Criminal activity concerning the hunting of wolves in Joensuu

The police of Eastern Finland informs on April 11th 2018.

On New Year’s eve 2017, two women walking their dogs saw an animal running under a power line in Uskali, Kiihtelysvaara (near Joensuu, Eastern Finland). According to the women, the animal was with certainty a wolf, which behaved as if it was running away from something. Some time after their observation, the women saw parked cars with hunters around them nearby. The hunters told the women they were fox hunting. 

The incident was reported to the police after a couple of days and since it hadn’t snowed, the police was able to investigate the site. A police patrol specialising in wildlife monitoring followed tracks, which according to the women were wolf tracks. The tracks led to the snowmobile path. A couple dozen meters away a lot of blood and hairs were found. At this point a pretrial investigation of a hunting felony was launched, on the basis of there being cause to suspect that a wolf had been shot in that area. After the laboratory results the title of the investigation was changed to a hunting crime, since there was no evidence to show if the wolf had been harmed.

During the pretrial investigation the police carried out plenty of investigative procedures, such as technical investigation, searches and arrests. The police also seized several dog radars, GPS equipment and mobile phones. After the pretrial investigation there are nine men suspected of a hunting crime. The men are from Joensuu, Tohmajärvi and Kitee. Five of them were arrested during the pretrial investigation and one held in pretrial detention. The men have told varying stories about the New Year’s eve. Some have admitted the hunting of a wolf and the fact that all the men participating in the hunt were aware of its purpose. Some of the suspects have denied hunting a wolf on the day in question and claim that they had been instead fox hunting. The hunting started after some of the suspects found the tracks. Several dogs were used during the hunt. 

During the searches the police found flaws in the storage of weapons and four men are suspected of a firearm violation. 

A large amount of investigation material has been delivered to the prosecutor of Eastern Finland.