The grouse hunting season got started in Finland on Saturday 10 September. Because of the weak populations in certain regions, a Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry prohibits the hunting of capercaillie in certain parts of south-western Finland while, besides southern Finland, willow grouse may not be hunted in Central Finland, North Ostrobothnia and southern parts of Kainuu.
This year the wildlife triangle censuses by hunters were even more important than before in regulating the hunting seasons. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry decided on the hunting seasons in August on the basis of triangle censuses made during the summer. The censuses provide up-to-date information on grouse populations and, for example, the recovery of the willow grouse populations again allows it to be hunted in many municipalities in northern Finland.
According to the wildlife triangle censuses, the grouse populations have grown in abundance in almost all parts of Finland. Good weather conditions led to successful nesting, while loss of young birds remained small thanks to the abundant numbers of moles and lemmings in the north for small carnivores to prey on.
The populations of black grouse and hazel grouse, in particular, are abundant in all parts of the country. The capercaillie numbers have grown as well, but in some regions the population is still scattered. The willow grouse population has also recovered in many places, but the densities are still weak and caution in hunting is in order. Grouse populations show considerable natural variation so that an abundant population one year may fall to a very low level for the next.
Caution in shooting
The Finnish Wildlife Agency wishes that due caution is maintained in bird hunting also in a good game year. In particular, hunters should always make sure that the shot is safe. At this time of the year black grouse stays in seedling stands and bushes where the visibility is weak. Hunters often walk in line and shoot at the birds which fly off. In this type of hunt flat shots should be avoided. One should never fire off unless the background is fully secured and it is certain that the shot will hit its target. It is advisable to wear red headgear when hunting in line.
The Finnish Wildlife Agency also hopes that the now quite abundant grouse populations will not make hunters too greedy. The main thing in the hunt should not be the bag but the hunt itself and the various other things involved in a hunting trip. Hunters should also take account of other people who wish to enjoy the nature. No cartridge cases, rubbish or waste should be left behind.
Hunting seasons for capercaillie and willow grouse
Capercaillie hunting is prohibited in the region of South-West Finland and in Uusimaa except in the municipalities of Lapinjärvi, Loviisa and Myrskylä. Hunting is allowed on 10–30 September in the regions of Kanta-Häme and Päijät-Häme and in the municipalities of Akaa, Kangasala, Lempäälä, Nokia, Pirkkala, Punkalaidun, Pälkäne, Tampere, Urjala, Valkeakoski and Vesilahti in the region of Pirkanmaa, in the municipalities of Eurajoki, Eura, Huittinen, Köyliö, Rauma and Säkylä in the region of Satakunta and municipalities of Lapinjärvi, Loviisa and Myrskylä in Uusimaa.
In the other parts of the country capercaillie hunting is allowed on 10 September – 31 October.
Willow grouse hunting is prohibited in the regions of South and Central Ostrobothnia, Central Finland, Ostrobothnia, North Karelia, North Savo, municipalities of Kuhmo, Paltamo and Sotkamo in the region of Kainuu and in the region of North Ostrobothnia except in the municipalities of Haukipudas, Ii, Kiiminki, Kuusamo, Oulu, Pyhäntä, Pudasjärvi, Siikalatva, Taivalkoski, Utajärvi and Yli-Ii.
In the other parts of northern Finland willow grouse hunting is allowed on 10 September – 31 October and in the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki on 10 September – 31 March. In southern Finland willow grouse is protected at all times under section 24 of the Hunting Act.
Further information at the Finnish Wildlife Agency:
Klaus Ekman, Head of Communications, tel. +358 (0)400 463 943