Hunting and fishing – the supply of game – were of great importance in the history of Finland as it is believed that our country became inhabited because of the welfare offered by its plentiful game. Harsh, yet clean nature and wide expanses of wilderness provided the foundation for livelihood.
Of course, the concept and role of hunting have changed from those days but the benefits associated with hunting are still a concrete part of the pluralist way of life in Finland. Hunting provides delicious game meat, recreation and exercise. Further, wildlife management carried out by the hunters is a valuable ecosystem service to nature and the society.
Solid data on game stocks and catch rates form an integral part of Finnish game husbandry. The division of labour in collecting and producing the data is clear: hunters carry out standardized types of game monitoring and counting on a voluntary basis while researchers at the Game and Fisheries Research Institute answer for the scientific analysis of this field data.
Finnish game husbandry is based on hard facts, and decisions related to game management are made on the basis of extensive and up-to-date research findings. Finnish game data provides a good foundation for controlled sustainable hunting.
Game husbandry in Finland also includes management plans for different game species, drawn up at the Finnish Wildlife Agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Management plans are drawn up in a process involving extensive participation of different stakeholders and the plans are processed as part of societal decision-making in order to meet the expectations of a pluralist society on good management of game species.
Prevention of damages caused by game is one subdomain of game husbandry. Deer, for instance, cause damages to agriculture and forestry and in traffic. Landowners are paid compensation for damages to agriculture and forestry through the fund of licence fees collected from the hunters. Further, the Finnish Wildlife Agency assists landowners in preventing the damages.