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Thousands apply to join Swedish hunting boom

The Local/gm · 26 Sep 2011, 06:52

Published: 26 Sep 2011 06:52 GMT+02:00

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The start of the autumn means one thing for a growing number of Swedes – the chance to take a gun and chase wild animals.

Courses across the country are in higher demand than ever and for many an occasional hobby is becoming a lifestyle.

For the uninitiated, there are different seasons for different animals, but the most popular prey for Sweden's hunters remain elk and deer.

In southern Sweden, elk hunting can begin on the second Monday in October. Deer can be shot from October 1st to January 31st, while the grouse season opens on August 25th for three months.

There are various other dates to take a note of, depending on location on animal.

It is clearly becoming a popular pastime, but one which is still tightly regulated in Sweden and the thousands of would-be hunters require a gun license, to be over 18 and to have passed an exam.

Story continues below…

This training spans involves the hunt itself, what you need to know and do, and how to safely use a gun.

There are also courses covering the different types of hunting, and the laws that govern it, followed by a shooting test.

The test is a prerequisite for owning a gun and using it on a hunt - doubtless to be joined by the throngs of other newbies out in the woods.

The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:25 September 26, 2011 by Keith #5083
and to think there are those people who complain at young people playing - playing - 'violent cartoon video games' and not getting out into the fresh air for some 'real' activity.

Still, hunting is a good training ground.

08:43 September 26, 2011 by skogsbo
article is wrong, you should also have permission or own land to hunt on before you can get your licence.

I think the recent boom has been down to folk getting fed up with wild boar wrecking their land and costing them money. You will also find the sale of electric fences has gone up massively too.

The past 2 winters have been harsh relatively speaking for the boars though, so numbers have settled a bit. Who knows this year, seems to be a bumper mast year for acorns, so they'll be getting fat now ready for winter, or the table :)
10:03 September 26, 2011 by wabasha
the test is not so easy. A lot of people have trouble with learning male and female types of birds. if you get to many wrong you fail even if you get all the safety questions right.

I wonder how many hunters stop hunting due to old age or quit each year. are hunter numbers dropping overall?

I took a practice shooting test a few years back. its rather fun with a moving Elk target. I passed, but failed to impress anyone.
10:33 September 26, 2011 by JHahn
Good to see so many new Swedish hunters joining in, in such a great constructive family activity out in the outdoors. A traditional activity which also puts free range organic meat on the kitchen table. Well done.

I hope to hunt in Norway again next year and maybe if I am lucky in Sweden as well.

From an Aussie.
10:51 September 26, 2011 by skogsbo
the old folk; many still hold a licence but no longer hunt frequently perhaps just once a year for elk, so are almost retired, many also pass on the hunting rights (ie land access permissions) to their sons and daughters.
10:58 September 26, 2011 by Tysknaden
The usage of spear and bow should become enforced.
11:36 September 26, 2011 by Grokh
make them hunt eachother if they like it so much, damm cowards killing unarmed animals.

if elks cound carry ak 47s they wouldnt be so eager to shoot them xD
11:40 September 26, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ Tysknaden

Agreed. maybe then the fight would be on a more equal ground.

But with 10,000 running around with guns you might want them to head in to the big city centres where rats are running around. THAT would be some valid hunting.
14:23 September 26, 2011 by Tysknaden
@jacquelinee: Do you really think... they are able to hit a target as small as a rat? They would kill dogs and cats.
15:25 September 26, 2011 by Keith #5083
If they want the thrill of the hunt (usuallly apparently accompanied by a spirit dimension) why can't they just paintball the creature? I mean it's not as though anyone is starving in Sweden anymore...well, unless they've used all their money buying the hunting clothing, binoculars, infra-red scopes, radios, GPS, Segways,and the fuel from Systembolag.

Ah, but maybe we shouldn't knock tradition, huh? (notice how so many go on their horses?).
15:33 September 26, 2011 by Svensksmith
I kill to eat. Last night I killed a big Falukorv.
16:07 September 26, 2011 by wabasha
animal populations need to be managed because nobody is managing human population. to many of one animal leads to starvation, diseases or more preditors. nature itself is usually not that natural anymore. don't you find it strange in the typical swedish skog you mostly see just 4 kinds of trees? weather or not you agree with hunting is pointless. call it harvesting if it makes you feel better. whats natural about keeping a cat in an apartment? he'd rather be hunting mice and breading any day. in my opinion swedish hunters are very serious about a good clean kill, as quick as possible.
18:06 September 26, 2011 by skogsbo
can the anti hunting lobby just confirm for me that they are proper vegans, they don't eat and meat or fish? no dairy(milk, yogurt, butter, eggs) products or baked products with the same in (bread or cakes?)? nothing with gelatin etc, nothing on their clothing or foot wear either, no leather purses/wallets or bags. leather car seats... should I go on. I know you are all saints, but I'm certain you'll be hypocrits too! :)
20:11 September 26, 2011 by Keith #5083

You make a very fair point. I am not vegan nor am I vegetarian.I will not, however, eat meat from wild animals, especially when (as in my area which is in need of employment) such animals are an incredible tourist attraction.

Eating the meat of an animal that has been specifically bred for that purpose (that would not have had a life otherwise) and that has lived in relatively humane conditions (as the laws imply in Sweden) is something of a difference for me.

If 'the hunt' was really about necessary food I would not find it so 'distasteful' (excuse the pun). If it were also more 'honourable' and without so much of the modern gadgetry, I could also find it more reasonable. Man was,after all, a 'hunter' and still retains some of those genes.


This explains why so many elg were found dead of starvation during this last winter in Varmland.
21:43 September 26, 2011 by skogsbo
keith, out of sight out of mind, putting your faith in EU welfare laws? At least you''ll never see the cows face when it's up to it belly in poo, or the hen that laid it's eggs in a cage all its life. I hunt, but I also eat my own beef, lamb and some dairy all from my own fair hands, so I feel I can take the moral high gound in both respects.
22:44 September 26, 2011 by Dukratus
@ skosbo Man you're my hero, I mean......According to you no one can be against hunting or even go against your own view of things because in some way all of us have "exploited" animals, BRAVO ! Let me get this straight....I mean, if I drink milk or I eat eggs that makes me automatically an hypocrite if I am against hunting ? Does this mean we all have to agree with it then ? Does this mean we all have to be ok if I see an animal being shot ? Does that mean I am not entitled to have feelings against it ? Cause if that is the case then it means we all have to agree with you, you're just too awesome to be true, your arguments are so flawless that it's even pointless to discuss this with you. By the way I don't want to be a saint but I am afraid I will never agree with hunting out of absolute cheer necessity. If done as means to survive and feed your family then I see the point if not I don't get it even if I keep eating eggs and drinking milk and buying chinese products even knowing they still use child labor and in some ways promote slavery, does this mean I have to like the Chinese too ?
23:35 September 26, 2011 by Redbee
Is this all swedes think about ,killing animals and do they have any intellectual and spiritual consciousness concerning the earth and the creatures sharing it . I know there is hunting in every country in the world but i am getting sick of these articles about hunting as if there is nothing else important .
08:16 September 27, 2011 by skogsbo
Dukratus - yes, you need to learn where you food comes from and then you'll realise that shooting animal that has spent it's entire life in wild, is actually quite humane by comparison.

Milk - Milk comes from cows who have calved, if the calf gets the milk when it's born, you won't. So most calfs are parted from mum very early on. If the farmer isn't expanding or replace the herd then female calf are of limited value to him and don't sell on for as much as males, because they don't fatten up for beef the same. To maintain the milk flow and make a living from the very low prices farmers get from Arla etc cows need to be milking for as many days per year as possible. The key being to make sure the cow is serviced the first time she comes into season or when ever milk yield drops. If you use milk or any dairy product YOU are part of the chain for events.

Eggs - Apart from true free range hens, the rest spend a long time (if not all their time) in sheds, especially in winter. Commercial operations will be artificially lit on a timer to prevent egg laying slowing or stopping in winter. They will also be house so feed and egg collect can be carried out mechanically. If supervision is low, many will be living amongst dead inmates that haven't been cleared.

Should I go on to pigs next for you.

I've worked on some good farms and seen some that would make you wretch. If you buy something which you know is likely to reduce the life quality of an animal (ie it suffered for the 1-2years of its life) then yes, you are in the wrong, far more than any hunter. Any hunted animal will get shared out and used all used up. It also means that the family that eats the elk, deer, boar etc won't be buying some meat that has potentially be housed all it's life.

Every meat eater in the country is a hunter, you just get someone else to do your rearing and killing, then buy it in ICA all nicely wrapped up in plastic. How many of you non- hunting meat eaters could follow your animal from farm to plate and witness every process?
09:27 September 27, 2011 by Keith #5083
#skogsbo #18

respectfully, I made no reference to EU welfare laws but to the animal rights laws enacted by a Swedish parliament, so your attempt to pass the buck to the EU is somewhat off target.

As for the 'moral high ground' I am surprised you can climb to any high ground with all the food you eat :-)

As I understand it, the slaughter of 'domestic' animals is done in a humane way and in a controlled situation. Now, most of the Mr.Magoos I have seen around in the hunting season (I live in the countryside) have trouble controlling their spirit intake, are 'occasional hunters' with an overlarge estimation of their abilities and are, or certainly appear to be, an optician's dream.

You,of course, are exceptional and your argument follows the testosterone trendiness of just because something else is not perfect that makes hunting acceptable. Perhaps your knowledge and energies could be applied to improving the lot of 'domestic animals' instead of denying life to wild animals. Oh, but then you would starve, huh?
10:05 September 27, 2011 by wabasha
all this debate has caused me to study for my gun permit. thank you. will I stick with my american roots and go with a .308 winchester or perhaps blend in with a 6.5mm? untill that day comes, see ya'll at ICA
10:20 September 27, 2011 by skogsbo
keith, Sweden comes under EU animal welfare regs.http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/farm/index_en.htm Sweden may choose to have additional laws, but it can't bypass or contradict any of these. There are different national waivers, which related to specific conditions, like number of days per year a sheep can housed etc. But in general Sweden is no better than anywhere else, it also depends on how often the authorities carry out the checks, if all counties are like Kronoberg, we got a phone call on Friday to say they would be out on Monday, it was not for anything animal related, but fields. But it proves that the surpise checks are done with at least 24hrs notice, unless it's over a weekend then it's 72hrs!!

I work hard, eat hard !!

Slaughter is humane at an abatoir, but it's their time before that you should be concern about, if the meat is for my own consumption or I choose to sell it to friends on the sly, then there is nothing stopping me shooting one of mine right now and hanging it from a tree to drain it etc..

Hunting - In a past life I was in the military and was also sceptical of so called Swedish cowboy hunters, as I don't like being around folk who aren't properly trained. However the guys and gals here are very professional, I was pleasantly suprised. No alcohol at all, everyone had radios and map so everyone knew where each other was, the mobile guy with dogs had gps and radioed out their position, every so often. I would go anywhere near them if they weren't, I value my life. Often we are only after boar and let elk run past. Not all hunting is like those guys on Angel Farm!

I do help domestic animals, I spend every day tending to an orphaned male ram lamb, (more sheep than lamb now), but because he's a boy and right pain(they try to charge and butt everyone for food) when mature if hand reared, he would have been killed as soon as the mother rejected him, but I took him on. He will of course be in the pot by Xmas, but he has had a good life for 7-8mths, rather than 1 days worth.

Starve no, but if the boar take all our potatoes (and other veg) and oats, we will be shopping alot more and have less natural feed for us and the animals! Small farms don't make much profit, so I need every bit of crop I can get, plus some free game from the wild, it helps the bank balance too.

It's may seem easier to try and take the moral high ground if you are just an observer of countryside and not an active participant of it.
19:24 September 27, 2011 by Keith #5083

You make some very fair points. This I will agree. Perhaps I have encountered too many of the 'cowboys' or 'weekend/holiday' hunters to be able to see clearly that there is some reasonableness about someone who contributes much to the countryside and land being able to hunt.

I would, however, respectfully mention that I too contribute to the countryside in which I live. I am not a passive observer to the beauty and quality of Sweden's rural areas.I actively, and at some considerable expense, contribute to the quality of the environment as opposed to lessening that quality.

This 'moral high ground' that keeps getting mentioned is not where I am trying to be or wish to be. I subscribe to a 'live and let live' morality and have no wish to impose my will on you or anyone else. Nor do I wish to impose it on the creatures of the wild that so enhance and beautify my experience of Sweden.

In my area the destruction of wildlife is counter-productive to a healthy and thriving tourist industry. There are few, very few, on the hunt who would meet your standards of contributing back to the land. There is very little farming and the land is left fallow.

"Sweden may choose to have additional laws", you wrote - it was these that I referred to and which have so greatly impressed me about Sweden. Laws are, at the end of the day, society's requests to it's members to follow a certain standard. If not all follow with integrity that does not mean the law is a bad law.

Oh, I have no idea what 'Angel Farm' is. Could you enlighten me please? thx.
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