Illegal killing

The Criminal Code of Finland lays down provisions on game offence, which means hunting without authorisation in someone else’s hunting area and exceeding the hunting rights based on law, permit, agreement or decision. Game offence also includes the intentional trapping or killing of an unprotected animal in an area where the person does not have the right or permit to do so. The sentence for a game offence is a fine.

A hunting offence means unlawful hunting using a trap or trapping method that is prohibited by the Hunting Act if the act is intentional or performed through gross negligence. The offence also covers hunting in violation of the restriction on the use of a motor vehicle, as provided in the Hunting Act. Under the Criminal Code, hunting offences also include hunting in violation of a provision in the Hunting Act or a provision or an order given on the basis of the Act which protects game, prohibits or restricts hunting or establishes a limit, or hunting without a hunting licence, a cervid hunting licence or a derogation. Other hunting offences include endangering or harming a person or the property of another during hunting or violating a hunting prohibition or restriction that has been issued for public safety.

An offender shall be sentenced for an aggravated hunting offence if the hunting offence is committed in a particularly brutal or cruel manner, the object of the offence is a large amount of game, considerable financial benefit is sought, the offence is committed in a particularly planned manner, or a wolverine, lynx, bear, forest reindeer, otter or wolf is killed or injured and the offence is aggravated also when assessed as a whole.

For a hunting offence, the sentence is a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of two years. For an aggravated hunting offence, the sentence is imprisonment for at least four months and at most four years.