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Hunting Begins for Fowl, Seals -- and Wild Sheep

Hunting season began on Saturday for an array of small game, ranging from hares and birds to seals and wild sheep.

The most popular of these are hares. Between now and the end of February, hunters are expected to bag some 200,000 mountain hares and about 70,000 brown hares -- about the same number as in recent years. According to the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, both species are plentiful this year.

Saturday also marked the beginning of hunting season for various species of fowl, including pheasants and several kinds of waterfowl: long-tailed ducks, goosander and red-breasted mergansers.

Extremely limited hunting of two larger animals also began on Saturday: the ringed seal and the mouflon, a wild sheep that lives on islands off Pori and Inkoo -- where it was introduced in the 1930s and '40s. Permits have been issued to shoot less than 20 of them between now and the end of November.

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