Swedish hunters shoot nearly 50 bears as annual hunt begins

Thousands of hunters in Sweden were out in the forests from the crack of dawn on Wednesday, racing to shoot one of the 300 bears that can legally be shot before the season ends in October.

Swedish hunters shoot nearly 50 bears as annual hunt begins
A bear. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT
The bear-hunting season was already over by 10am in the county of Värmland, with the two bears in the regional hunters' quota already shot. By 3pm, 20 of the 48 bears to be shot in Dalarna had already been killed and 19 out of 50 permitted by authorities in Gävleborg. 
“Yes, it's definitely a record,”  Per Larsson, a wildlife official with the Värmland county government, told Swedish broadcaster SVT. He said the bears shot were both male, with the first weighing some 200 kilos. 
“It's gone pretty quickly,” Martin Källberg, managing editor of Sweden's leading hunting magazine Svensk Jakt, told The Local. 
“Everyone knows that it's going to go fast and that the quota will be finished quickly, so everyone's raring to go right from the start to shoot some bears before the hunt is over.” 
“I don't know exactly how many, but I imagine there are a lot of hunters out today.” 
The county of Jämtland has the highest quota with 100 bears allowed to be shot. Photo: TT
This year, Sweden's regional authorities are allowing hunters to shoot a total of 300 bears, with the police keeping a watchful eye over them to ensure that they don't use illegal hunting aids. 
“I believe that there's a big enthusiasm for bear hunting,” Joacim Lundqvist, who is responsible for overseeing game hunting for the Västerbotten police, told Sweden's public radio. “A lot of people want to get a part of it, and so they'll use any means possible.” 
Gun Fahlander, chairman of the Mitt Norrland hunting association, said she supported the police scrutiny. 
“It's positive that someone's out checking that people are behaving themselves, and following the laws and respecting the ethical issues,” she told the broadcaster. 

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