Photo: Neal Lewis


Hunting for white-tailed deer and roe deer in Finland ended in mid-February, with a total of 67,152 white-tailed deer and 18,583 roe deer harvested across the country. The yield for both species decreased by approximately 9% from the previous hunting season.

The annual harvest of white-tailed deer had grown significantly over the past ten years, with the harvest rate more than tripling during that time.

However, the number of white-tailed deer harvested declined by about 9% in the last season, with a total yield of approximately 7,000 animals fewer than the previous season.

The decline in hunting yield was particularly evident in the border areas of the Satakunta, Northern and Southern Häme, and Southwest Finland game management districts. The white-tailed deer population in these areas is also believed to have decreased. In recent years, efforts have been made to systematically reduce the deer population in southwestern Finland, primarily to decrease the number of deer-vehicle collisions.

Half of the harvested white-tailed deer were fawns, while half of the adult animals were males and females. Approximately 68% of the granted hunting permits were utilized across the country. Each hunting permit allows for the shooting of one adult animal or two fawns.

In March, the Natural Resources Institute Finland will release an estimate of the white-tailed deer population size. Last year, the population was estimated to be around 109,000 white-tailed deer in the early spring of 2022. White-tailed deer are the most important game species in southwestern Finland, with tens of thousands of hunters participating in hunting annually. The estimated yield of deer meat from hunting in recent years is more than 2 million kilograms per year.

Hunting for roe deer, the smallest deer species in Finland, does not require a hunting permit, but the harvested animals must be reported to the Finnish Wildlife Agency. The yield for the previous season decreased by about 9% compared to the previous season. Roe deer were harvested in all Finnish game management districts, with the highest numbers in Southwest Finland.

In the case of moose, hunting for European elk ended in late January, and 313 were harvested. Yield increased in all areas except Southwest Finland. The total increase was about 28% compared to the previous season. The European elk occurs primarily in southern Finland and archipelago areas as localized populations.