Wild reindeer hunting in Norway


Between 4,000 and 5,000 wild reindeer are killed each year in the hunting season. The number varies according to the population figures in the wild reindeer areas. But, why do we hunt wild reindeer?

Is hunting a necessary method of harvesting?

Man has hunted wild reindeer for tens of thousands of years. Reindeer have been important as a food resource and for settlement in Norway. In earlier times, reindeer were hunted with bows and arrows and trapped in pits and large-scale trapping systems. Today, the harvesting of wild reindeer continues through active hunting. Hunting is the main cause of mortality in wild reindeer in Norway. This regulates the populations in each wild reindeer area, so that the population does not grow larger than the grazing resources permit at any time.

Culture bearer

Hunting is an important factor in population regulation. In addition, hunting and the hunter are important bearers of an ancient culture -  the hunter culture. Today’s hunters are not dependent on the meat for survival. For many Norwegians, game is a welcome change in their daily diet. .

Figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that between 8,000 and 9,000 people hunt wild reindeer each year. Why do so many people hunt? Most hunters will cite several  reasons – to harvest nature’s resources, for outdoor recreation, to keep fit and for social interaction with friends. This set of reasons, and the culling of the populations, means that hunting is important to hunters and to the communities in which they hunt.