Pirkanmaa Bowhunting Club
Pirkanmaa Bowhunting Club (PJM) is one of the biggest and oldest Finnish bowhunting clubs, established in 1993. Clubs hometown is Tampere and operational area is Pirkanmaa and surrounding region. Currently club has 137 active members.
PJM is nonprofit hunting club and its purpose is to offer bow hunting services to club members and spread knowledge about bowhunting. To fulfill its purpose, club offers: bowhunting opportunities, target practicing opportunities, archery competition opportunities, bow tuning sessions and training for club members, general knowledge about bowhunting and equipment, knowledge about sustainable hunting and nature conservation, bowhunting presentations and demonstrations to local and national media and partners.
PJM arranges hunting trips for club members, typically once per month throughout the hunting season. Depending on hunters preferences, location and season, hunting usually concentrates on specific hunting style and specific game, such as wild boar, white tail, roe deer, pheasant, mountain hare etc.
There are several archery target practice ranges in Tampere area. FITA outdoor range is located in Kauppi, indoor range in Osmonkallio, Tampere downtown area. Mainly PJM members practice on field archery range in Sasi. Sasi range is located on area rented from City of Tampere and built in the woods to simulate actual hunting situations. Sasi practice range has regular targets, 3D -targets and moving targets. The range is open for club members all year around but there is less maintenance during winter.
PJM arranges several bowhunting and archery competitions per year, typically outside hunting season. Some competitions are for club members only, some are open for external bowhunters and archers as well.
Memebership in FFAA (Finnish Field Archery Association) and SJML (Finnish Bowhunting Association) entitles club members to participate in FFAA and SJML national field archery and bowhunting competitions.
Presentations, Demonstrations and Training
PJM presents and demonstrates bowhunting on demand in events such as outdoor and hunting fairs, sport events and company recreation events. Co - operation with local and national media is also important for spreading knowledge about bowhunting. Training and bow tuning sessions for club members are arranged each year.
Bowhunting in Finland and Local Legislation as of 1.8.2017
BOWHUNTING IN GENERAL
Bowhunting has always been legal in Finland, but only during the past 20-25 years the national bowhunting associations and hunting associations have been actively driving bow and arrow towards equal legal status with other hunting weapons.
In Finland there are roughly 300 000 hunters and according to surveys, the approximate number of bowhunters is somewhere between 16 000 and 19 000. This is an estimation since not all bowhunters belong to local clubs or national associations and therefore are not registered. This estimated number includes hunters using both bow and firearm for hunting and those who only use bow for hunting.
Buying and selling hunting bows and related equipment does not require any permit or license from local authorities. On the other hand, getting permits for buying hunting firearms in Finland is very strictly regulated. Importing hunting bows and related equipment to Finland for hunting trips is also relatively easy.
Finland is divided into 17 gamekeeping districts, responsible for district level hunting supervision and management and inside these districts there are 295 gamekeeping associations responsible for local hunting operational activities, management and monitoring. Inside the districts, Finland has several hundreds local hunting clubsand out of these the number of local bowhunting clubs is approximately 30-40 (meaning clubs concentrating only on bowhunting). In addition, some “regular” hunting clubs have bowhunting divisions and some bigger target archery clubs, especially in Southern Finland, have bowhunting divisions.
As of 1.8.2017, according to the new hunting legislation, it is legal to hunt big game with a bow and arrow in Finland (the biggest game animals being White Tail Deer, Mouflon and Wild Boar). Prior to this new hunting law, European roe deer was the biggest game animal legal for bowhunting.
The hunting legislation and requirements are the same for compound bow and traditional bow; from legal a perspective they are treated exactly the same way. The same bowhunting legislation applies for the whole country, with the exception in hunting regulations on Ahvenanmaa, an island off the south coast of Finland (Ahvenanmaa island is a semi-self-determination area of Finland and there is slightly different legislation for many things, including hunting regulations). However, there are some variations in the game specific hunting seasons length depending on the geographical area of Finland. Also, based on annual game population calculations, some game animals may be protected during some seasons or the quota of hunting permits granted for specific game may vary depending on the strength of the game population.
LOCAL LEGISLATION, AS OF 1.8.2017The new Finnish Hunting Law came into effect 1.8.2017.The Hunting Law is supported by Hunting Decree 516 / 2017 (additional Decree defining rules for bowhunting) and by Hunting Decree 517 / 2017 (additional Decree defining shooting test for big game). The additional Decrees came into effect as of 7.8.2017. When combining the Hunting Law and additional Decrees, the following legal requirements must be met when hunting with a bow and arrow in Finland:
- A bow may only be used for hunting rabbit, mountain hare, brown hare, red squirrel, European beaver, Canadian beaver, Muskrat, Nutria, farmed Arctic Fox, Red Fox, Raccoon Dog, Raccoon, Badger, Ermine, Polecat, Pine Marten, Mink, Roe Deer, Wild Boar, White Tail Deer, Fallow Deer, Red Deer, Sika Deer, Finnish Forest Deer, Mouflon and birds belonging to game animals (e.g. Wood Grouse, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse, Pheasant, Goose, wild duck etc.) as well as unprotected animals. Some game animals require hunting permit applied from the Finnish Wildlife Agency.
- Only a bow for which the draw weight is at minimum 180 newtons (180 N) may be used for hunting a game animal. This equals roughly to 40,5 lbs. draw weight. This minimum draw weight applies to all game animals allowed for bowhunting and to all bow types.
- The arrow tip to be used for shooting an animal must be such that an accurate hit is fatal on impact. If a bow is used for shooting any Deer type, Wild Boar, Mouflon, European Beaver, Canadian Beaver or European Roe Deer, the arrow must have a cutting tip (Broadhead) with a minimum cutting edge diameter of 22 millimeters. If a bow is used for shooting European Beaver or Canadian Beaver the arrow must be attached to the bow with fishing line or string.
- When hunting Wild Boar, any Deer type and Mouflon, bow shooting test certificate is mandatory. Shooting test in short:
- Invitations to bow shooting test events are published minimum 1 week in advance on the Finnish Wildlife Agency web page. Gamekeeping district associations are responsible for inviting and arranging the tests, but typically they grant the practical arrangements to local hunting clubs and use local hunting clubs shooting ranges for the tests. The test supervisor must accomplish Finnish Wildlife Agency training program and thus gain justification to supervise and conduct the test.
- The bowhunter has 180 seconds time to shoot 3 arrows into a 23 cm diameter target from a distance of 18 m.
- All 3 arrows must hit the target, or at least break the outer line of the target.
- The round target is the middle section of the bigger Moose target face, the same target face as used in the Finnish rifle shooting test for Moose (please note that it is not allowed to hunt moose with bow and arrow in Finland).
- The bowhunter may choose a standing up position, sitting position or a kneeling down position.
- The bow to be used in the test must meet the minimum requirement of 180 N draw weight.
- The test is shot using target points on the arrows. The arrow material or fletching does not matter.
- The test fee is 20 € per test session. During one session the bowhunter may try to accomplish the test 5 times and in case of 5 failures in a row, the bowhunter must participate to another test session later.
- The bowhunter may pass the test on any gamekeeping district, the certificate is valid in the whole country (except for Ahvenanmaa island).
- This shooting test for big game came into effect on 7.8.2017.
- For European roe deer, there is a transition period for the shooting test requirement. Shooting test for European roe deer will become mandatory as of 1.1.2018.
- There is a requirement of keeping cased a hunting bow during transportation when the bow is transported through an area for which the bowhunter has no hunting permit. This requirement applies to bow transportation of any kind, also inside e.g. a car, if the hunting bow is visible (as on the back seat of the car). This clause of the Hunting Law came into effect as of 1.8.2017 and is the same for hunting firearms.
- All the legal requirements above apply equally for compound bow and traditional bow. Also, the shooting test is the same for compound bow and traditional bow.
- Hunting with a Crossbow in Finland is prohibited by the law.
- Bow fishing is allowed and treated legally the same way as trident fishing.
- International bowhunting certificates (such as IBEP) are not mandatory in Finland (but recommended, of course). Exception for IBEP requirement is Ahvenanmaa Island off the south coast of Finland. On Ahvenanmaa island, the shooting test is also different. In this test the bowhunter must shoot 6 arrows from distances between 5-25 meters (distances are not marked, they need to be estimated) and 5 out of 6 arrows must hit the target. The test must be passed annually. When hunting on Ahvenanmaa island, there are also specific requirements concerning arrow weight. Ahvenanmaa Island is a semi-self-determination area of Finland and there is slightly different legislation regulating hunting.
- There are some requirements in the law for disinfecting the hunting weapons, arrows, boots, clothes and other gear after wild boar kill. This is mainly to protect Finnish pig farms from pig plague disease infection. Pig plague risk is considerable especially in the South-East parts of Finland; some cases have been identified in the wild boars crossing over the Russian border to Finland.
WHEN A FOREIGN BOWHUNTER WANTS TO MAKE A HUNTING TRIP TO FINLAND
Foreign bowhunters can hunt in Finland, but they need a valid Finnish hunting license. For big game hunting (any Deer type, Wild Boar, Mouflon) also a valid bow shooting test certificate is mandatory.
For a foreign bowhunter, basic legal requirements and instructions are as follows:
- Foreign bowhunter must present valid hunting license (valid in bowhunters home country) to local Finnish authority (copy of the license sufficient). In this case, the Finnish authority means the operational manager of particular gamekeeping association, inside specific gamekeeping district.
- After delivering the hunting license, the gamekeeping association operational manager will then grant Finnish hunting license to the foreign bowhunter.
- Depending on the work queue in specific gamekeeping association, typically 2-3 weeks should be reserved for this part of the process.
- The requirement for having a Finnish hunting license applies for hunting with all legal hunting weapons (bows, rifles and shotguns equally).
- If a bowhunter is not able to present a valid hunting license or a copy of it, the hunter must pass the Finnish hunting exam. The exam is theoretical test for which the hunter must read hunting guide books and then pass the test. The exam is the same for all hunters, regardless of the hunting weapon type.
- So, some preparation time and a local contact should be reserved when coming to Finland to hunt with bow and arrow.
- If a foreign bowhunter only hunts small game (smaller than European roe deer), no shooting test certificate is required.
- When hunting big game (any type of Deer, Wild Boar, Mouflon and European Roe Deer), shooting test certificate is mandatory (as mentioned before, for European Roe Deer only beginning from 1.1.2018).
- However, there is a clause in Finnish Hunting Law for a local shooting test workaround for foreign bowhunters. If a foreign bowhunter can present a valid certificate of similar kind of bow shooting test in the hunters home country, it is valid also in Finland. In this case, Finnish shooting test can be skipped. Or, if the bowhunter can present a valid certificate or document that the hunter has the right to hunt the same game animal in the hunters home country, the Finnish shooting test can also be skipped. Otherwise, foreign bowhunter must pass the Finnish bow shooting test and get the Finnish shooting test certificate. Please note that when writing this instruction (19.8.2017) this is a relatively new clause in the Finnish hunting law and we do not know if any foreign shooting test validations are in process yet. Also, how the “similar kindof bow shooting test ” is legally interpreted exactly, is somewhat grey area. This part of the legal advice will be updated when we have the first practical reference cases.
- The documents required from foreign bowhunter are: ID or copy of ID (typically passport, or ID card from EU citizens), copy of bowhunters local valid hunting license and shooting test certificate. In case of random license inspection during the hunting trip, these documents must also be presented to the police or the hunting ranger.
- Until the end of year 2017 it was mandatory to pay for annual VHF hunting radio fee if VHF hunting radio was to be used during hunting. Beginning from 1.1.2017 using VHF radios is free so this is not valid requirement any more. Please notice, that legal radio frequencies vary between different countries; in Finland hunting radios must operate on 67-72 MHz frequency.
- White tail hunting requires hunting permission. This is the same for bowhunters and rifle hunters equally. In practice, it goes so that local hunting clubs apply for specific amount of hunting permissions every season from the Finnish Wildlife Agency. Then, the Agency grants hunting permits according to previously conducted game animal population calculation on the specific area. This granted quota must be met but not exceeded. This is part of local game animal quantum regulation, applied for game like white tail, moose, bear, wolf, bobcat etc.
- So, foreign bowhunter should have a local contact in a local hunting club or in a particular gamekeeping association and some clubs sell their hunting permits so that foreign hunters can hunt. For bowhunters this is new practice since this is the first bowhunting season (2017-2018) for white tail using bow and arrow.
- Most likely commercial bowhunting opportunities will be rapidly developing in Finland now that big game became legal for bow and arrow 1.8.2017.
- Theoretically, it is possible to apply for white tail hunt permits on state owned areas, but especially in southern Finland it is close to impossible to get new areas for hunting white tails, almost all the areas are already rented to clubs. Furthermore, by the law, the minimum connected, unified geographical ground area for hunting white tail is 500 hectares. If the connected area is smaller, no hunting permits will be granted.
- European roe deer, mouflon, wild boar and other small game do not have such minimum area requirements.
- For all types of hunting, you also need the permission from the hunting ground owner. Ground owner can be private owner, company or state or combination. It is typical that local hunting club needs to make several contracts with several hunting ground owners, in order to meet the 500 hectares requirement for white tail.
- The same hunting legislation applies in Finland in the whole country. However, hunting seasons may vary slightly depending on geographical area of Finland.
- Information concerning game seasons are maintained on Finnish Wildlife Agency pages and revised annually.
- We recommend to study the more detailed instructions on the Finnish Wild life Agency, Finnish Hunter Association and Finnish Bowhunting Association web pages.
WHITE TAIL DEER HUNTING IN FINLAND
- White Tail Deer is an imported species in Finland. The first animalswere imported to southern Finland during the early 1930s and kept in captivity in Laukko mansion by a private mansion owner. Imported population was small, less than 10 individuals and they were released into the wild in 1938.
- After that, the White Tail population has grown and after last hunting season (2015 / 2016) Natural Resources Institution of Finland estimated that current population is approximately 70 000 animals. Estimation is that the population volume has roughly doubled during the past 10 years.
- A hunting permit granted by Finnish Wildlife Agency is required forhunting white tail.
- During the last hunting season, approximately 26 000 white tail deer were hunted in Finland.
- Population mainly lives in southern parts of Finland. Global warming is a benefit for the white tail, allowing them slowly to spread towards the North. First sighting of white tail deer in Sweden was made in 2008 and Sweden is trying to prevent species spreading to Sweden. Also, Finnish white tail population is slowly seeking for new living territory in Russia, on the areas close to South-East Finnish border.
- To control the population volume, the trend seems to be to grant more white tail hunting permits in the near future, but let´s see how it goes.
- Annually in Finland approximately 3000 car accidents are reported with white tail deer involved.
- Currently, most popular hunting methods are chasing deer with hounds as group hunting and stalking on tree stand (over deer trails or deer feeding ground). Luring is not as popular as e.g. in the US, at least not yet. Now that hunting white tail with bow and arrow is legal, maybe luring will become more popular.
- Finnish Wildlife Agency
- Finnish Wildlife Agency brochures
- Finnish Hunter Association
- Finnish Hunter Association instruction: Hunting in Finland (PDF)
- Finnish Bowhunting Association
- Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry - Wildlife and game
- Natural resources Institution Finland