THREATS TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MOOSE MANAGEMENT IN FINLAND
The large population of moose (Alces alces L.) in Finland has resulted in increased browsing damage and traffic accidents. Hunting is the only means available for controlling the moose population. Currently, about 100,000 hunters spend approximately 1 million man-days/year to harvest around 70,000 moose/year. Hunting is a voluntary activity in Finland and hunting rights below to landowners. However, the social basis of moose hunting is in danger of being eroded. The number of active farms has decreased considerably in recent years and the decrease will continue for the forseeable future. Out-migration and the aging of the rural population will continue to weaken the vitality of rural areas at least until 2030. This paper examines the current structure of moose hunting clubs in the face of these perceived threats. A quarter of the club leaders estimated that the average age of their members is between 50 and 60 years. While the membership problems are acknowledged as young people do not seem to be attracted to moose hunting, and older members are beginning to find hunting too strenuous. If moose hunting clubs are to remain viable, they must meet the challenges presented by the changing rural demographic and socio-economic conditions. Pre-conditions for hunting club membership occur in 70 - 80% of clubs and strongly reflect the nature of the current membership structure. Pre-conditions for membership may have to be revised and more will have to be done to attract younger members. While changes in the current governance of moose hunting will be required, these are unlikely to occur in the near future due to local power structures that are vested in the ties between land ownership and moose hunting.
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