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Prosecutors probe Swedish beaver hunters

Prosecutors probe Swedish beaver hunters

Published: 11 May 2012 12:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 May 2012 12:53 GMT+02:00

Four men who were arrested while out hunting beaver in central Sweden at the weekend are being held in custody as prosecutors continue their hunting crimes investigation related to suspected illegal hunting of wolves.

Police used a helicopter to track down and arrest the four men last Sunday in a wooded area on the border between Dalarna and Härjedalen counties in north central Sweden.

A fifth hunter who was with the group at the time of the dramatic arrest was initially released.

"We were out doing reconnaissance in beaver territory because we had two Danish hunting guests on the way," a 28-year-old hunter who had separated from the group to track a wolverine told Jakt & Jägare, the official publication of the Swedish Hunting Association (Jägarnas Riksförbund).

"The police hovered over me with a helicopter, but they didn't arrest me."

On Wednesday, the four men arrested on Sunday were remanded in custody, while the 28-year-old was arrested. On Thursday, prosecutors have filed a remand order request for the fifth man as well.

All five are being held on suspicions of illegally hunting wolves, but deny having committed any crime.

Local prosecutor Åse Schoultz told Svergies Radio (SR) that the arrests came as part of an ongoing investigation into the killing of wolves which were believed to have been hunted using snowmobiles.

According to tabloid Aftonbladet, one of the five men is a prominent member of a group that has expressed its frustration over Sweden's wildlife management policies.

"There's no place for predatory animals in areas where people live and work," reads the group's homepage.

The man's attorney, Stefan Müntzing, told the paper that his client is simply one of many people "who have view about prevailing predatory animal policies".

Schoultz now has two weeks to file formal charges against the men.

In 2009, Sweden decided to reintroduce a licenced wolf hunter after a 45-year ban on the practice.

The controversial decision has prompted legal action from the European Commission, which argues that the hunt violates EU rules regarding the protection of endangered species.

The hunt was halted for the 2011-2012 hunting season, but the government hopes to resume the hunt for the 2012-2013 season.

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Your comments about this article

15:38 May 11, 2012 by Svensksmith
Best be careful, a wounded beaver is a dangerous animal indeed.
16:44 May 11, 2012 by Vermaldeehide
Jag trodde det var om något helt annat.
18:46 May 11, 2012 by Swedishmyth
Between stuff like this and the incessant traffic stop fetish the Swedish police engages in, I wonder how many violent crimes could've been prevented or resolved instead?
02:47 May 12, 2012 by Tanskalainen
They say Swedish beavers are nice and clean.
14:43 May 12, 2012 by Harry Grouse
We all have to obey the law. Who would feel safe in the woods with gun totting kill everything hunters? Does not matter what group you belong to there needs to be ediquite and rules to follow. Like it or not
15:04 May 12, 2012 by skylarkpilot
Am I the only one that thinks hunting beaver in Sweden is rather a good idea ?
18:42 May 12, 2012 by johan rebel
"Am I the only one that thinks hunting beaver in Sweden is rather a good idea"

No, but you belong to a tiny minority. There are about 300,000 hunters in Sweden,

or 3.15% of the population. The number is falling, with the percentage decreasing even faster. Hunting is mainly the pursuit of aging males who have trouble controling their primitive instincts. They mostly hunt moose and deer, very few hunt beaver.
01:14 May 13, 2012 by Tanskalainen
Local if you going to post a photo of a beaver at least shave it first.
00:42 May 17, 2012 by banuazizi
Aren't beavers rare animals and perhaps endangered ?
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