Hunting and biodiversity

The main framework document for Estonian hunting is the Hunting Act


Hunting allows to regulate animal abundance, ensure species diversity, the viability of populations, and hunting productivity, and prevent extensive damage to forestry and other economic activities (e.g. agriculture).


The main framework document for Estonian hunting is the Hunting Act, which provides for the creation and use of hunting districts, monitoring of wild game, harvest quotas and structure, and other principles of hunting. It determines the documents certifying hunting rights, provides for the compensation for damage caused by wild game, and establishes the state supervision and liability.


Hunting district  is an area created for big game hunt, the hunting ground area within a circular boundary of which is at least 5,000 hectares. Under the Hunting Act, hunting grounds are organised and granted for use as hunting districts for ten years. The right to hunt is guaranteed to hunting associations by a valid usage right agreement, which sets out the user’s obligations, such as the monitoring of wild game. A hunting fee is paid to the state for the right to hunt.


Wild game (hereinafter game) is divided, for the purpose of its protection and control, into big game and small game.


Big game animals are:

  1. moose;
  2. red deer;
  3. roe deer;
  4. wild boar;
  5. brown bear;
  6. wolf;
  7. lynx;
  8. grey seal.

The list of small game is provided for in hunting rules, which are established by a regulation of the Minister of the Environment.


The most populous species of big game in Estonia is the roe deer. It is followed by the wild boar and the moose. Roe deer and wild boar are also the most hunted game in Estonia.


The land owner has the right, to the extent and pursuant to the procedure provided by the Hunting Act:

  1. to organise small game hunt on their land;
  2. to enter into agreement for the organisation of hunting activities on their immovable;
  3. to establish conditions for hunting or prohibit hunting on their land;
  4. to initiate the replacement of the user of a hunting district;
  5. to make proposals to the hunting council for making changes to the boundaries of a hunting district.

There are also hunting councils. The hunting council shall be formed for the organisation of regional hunting activities comprising on equal grounds the users of a hunting district and the representatives of land owners. A state representative shall also be appointed to the hunting council. The territorial jurisdiction of a hunting council shall not be larger than a county.



Last modified: 12.01.2022