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What a Foreign Guest Needs to Be Able to Hunt in Finland

In addition to a valid hunting licence, a hunter arriving in Finland may need a hunting permit and a shooting test certificate, as well as a licence to bring a firearm or dog into the country. The best way to proceed is for the Finnish hunter host to help their guest in acquiring these permits and licences.

Every year some two thousand foreign hunters visit Finland. Elk-hunting and fowling in particular bring hunting tourists to the country. The brochure Hunting in Finland provides more information on the subject. It is available in Finnish, Swedish, English, German and Russian.

The right to hunt in Finland and a permit to hunt in a certain area are important

A Finnish hunting licence can be granted to a foreign hunter for one year at a time. To get a Finnish hunting licence, a foreign hunter is required to present a hunting licence that is valid in their home country, or some other reliable documentation that proves that they have the right to hunt in their homeland. Without such proof, a foreign hunter will be required to acquire a Finnish hunting qualification in order to hunt in Finland.

Hunting licences can be ordered from the Register of Hunters via the Coordinator of Activities of the local game management association. The hunter, or their Finnish host, needs to present to the Coordinator of Activities a paper copy or a scanned email attachment of the foreign hunter’s hunting licence, or some other reliable documentation of their right to hunt. The hunting licence will be posted to the address given by the applicant.

Foreign hunters are also required to have a hunting permit for the specific area where they intend to hunt. Hunting permits are sold or given by hunting rights holders, such as landowners, hunting clubs and, for state-owned land, the state forest enterprise Metsähallitus.

A certificate of a successful shooting test is recommended although not always compulsory

When hunting deer species or bear with a rifled firearm, a foreign hunter may act as a shooter if they have a shooting test certificate or the right to hunt game of similar size.

We recommend that a Finnish host acquires a Finnish shooting test certificate for their guest at the same time as they order a Finnish hunting licence. For this purpose, a valid certificate of a successful shooting test taken in Finland or another country is to be delivered to the Coordinator of Activities of the local game management association, or failing that, documentation of the foreign hunter’s right to hunt game of similar size in their home country.

If the hunter has no shooting test certificate or cannot provide acceptable documentation, they will need to take a Finnish shooting test, according to current regulations. Shooting tests are organised by game management associations, especially in the summer and early autumn. Successful performances earn a certificate which will be valid for three years from the date of the test.

Although not required by law, we recommend acquiring a shooting test certificate for a foreign hunter also in other cases. For someone intending to participate in elk-hunting in Finland, for example, a visit to a shooting range and practice at hitting a Finnish elk silhouette target is good preparation for the hunt itself. Having the certificate with you in the forest also makes it easier to supervise the hunt.

Bringing dogs and firearms to Finland is also subject to licence

A foreign hunter can bring a hunting dog with them. Importation requirements vary according to the country where the dog comes from. You can learn about the current requirements on the website of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Ruokavirasto.

A hunting tourist can also use their own firearms and cartridges when hunting in Finland. As with importing hunting dogs, the regulations regarding these also vary according to the country of origin. The police authorities provide more information about importing firearms and the licences required for firearms ( A tourist can also borrow the necessary hunting equipment from their Finnish host.

Region-specific further information can be obtained from the Game Manager or the Coordinators of Activities of the regional game management associations; see contact information (in Finnish)

Hunting examinations and shooting tests in the near future: