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HUNTING

Swedish hunter attacked by bear

A Swede’s Saturday morning hunting expedition turned out a bit more exciting than expected.

Swedish hunter attacked by bear
The hunter was fine. The bear, not so much. Photo: Depositphotos
The hunter was attacked by a bear just outside of Klövsjö in the western Sweden province of Jämtland, Expressen reported. 
 
The hunter was able to shoot and kill the bear while under attack and escape unharmed. 
 
The incident was reported to local officials at 7.37am. 
 
“The bear was reportedly shot when it attacked a hunter. The hunter was unscathed. Police are on hand to investigate,” the local police district wrote on its website. 
 
 
The dead bear will be sent to the Swedish National Veterinary Institute (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt) for examination. 
 
Under Swedish law it is legal to hunt bear between August and October and in recent years this has been actively encouraged to help control growing numbers of the creatures.
 
Hundreds of brown bears are shot in Sweden every autumn as part of the cull, but the practice has also been met with criticism. The Swedish Species Information Centre announced in 2015 that the brown bear is once again at risk of becoming extinct, after previously dropping off the centre's annual 'red' watchlist.
 
The centre reclassified the brown bear as an endangered species, citing hunting as the primary cause of the declining population.  
 
Bear attacks on humans are relatively rare in Sweden, compared to the US, where on average two people a year die as a result of an encounter with a bear. By contrast, there have only been two fatalities caused by bear attacks over the last century in Sweden. 
 

HUNTING

Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer

Several Swedish regions have increased the number of bears that can be killed during this year's hunting season.

Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer
A hunter prepares to go out on the first day of the bear-hunting season in Sweden. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

Jämtland is doubling the amount of bears that are allowed to be killed in the region this year to 200. 

The decision comes after the regional bear population has grown to 1,044 at the last count. Jämtland is hoping that the expanded license will reduce the number of bears to around 650.  

We have assessed that the heavy expansion of licensed hunting is necessary, partly to reduce the bear population to the regional target within five years,” said Emma Andersson, who is in charge of managing game and hunting for the region.

Sweden allows some licensed hunting of bears, partly because of their interference with reindeer herding, one of the main economic sectors in northern Sweden for Indigenous Sámi people.

There are around 1,000 reindeer herding companies in Sweden, and an estimated 2,500 people are dependent on incomes from reindeer herding, according to the website of the Sámi parliament.

The presence of predators in northern Sweden has become a complicated political issue as they pose a great threat to the sustainable farming practices of the Sámi. The Sámi parliament estimates that one quarter of reindeer are killed by predators each year, significantly higher than the ten percent limit set by parliament. 

At the same time, the hunting of bears and other predators like wolves must be strictly overseen by the region due to their protected status. 

The increased allowance for hunting bears in Jämtland is directed specifically towards areas where there is a clear link that it could harm the reindeer herding industry, according to the regional board.

Similar decisions have been taken in Västerbotten, where 85 bears can be killed this year compared to 25 in the previous year, and in Västernorrland where they are allowing 75, almost doubling the previous year’s figure.

While no decision has been taken yet in Norrbotten, the hunting association is demanding similar measures, as 20 bears were shot last year during the hunt and another 60 through emergency measures to protect reindeer.

The licensed hunting period takes place between August 21st and October 15th in Norrbotten every year, with some exceptions.

A count by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency found that there were around 2,900 bears in total in Sweden as of 2017.

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