HUNTing For Sustainability- A Summary of Research from Sweden


The HUNTing for Sustainability project, funded by the European Union, involves collaboration with various research groups and case studies from multiple countries.

The HUNT project aims to develop practical tools to improve the adaptive capacity of moose managers. The findings have been integrated into official educational packages for moose hunters and landowners, addressing institutional challenges and introducing an ecosystem-based management system.

Hunting in Sweden

Hunting in Sweden is a popular recreational activity that also provides meat. The country’s diverse natural habitats offer many hunting opportunities on the most legally permitted lands.

Some key figures about Sweden:

  • Area: 449,964 km²
  • Protected areas (where regulated hunting may occur): 10.6%
  • Population: 9,316,256
  • Number of hunters: 264,000 (2009/10)
  • Hunting license fees paid in 2011/2012: 200,800

Game species

In Sweden, most game species, including mammals and birds, have increased over the past fifty years. The most common game animals are moose and roe deer, with approximately 90,000 moose and 200,000 roe deer harvested annually. Small game hunting is also popular, with around 40 bird species available.

Main Big Game Species:

  1. Moose
  2. Roe deer
  3. Wild boar
  4. Brown bear
  5. Red deer
  6. Fallow deer

Main Small Game Species:

  1. European brown hare,
  2. Mountain hare,
  3. Willow grouse
  4. Rock ptarmigan
  5. Black grouse
  6. Capercaillie
  7. Waders
  8. Ducks
  9. Geese

Hunting rights

Sweden’s landowners have exclusive property hunting rights and can lease these rights if they choose not to exercise them. The indigenous Sami population can hunt and fish on traditional Sami lands, including privately owned land, in Northern Sweden.

To hunt in Sweden, all hunters (residents and non-residents) must pay €30 for the permit license fee and pass the Swedish hunting examination to be eligible for hunting and firearms licenses. In addition, non-resident hunters must acquire special permits to bring their weapons into Sweden.


During Sweden’s 2009/2010 hunting season, about 264,000 hunters had permits, with the majority being men. However, an increasing number of women, approximately 14,500, participated in hunting that season.

Despite strong public support, hunters have decreased in recent years, likely due to urbanization and an aging population.


The government has entrusted the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management with performing specific wildlife research and providing unbiased advice on hunting concerns, excluding big predators and wildlife management.

In addition to managing moose management, they supervise the professional training of hunters, offer guidance on safety and injury avoidance, and compile data on game access and shooting rates.

Rules Of The Game

Starting in 1967, all animals are protected unless there’s an official hunting season for them.

The government decides which species can be hunted and sets different hunting seasons for various species in different parts of the country. These details are specified in the Hunting Ordinance.


Controversies around hunting in Sweden involve hunting rights in mountain areas, damages caused by moose and other herbivores, and debates over hunting large carnivores.

Additionally, the high number of herbivores and the increasing wild boar population contribute to traffic accidents across the country.

Managing large ungulates in Europe

Author: Olve Krange, Anke Fischer and Vesna Kerezi

Managing large ungulates in Europe has gained attention due to a significant increase in their numbers. Many of these species were once endangered or extinct, but conservation efforts have led to population growth, with some species now considered over-abundant.

Over 15 million wild ungulates now have a significant sociocultural, economic, and ecological impact on European landscapes. While they provide hunting opportunities for meat and recreation, they also cause more traffic accidents and damage forests and agriculture. As a result, some areas are concerned about negative ecosystem impacts from overgrazing.

European Landscape Convention (ELC)

The primary objectives of the ELC are to promote the protection, management, and planning of European landscapes and organize European cooperation on landscape issues. The convention applies to all European landscapes, whether natural, rural, urban, or peri-urban areas, including land, inland water, and marine areas. It covers both everyday and degraded landscapes, as well as those considered outstanding or unique.

Convention On Biological Diversity (CBD)

Meanwhile, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty aimed at conserving biodiversity, promoting sustainable use of its components, and ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources

Ecosystem-Based Moose Management Challenges in Sweden

Author: Ketil Skogen

Swedish moose management has evolved from a time of over-exploitation to one of moose abundance. Unfortunately, high moose numbers are favored by hunters but cause forest damage, leading to conflicts between hunters and forest owners.

The Swedish government is introducing a new local ecosystem-based management system to resolve these disputes. This study analyzes the shift from single-resource management to an ecosystem perspective and its potential to improve collective action and resolve conflicts between forestry and hunting interests.

The success of both current and future moose management systems relies on voluntary efforts to establish collective action and cooperation between landowners and hunters.

Stakeholder-Driven Ecosystem Management Scenario: Scotland & Sweden

Authors: Camilla Sandström, Annie McKee and Liz Dinnie

Management of deer in Scotland and moose in Sweden is undergoing institutional reform, transitioning from single-species management to a more ecosystem-based approach and from top-down governance to decentralized governance.

These changes may affect the power of stakeholders and how issues are framed, potentially complicating the reform process. Scenario analysis, developed through workshops with stakeholder organizations, facilitated this transition and explored the implications of various governance arrangements.


In conclusion, the HUNTing for Sustainability project highlights the need to address institutional challenges in managing large European ungulates.

It emphasizes the importance of adopting an ecosystem-based approach to wildlife management while considering the adaptive aspects of moose management. The project’s outcomes offer valuable insights and practical tools for future wildlife management efforts.