Finland’s bear hunting quota will be reduced by about a third this year. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has set the quota for the coming season at just under 350 bears, compared to 460 last year. The hunting season lasts from August 20 to the end of October.
In recent years, more slaughter permits have been issued to curb the growth of the bear population.
"This goal has now been achieved, and in the future the focus of stock regulation will be to stabilize the size of the bear stock," the ministry said on Friday.
Luonnonvarakeskus (Luke) estimates that there are now 2,250–2,400 bears in Finland, which is twice as many as at the beginning of the 2000s.
The number recovered to almost the current level by 2010 and then declined sharply for several years. It has grown more or less steadily since 2014.
Population levels vary as animals move back and forth across borders, mainly across Russia’s 1,300 km long border. The migration of bears across the border has increased the genetic diversity of the Finnish population.
1.5 million euros in reindeer losses
In Finland, there has long been pressure to limit the bear population from predation on livestock, primarily semi-domesticated reindeer.
Last year, about 750 reindeer deaths were caused by bears, while the corresponding figure the previous year was about 890. The state paid the reindeer herders EUR 1.5 million in compensation for losses, as well as much smaller compensations for damage caused to, for example, beehives and crops.
The Natural Resources Agency decides on the exact allocation of permits.
70 bear shooting permits are granted to northern Finland’s reindeer herding areas, 20 less than last year. Most of these are delivered to the eastern reindeer herding area. It includes half a dozen Lapland municipalities along the Russian border and Pelkosenniemi.
Mothers and puppies off limits
Mothers with cubs and cubs under one year old are protected from hunters. About 63 percent of the bears shot are male and usually relatively young. This is partly due to the fact that many adult males move from Eastern Finland to the Russian side before the start of the hunting season.
According to the ministry, when issuing bear hunting permits, the number of deer and elk in different areas is taken into account in relation to the bear population. The protection of the wild forest deer population in Suomenselkä and Kainuu is also important, the ministry stated.
Source: The Nordic Page