecting information in the forests).

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