The Hunting Act and the relevant decrees

The bear, the wolf, the lynx and the wolverine are considered game animals. Legislation concerning game animals is laid out in the Hunting Act. More detailed provisions are found in the Hunting Decree, the Government Decree on Derogations Laid Down in the Hunting Act, and the species-specific Decrees issued by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Hunting Act and Hunting Decree

A game species may be protected temporarily or indefinitely in order to preserve the species or ensure its successful breeding. The wolf, the bear, the wolverine and the lynx are always protected. However, according to Section 41 a of the Hunting Act (amendment 159/2011), the Finnish Wildlife Agency may grant exceptional permits to hunt and kill these animals, as long as the species' favourable conservation status is preserved. These permit decisions are based on various sources of information, including scientific surveys on large carnivore populations. So far, no special permits have been issued for wolverine hunting.

Aggravated hunting offence

In the event that a large carnivore is killed or injured in a manner that is against the Hunting Act, it is usually considered an aggravated hunting offence (Criminal Code Chapter 48a, Section 1 a, The law says that the offence must be aggravated when assessed as a whole. Killing or injuring a deer or an otter may also be considered an aggravated hunting offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is four years in prison.

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EU and the conservation of large carnivores

As a member of the European Union, Finland commits to taking EU legislation into account in its decision making. The Directives of the European Community are incorporated into national legislation, which extends their reach to also cover all private operators. The status of large carnivores is regul...