The Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources has decided to extend the annual hunting season by three days this year, increasing it to 15 days from last year’s 12, mbl.is reports. Ptarmigan season begins today, October 26th, and will take place on the next four subsequent weekends until it ends on Sunday, November 25th.
Rock ptarmigan are still hunted in Iceland as they are considered a delicacy, often consumed on Christmas Eve. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History claims the preservation status the ptarmigan gained in 2003 has helped immensely to restore the numbers. And indeed, the estimated total number of ptarmigan in Iceland as of this spring was 173,000, up from 132,000 in 2016.
A noticeable decrease in ptarmigan hunting has also taken place since 2005. Last season, the hunting quota for last past hunting season allowed for 57,000 ptarmigans to be shot.
The recommended number of ptarmigans to be hunted this year is 67,000. Based on the number of hunters that have registered in previous years, this would come out to an average of ten ptarmigans a hunter. However, the current ban on the sale of ptarmigan remains in place.
The Ministry for the Environment credits the increased stability of the ptarmigan population for the extension of the hunting season and explained that adding the extra days will also hopefully reduce stress on the hunting grounds.