75,000 animals shot last hunting season

Hunters. Source: Aimar Rakko/Keskkonnaamet

Hunting data for the 2022/2023 hunting season suggests that 74,285 specimens of game were shot, down by more than 9,000 from the previous period.

Compared to previous years, hunters killed more red deer and wild boar this outgoing season. Roe deer, raccoon dog, beaver and jackal hunting figures were down.

The most hunted animal was roe deer, with 20,623 animals shot. This is down 4,000-10,000 specimens compared to the previous season. It is believed the abundance of the animals has fallen in some hunting districts. The other reason is growing lynch and wolf populations that also keep roe deer numbers in check, an Environmental Agency spokesperson said.

A total of 4,551 specimens of moose were shot. Because 2022 saw the lowest increment in moose populations for the last 15 years, fewer calves were hunted, with the total number of moose shot down 10 percent compared to the 2021 season and 5 percent compared to 2020.

Red deer hunting volume was up, however, to 3,270 specimens of which 86 percent in Saaremaa and Hiiumaa where the deer are especially abundant. The range and numbers of red deer have been growing from one year to the next.

The 2022 hunting season saw 13,523 wild boar kills for a considerable increase from the previous five years. The Environment Agency said that hunting pressure on wild board population should match the annual increment at the very least to avoid a higher risk of the African swine flu spreading in Estonia.

The hunting quota for wolves was increased after wolf populations grew beyond the large predators containment target of 20-30 packs with young in 2022. Damage wolves caused to livestock farmers was also up. A total of 116 wolves were hunted for a considerable increase since 2021 (60 wolves).

Bear populations are believed to have grown to their biggest in known history over the last decade, and the damage they do to beekeepers and farmers has grown as well. Hunting quotas have been hiked over the last three years. Last season saw 91 bears shot, up from 85 the year before.

Small game hunting volume was down compared to last season. This concerned fox (3,423), raccoon dog (4,734) and pine marten (1,286) populations as well as beavers. The 2022 season's 36 jackal kills were also down on previous years.

Mallard and woodcocks were among more popular targets among fowl. While hunting volume was down for some species of bird, it grew in the case of barnacle goose.

In all, 74,285 specimens of game were hunted last year, including 57,994 (78 percent) mammals and 16,335 (22 percent) birds of various species.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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