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Hunting in Sweden is famous for both recreation and meat. Landowners have exclusive hunting rights on their land, and the indigenous Sami people can hunt on their traditional lands. All hunters must pay a permit fee and pass a hunting examination.
The number of hunters has decreased due to changing demographics, such as urbanization and an aging population.
Type of Game species
Over the past fifty years, the populations of most game species, including mammals and birds, have grown in Sweden.
The most commonly hunted animals are moose and roe deer, with hunters harvesting approximately 90,000 moose and 200,000 roe deer each year. Other animals like hare, grouse, and ducks are also hunted. Hunters can pursue around 40 different bird species in the country.
Hunting rights come with wildlife management responsibilities, and the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management provides expertise and training in this area.
During the 2009/2010 hunting season, approximately 264,000 hunters were granted hunting permits, showcasing the popularity of the activity.
Most of these hunters were men; however, the number of women taking up the sport has been a noticeable rise.
In that specific season, about 14,500 women actively participated in hunting, indicating a growing interest and involvement of women in this traditionally male-dominated activity.
The number of hunters in Sweden, measured by those who pay the required hunting fee, has dropped considerably in recent decades.
Although hunting remains popular among the Swedish public, this decline can be attributed to demographic shifts, specifically the increased urbanization and an aging population. As more people move to urban areas and the population grows older, fewer individuals participate in hunting activities.
Prerequisites for hunting
Regardless of being a resident or non-resident, every hunter must pay a permit fee of €30, valid from July 1st to June 30th.
To be allowed to hunt and obtain a firearms license, hunters must pass the Swedish hunting test. In addition, special permits are necessary for foreign hunters to bring their weapons to Sweden. At the same time, many hunters own land and can hunt on it; more than half lease hunting rights or participate in cooperative associations.
Hunting rights in Sweden come with the responsibility to manage wildlife. The government entrusts the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management to offer unbiased and accessible knowledge on wildlife (excluding large predators) and hunting and wildlife management issues and conduct some wildlife research.
Their primary responsibilities include managing and developing professional training for hunters, offering advice on protective measures and injury prevention, coordinating moose management, and documenting game access and shooting statistics.
Rules and Regulations
From 1967 and onwards, the general principle for all hunting is that all animals (wild mammals and birds, including eggs
and nests) are protected unless there is an official hunting period for a particular animal.
The government decides which species can be hunted and when. There are different hunting seasons for various species, varying between other parts of the country. Which species can be hunted and the hunting seasons that apply are specified in the Hunting Ordinance.
The public in Sweden strongly supports hunting, both for wildlife management and as a source of food. However, support for hunting purely for recreation is lower.
Controversial issues related to hunting include hunting rights in the mountains, which are traditional areas for the indigenous Sami people, damages caused by moose and other herbivores, and debates on whether large carnivores should be hunted. Additionally, the growing number of herbivores and wild boars contributes to increased traffic accidents throughout the country.