Moose Hunting Season Starts
It is the first Monday in September and the moose hunting season starts in several parts of the country. Approximately 270 000 hunters - or three per cent of the Swedish population - who have just set off with their rucksacks full of food, clothes and drink in order to enjoy this year's moose hunt.
The moose hunt is a recreational hobby for the hunters, but it does also fill an important role in keeping the number of moose under control. Every year 5000 people in Sweden are in road accidents where moose are involved, a dozen of which are fatal. Also, if there are too many moose around, their feeding will cause damage for the wood industry, by hampering growth and lower the quality of timber. Lately, a third argument for the hunt is brought forward: the production of moose meet leave much less of a carbon footprint than beef from farm cows. Today the moose meet makes up ten per cent of the beef production in Sweden.
All in all, the moose hunt is not really controversial in this country. Except, perhaps in those parts of the country where there is an ongoing discussion on when the schools should have their autumn half-term break. In Malung in Dalarna, the hunting season is so important that the schools have moved their autumn break to coincide with the start of the moose hunt. It was the only way to avoid half the teachers taking time off in the middle of term-time, and many of the older students too. The argument that it is good to have autumn break at the same time as the rest of the country - and exactly half way through the autumn term, seems to have fallen on deaf ears.