What is the situation of wolves in our forests?

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Wed, 06.11.2019 - 11:45

Information from the Environmental Board
Photo: Valeri Štšerbatõh
Estonian text posted 31.10.2019

.The Environmental Board has confirmed a primary hunting number of 61 specimens for wolves


The Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet) has confirmed a primary hunting number of 61 specimens for wolves.

The aim of the wolf hunt which runs from November to the end of February is to control  their numbers and so reduce  predator damage to domestic animal owners caused by wolves.

As practiced earlier the wolf hunt will be directed to areas with most predator damage. At the same time it is attempted not to disturb wolf packs in larger natural territories. Such an arrangement will maintain the favourable conditions of the wolf population as well as the ecological role of the species while avoiding excessive damage to livestock breeders.

In determining the hunting number limits the number of hunted wolves proposed by the Environment Agency (Keskkonnaagentuur) and the data on damage caused by wolves collected  by the Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet) were used as a basis.

„The wolf is doing well in Estonia, The number of wolves has increased by about 15% – while there were 20 litters last year now there are 23-24. The structure and volume of the hunting is based on the goal support 20 litters in mainland Estonia with the population as evenly spread across suitable wolf habitats as possible ,“ Aimar Rakko, head of the hunting and aquatic life department of the Environmental Board said.

For better control of the damage the hunting of wolves is arranged already for the second year on larger control areas often encompassing areas in several counties. Altogether there are more than 20 such areas in Estonia; the first hunting limit of this year is directed to 16 of these.  Hunting allowances are initially not established for the Ida-Harju, Hiiu, Pärnu-Viljandi and Põhja-Läänemaa management areas  where predator damage is significantly lower  compared to earlier years or where reliable information on the litter numbers of wolves is lacking.

This year 144 cases of wolf caused damage have been registered, most of which occurred in the Harju, Järva, Rapla and Viljandi counties. Because of this  the greatest numbers of wolves may be hunted in the Järva (10), Harju (10), Pärnu-Rapla (6) and Valga-Tartu (6) areas. While last year 524 sheep were killed this year’s number in the beginning of the wolf hunt is 477. In addition wolves have this year killed 15 cattle, 3 goats and 12 dogs .


„This year a debate was caused by the suspicion that a wolf attacked a human in Hiiumaa. Experts from  the Environmental Board and Environment Agency studied the case in place, where it turned out that a dog actually caused the attack, The wolf has enough food in nature and due to the regular hunting the wolves’ shyness of humans has been preserved. Due to this there is not reason to fear that a wolf would attack a human ,“ Aimar Rakko said.

The hunting allowance is adjusted during the hunting period following monitoring observations and predator damage. The more data we get from the hunters the better the size and growth of the wolf herd can be estimated and following from this also the size of an additional hunting allowance decided.

During the previous hunting season hunting of 65 wolves was  allowed in Estonia. Actually 66 wolves were shot, 6 of them by special permission outside the hunting period to prevent  wolf damage. For 2019 a special permit has been issued for the hunting of one wolf in Rapla county which has not yet been carried out as of today.

Wolf hunting may be arranged as  still (ambush) hunt or stalking hunt from November 1st to February 28th.

The wolf hunting numbers, other data and map of areas can be found on the Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet) website

Hundijälge pildistas Aimar Rakko

Wolf tracks photographed by Aimar Rakko

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