Hunting is a popular outdoor recreation activity in Norway. Game species must be managed carefully to maintain the productivity of the environment and species diversity.
Hunting rights belong to the landowner
Hunting rights belong to the landowner, and are not included in access rights. Hunting is therefore only allowed if you have permission from the landowner, which may mean the state, a local authority or an individual. The only exception is that you do not need permission from a landowner to hunt seabirds on the sea from the shoreline or from a boat (but you must have been resident in Norway for at least the past year). In addition, all hunters must be registered in the Norwegian Register of Hunters and pay the annual hunting licence fee before the start of the hunting season.
Under Norwegian law, all wildlife species, including their eggs, nests and lairs, are protected unless the legislation explicitly states otherwise. The Norwegian Enviroment Agency lays down hunting seasons for game species.
Game species are divided into two groups in the legislation. Small game includes species like ptarmigan, willow grouse, capercaillie, black grouse, ducks, geese, pigeons, hare, mink and red fox, while the most important species of large game are moose, roe deer, wild reindeer and red deer.
Hunting is strictly regulated
Hunters must be skilled in handling firearms, traps and other equipment, and must be familiar with relevant rules and regulations. They must know which species they may hunt and be able to recognise them.
New hunters must pass a proficiency test
Anyone who is resident in Norway and planning to hunt for the first time must take a hunting proficiency test. They must follow an obligatory 30-hour course and take a theory test. The courses are arranged by adult education associations, and the municipalities hold the electronic tests and issue certificates to candidates who have followed the course and passed the test. There is a fee for the course and test.
Permanent residents of other countries do not need to take the test if they can provide proof of a similar qualification for hunting in their own country. Documentation must be sent to the Norwegian Register of Hunters.
The minimum age for hunting alone is 16 years for small game and 18 years for large game.
Hunting seasons and quotas
Regulations under the Wildlife Act list game species and open seasons, and set out other rules for hunting.
For large game, hunting is organised in areas ("vald") that must be above a stipulated minimum size, and the local authorities issue quotas for the relevant species in these areas. For both large and small game, the landowner may limit the length of the hunting season and the number of animals a hunter may shoot per day. In areas where lynx hunting is permitted, the regional carnivore management boards set the quotas.