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Bear hunting season opens in Sweden

Bear hunting season opens in Sweden

Published: 21 Aug 2011 09:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Aug 2011 09:09 GMT+02:00

Bears in Sweden unwittingly live on the edge as the year’s autumn bear hunting season opens Sunday in both central and northern parts of the country.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency - EPA (Naturvårdsverket) will now continue a research project begun last year regarding the highly controversial bait hunting technique (åteljakt).

"We have now come far enough in our investigation to put the technique into practice in order to understand its effects. We have hired bear experts to study the effect the bait-technique has on bears and will therefore allow it in this year's hunt," said EPA wildlife management head Per Risberg in a statement.

The study, which involves bait hunting, or food that is intentionally placed to facilitate scouting and hunting of the bears, investigates a technique which is under great debate in Sweden.

This year the experiment expanded to include three additional counties.

In total, 293 bears have been shot in the six counties during the spring hunt, with more than half killed in Jämtland and Norrbotten counties.

This is a slight increase over last year's 276 bears.

The Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project received about 1,3 million kronor ($200,000) towards the study.

In 2001, the EPA initially banned leaving bait to attract and then shoot the bears. The decision was based on assessing the risks of bears becoming unafraid of humans due to increased contact, and female bears with cubs that could be aggravated at the bait.

The purpose of the study is to see if the risk assessment is correct, and if bait hunting is indeed safer hunting for bear hunters.

Brown bears are widely distributed in the northern half of the country and there is some evidence that suggests their range is increasing.

According to a 2004 study by the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project, the Swedish bear population hovers between 1,635 and 2,840 individual bears, with an annual rise in population of about 4.7 percent.

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

12:34 August 21, 2011 by gabeltoon
I am saddened by this report. IF you have to hunt at least do it on a level playing field. I mean at least give the bears a chance.This baiting is unfair and does not give the bear a chance to take another route.By all means remove an animal who has become a danger to life and livestock but we should all LIVE AND LET LIVE. My comments are probably upsetting the hunters out there and you might say how can i comment when i don't live there.If there were more details published of how the bear population is effecting the surrounding countryside and livestock then perhaps i might understand the hunt better.
12:49 August 21, 2011 by Osk
Barbaric savages that enjoy killing and now they want to make it safer for themselves. All this """" they come out with about the joy of combing the forest, searching for the animal and what one might call real hunting is thrown out the window when what they actually want it to do is bait it and shoot it - that is not hunting in the way hunters have described to me. Clearly they just enjoy killing.
16:41 August 21, 2011 by Streja
Plus it's bad as it makes the bears think that humans are non-threatening.
18:15 August 21, 2011 by Redbee
Most cowardly way to kill animals and makes me dislike hunters even more . There is much i like about Sweden but Some aspects of it are not so nice .
19:41 August 21, 2011 by summo
funny are folk moan about the hunting of few bears and the manner in which they are hunted, but few folk care how the animals that eventually stock the fridges and freezers of ICA lived and were killed ! Out of sight and out of mind, as long as it cheap I wont think about the living conditions and transportation of hens, pigs, cows... etc.
19:51 August 21, 2011 by DaveN
Hunters aren't demanding this. It is amethod being investigated by the authorities as a possible way of making it easier to control the bear population. One of the reasons behind it is so many hunting dogs are being killed by wolves, that in some areas hunters are reluctant to use them. The whole wolf thing is upsetting the balance of what has been a tightly controlled and well maintained wildlife here in Sweden.
20:31 August 21, 2011 by wxman
This is a humane effort. The bear population has become too large, this is just a wildlife management step, plain and simple. It would be cruel to let many of them starve or move into populated areas in an effort to find food and to kill and/or get killed there. Too many people rely on their "feelings" to guide them instead of "thinking" a matter through logically. That is more than evident here.
22:00 August 21, 2011 by Dukratus
Well it's funny how "our" species keeps growing and putting more and more pressure into the balance of the planet and no one seems to be controlling "us". Where the hell are all the other living beings supposed to live in the future? Oh excuse me, I nearly forgot planet earth has been made specially for us and us only....And yes it does bother me the way bears are treated as it bothers me the way animals are handled in animal farms and then when transported to slaughterhouses, it does bother me the way we as a race seem to disregard and despise everything else in this planet. Someone please put a stop to us for the sake of this planet's future......
22:48 August 21, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Bare hunting! Naked in the sauna is one thing but why do people want to go hunting in the nude?
05:23 August 22, 2011 by engagebrain
20:31 August 21, 2011 by wxman wrote

The bear population has become too large, this is just a wildlife management step, plain and simple. It would be cruel to let many of them starve .....

any evidence that bears are on the edge of starvation - if 9 million people can find food, fewer than 3000 bears should be fine.
09:10 August 22, 2011 by Borilla
Too large? Or, are the moderates trying to buy more votes with dead bears? Swedes seem to like to engage in shooting sports in which the prey doesn't shoot back. Shame!
10:35 August 22, 2011 by Abe L
That doesn't just go for Swedes, there are plenty of people that enjoy hunting that are not Swedish. It's a perfectly normal way of keeping wildlife populations to reasonable limits, indirectly providing food and safety.
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