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Bear Season Underway in Sweden

Swedish Bear
Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT

A Swedish news outlet reports that hunters killed nearly 50 Eurasian brown bears on the first day of Bear Season.

The Local, an English-language news website based in Sweden, stated:

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. The bear-hunting season was already over by 10 am in the county of Värmland, with the two bears in the regional hunters' quota already shot. By 3 pm, 20 of the 48 bears to be shot in Dalarna had already been killed and 19 out of 50 permitted by authorities in Gävleborg.

Sweden has a long history of bear hunting dating back to the 1300s. However, the government began regulating hunting in 1913 to restrict the number of bears hunters could cull. At the time, the population hovered around 130. According to NordeGuide, an estimated 3,500-4,000 brown bears live in Sweden today.

Bear hunting season typically lasts from late August to mid-October, or until the quota is full. NordeGuide said Sweden typically issues 250-300 licenses a year, and that hunts happen using dogs, in stands, or with stalking.

You can find a comprehensive guide to the Swedish government requirements for conducting a bear hunt (or other types of hunts) here.

If you’re considering a bear-hunting trip in Sweden, a quick Google search brings up a number of guides. For a fee, they will handle the entire licensing process and make sure you’re set up with the proper gear.

The Local also reported on a Day-1 bear mauling. The outlet said that a bear bit the victim on the head and upper torso. Nearby hunters shot and killed the bear, and the man has been hospitalized for his injuries.

According to the news outlet, the entire hunting party may face criminal charges for breaking laws concerning how a hunt may be conducted:

According to the Jaktjournalen hunting magazine, the bear was discovered with bread in its stomach. "Partly it's the laws that say that you can't lure game with processed food like bread," Filip Ånöstam from the Dalarna Hunting Association, told the Expressen newspaper. "It's simply unethical to use bread because bears have trouble digesting it. It becomes like a hard lump in their stomachs."

Brown bears do not typically demonstrate aggressive behavior. However, they can become aggressive. Typically, this only happens around human food, or if they feel that you are a threat to their cubs. This video shows how a Swedish man was able to fend off a brown bear without using any weapons:

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