Slightly more than 200,000 hunters went hunting in 2020, comprising two thirds of all who paid the game management fee. This number has remained fairly unchanged for several years now. It therefore seems that the coronavirus had no major impact on hunting.
Last year, a couple of thousand more game management fees were paid than in 2019. The proportion of female hunters is growing each year. In 2020, women already accounted for nine per cent of all hunters, while the corresponding figure was less than four per cent at the beginning of the 2000s. This information and much more is indicated in the hunting statistics published by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
No major changes in grouse bags
In 2020, the grouse bag was close to the previous year’s level. The number of grouse has increased in the past few years, which is also reflected in the size of the grouse bag. Last year, some 116,000 black grouse and 34,000 wood grouse were hunted. The hazel grouse bag was a third lower than in the previous year, totalling roughly 29,000 hazel grouse. The willow grouse bag was around 38,000.
Waterfowl bags have decreased over the years
Of all waterfowl, mallard were hunted the most, with the bag being roughly 195,000, equalling the previous year’s bag. However, the mallard bag has decreased during the 2010s. They were followed by teal, with the bag being 53,000, including garganey. The teal bag decreased by slightly more than a third from the previous year. The goldeneye bag was the third largest, approximately 32,000. Teal and goldeneye bags have both decreased steadily during the last 20 years. Both bags have decreased to a third of the level at the end of the 1990s. The stocks of other waterfowl species are considerably smaller than those of the previously mentioned, similarly to their bag volumes.
The hare bag increased slightly
The mountain hare bag has decreased significantly since 2014, while last year’s bag was the first in a long time that increased from the year before. The European hare bag was also larger than in the previous year. As a rule, the annual European hare bag has changed considerably less than the mountain hare bag. In 2020, the mountain hare bag was roughly 97,000, and the European hare bag 71,000.
The number of deer and grouse hunters was greatest
Most small game hunters hunt grouse. In 2020, some 166,000 hunters hunted small game, and 122,000 hunted deer. There were around 102,000 grouse hunters and 73,000 waterfowl hunters. The number of hunters was roughly the same as in the previous year. The number of deer hunters decreased slightly from the year before.
Hunting statistics are based on information obtained from hunters
In the hunting statistics, estimates of the number of hunters and the size of bags are largely based on the survey sent to 7,500 hunters. A total of 65 per cent of the hunters who received the survey responded to it. The responses were weighed regionally. Information about the hunting of species subject to a licence and to a reporting obligation is obtained from the Finnish Wildlife Agency.
Waterfowl stocks have decreased in recent years, which is why their bag volumes are being monitored more closely, especially when it comes to rarer species. Starting from August 2020, hunters have been obligated to report wigeon, northern pintail, northern shoveler, garganey, eider, long-tailed duck, tufted duck and goosander bags, as well as coot bags, to the Finnish Wildlife Agency. Following this change in the data collection method, the 2020 bag information is not fully comparable with the previous years’ bag estimates.