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Reindeer Hunting License Time

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Reindeer Hunting License Time

Reindeer, East Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Around 400 people have already applied and paid for permission to hunt reindeer this year in Iceland.

According to the Environment Agency, permission will be given to hunt 1,315 reindeer this year and the hunting season will be from August to mid-September. The reindeer stock in Iceland stands at around 7,000 animals.

It costs ISK 80,000 (EUR 673/USD 713) for permission to kill a doe reindeer, and ISK 140,000 (EUR 1,177/USD 1,249) to kill a buck.

All payment for this season’s licenses has to be made before next Tuesday, the 18th.

There are two types of reindeer, according RÚV, the forest reindeer and the tundra reindeer. All reindeer in Iceland are of the latter variety.

They are a non-native species introduced to the country in four groups, between 1771 and 1787, starting with 13 or 14 individuals in the first group.

The entire reindeer stock died in the catastrophic hard winter caused by the Laki eruption in 1783—which also killed a quarter of the humans in Iceland, as well as 80% of sheep and half of all cattle and horses. Thousands more deaths across Europe were attributed to the eruption.

Since then, the reindeer stock has become naturalized in Iceland and lives entirely as wild—with the exception only of those reindeer at Reykjavík petting zoo.

Wild reindeer are only found in East Iceland and are considered a national asset and resource which is why hunting permits are strictly controlled and issued by a government agency. Poaching incurs heavy penalties.

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