Value of game
During the past decade the value of the elk catch has been about 46 million euros annually although it has been slightly decreasing on average. The economic value of the elk catch is clearly the highest compared to the other game animals. The value of the hare catch (incl. blue hare and brown hare) has tripled in last ten years equalling 7.6 million euros in 2013. The catch of the other deer (white-tailed deer, wild forest reindeer, fallow deer and roe deer) has remained quite stable at about 6 million euros. The value of the bear catch has been approximately 450 000 euros in 2008–2013 but there is a wide annual fluctuation which can not be detected in the figure below.
The economic value of the game bag of the mammals was altogether 50 million euros in 2013. Other game animals with low economic significance include for example beaver and other fur-bearing animals and wild boar.
The value of the grouse catch was 7.6 million euros in 2013. It has increased considerably during the past ten years. The value of the waterfowl catch was 6 million euros and that of the other game birds 1.6 million euros. Other game birds include partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, coot and woodcock.
Number of paid game management fees has increased quite steadily during the last three decades. In 2013 there were 308 000 paid fees. The number of hunters has been lower, about 213 000 individuals in 2013. The share of hunters has been around 70–75% of those who paid the game management fee. The actual number of hunters has also increased since 1996 but in recent years it has decreased by 20 000 hunters.
Out of the many forms of hunting, the hunting of elk has probably the greatest impact on rural communities. Elk hunting involves organised elk hunting groups that often comprise a cross-section of the community, from teenagers to seniors, with the share of women increasing. Elk hunting groups provide an important social network and can in some cases be among the last remaining organised activities in remote villages.
The health value of hunting originates mainly from the exercise that hunting activity requires. Other positive effect on health is the replacement of produced meat by hunted meat. Produced meat may contain traces of environmental toxins or antibiotics that may impair health. In hunted meat environmental toxins are also possible but considerably rarer.
Intrinsic value of hunting arises from its essential role in traditional Finnish life style where hunting, fishing and gathering are the most important sources of nutrition. Nowadays, the importance of hunting is more social rather than nutritional. Game is considered a festive dish but in the past it was a common part of day-to-day diet.
Hunting 2013. Riista- ja kalatalous – Tilastoja. Official Statistics of Finland / Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery. 6 / 2014. Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute. Previous data Riistasaalis 2004–2007 and Metsästys 2008–2012 can be found in publications of Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.
- Updated (19.01.2015)