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Sweden has a massive territory that stretches across the northern Arctic Circle and the Baltic Sea coastline. It also has large wilderness areas that can be traced far back to the Viking era. 

It’s no surprise that you can find a lot of game species in this part of the European continent. In particular, European moose has ensured that hunting remains a much anticipated activity in Sweden. 

As a result, trophy hunting is a sport that takes place annually. Read on to find out more about the cultural symbolism of hunting and the best hunting practices in Sweden.

Hunting in Sweden: The Ultimate Guide

Is hunting legal in Sweden?

Yes, hunting is a legal activity for both Swedish citizens and foreigners. Hunting has been an activity that has been enjoyed by the Swedes as far back as the 13th century. In a way, it has become a cultural practice.

There are still guidelines and rules that need to be followed to ensure that your hunt is always ethical and sustainable. This means that there are also prohibited hunting methods that you should stay away from. For example, you cannot use any form of transportation while you’re on your hunt.

Some of the things that you can’t hunt include hounds and certain birds of prey. There are a variety of permissible hunting methods such as decoys, torches, and camouflage netting. It’s essential to know when the start of the hunting season for each species is.

How much is a hunting license in Sweden?

The hunting license in Sweden is currently between 200 and 400 SEK for each hunting year. You have to carry this permit every time that you decide to go hunt. You can easily make payment for it at all Post Offices in Sweden.

If you wish to obtain a hunting license in Sweden you should know that there are specific tests that you need to take first. To be able to carry a hunting weapon, as per Sweden’s gun laws, you ought to take two theoretical tests as well as three practical tests. Without these tests, you’re not legally authorized to carry a hunting weapon of any kind.

two people hunting in sweden

The theoretical tests that you should do are essential for your general hunting and game knowledge. On the other hand, the practical tests include mastery of your basic and big game weaponry, a shotgun and a rifle. A supervisor in charge of your tests will issue your Hunter’s certificate once you pass your tests.

Your certificate gives you clearance to apply for your weapon license and to help grant your application. Outside the certificate, there are other requirements that you should meet before you can receive your weapon license. The most important thing is for you to certify the main purpose of your hunting license.

What animals can be hunted in Sweden?

There’s a wide variety of animals that you can hunt in Sweden. The country has a high percentage of European forested land which has given rise to specific hunting traditions. Moose are widely hunted alongside different types of deer as well as wild boar.

The hunting adventures that await you are endless. But, you’ll notice that the main hunting in Sweden is focused on hunts for trophy purposes. Hunting in Sweden is much easier when you know how to classify your game.

Take for instance your small game that includes pheasant, waterfowl, and geese. The great thing about hunting in Sweden is that it’s still rooted in traditional methods. Moose and deer remain the main hunting attractions in this European region.

Boar hunting in Sweden

You’d be surprised to find that wild Boar hunting has become largely popular in Sweden. The thing is, this kind of hunting is suitable for different types of hunters. It’s easier to go for a wild boar hunt at night.

One of the main reasons that boar hunting has increased in popularity compared to other forms is that you can hunt throughout the year. Since it isn’t dependent on a particular season, there are fixed locations that are used for boar hunting. It’s essential to keep yourself protected because boars are known for their aggressive nature.

There are particular clothes that you should consider. Moreover, you should have experience with boar hunting because they have an exceptional sense of smell. If you frighten them, you might trigger a violent reaction from them.

wild boar

Moose hunting in Sweden

Moose hunting is Sweden’s main activity since a large majority of the population takes part in this activity. In fact, research suggests that Swedish people hunt up to 100,000 moose per year. This means that they hunt double the numbers that you find in the US and Canada combined.

Since moose hunting is a very common animal to hunt in Sweden, you should understand that there are key focus areas to get right. The moose in Sweden are known for their great size and enormous power. While they give the most flavorful meat, hunting them should be taken with the utmost precaution.

In particular, to embark on a successful moose hunt, you should make sure that you know these five points.

  • Familiarize yourself with your hunting area.
  • Know how to operate your gun.
  • Keep yourself physically prepared, including for Sweden’s often changing weather. Having the right clothing is imperative (although maybe not Swedish traditional clothing if you don’t want to).
  • Shoot only when you’re trained and ready.
  • Keep a positive attitude. 

Reindeer hunting in Sweden

Did you know that the estimated number of reindeer in Swedish territories is around 300,000? While these numbers are high, there’s significant controversy around reindeer hunting in Sweden. For instance, across the swathe of Arctic Swedish lands, this is an exclusive right conferred to indigenous reindeer herders.

The most common type of deer that you’ll find is the roe deer. Reindeer roams across the Arctic tundra. In essence, the reindeer in Sweden forms part of a historic culture that goes beyond game hunting.

reindeer

Since they’re a traditional animal of the Sami, the exclusive right to herd reindeer has been legally recognized to them. However, there are other parts of Sweden where you can hunt reindeer. 

You’ll have to pick the right season to do this though given that many reindeer live in areas where it gets dark in Sweden for weeks on end.

Bear hunting in Sweden

There is a restriction on the hunting of bears in Sweden. The exception is to hunt bears that can interfere with the herding of reindeer in certain parts of the country. This has been a complex political issue because bears continue to pose an economic threat on sustainable farming by the Sami.

Bears are known as the most dangerous predators in Sweden. Their existence in Sweden directly impacts the historic reindeer. As a result, the Swedish government has allowed hunters to hunt approximately 300 bears per year to curb their threat.

While the bear hunting rules have been relaxed, there are still guidelines in place to ensure that hunters only use legal hunting aids. Research has also shown that the bears in Sweden switch locations to better hunt the reindeer and moose. This has made it easier for hunters to determine bear hunting hotspots in Sweden.

When is hunting season in Sweden?

The exact dates of hunting season in Sweden will vary depending on the animal. However, below you can see some guidelines for certain game. That said, make sure you check with the relevant authority as they can change the dates from time to time – this site can guide you in the right direction.

GameHunting season in Sweden
Wild boar1 February to 31 March (only “yearlings”)1 April to 31 January (adults without piglets)
Moose8 October to 31 January
Red deer16 August to 28 February
Beaver1 October to 10 May
Rabbit1 July to 30 June
Badger1 August to 31 January
Canada goose11 August to 31 December

There are more restrictions than just the dates. For example, moose can only be hunted from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. In addition, during the hour after sunset, only sneak and guard hunting is allowed.

This is why, before heading out, you need to check the local regulations, as dates, times and other requirements can also change throughout different areas of Sweden.

Is hunting popular in Sweden?

Yes, hunting is a very popular activity in Sweden. The Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (Svenska Jägareförbundet) has recorded that there are approximately 300,000 hunters. It is further estimated that around 195,000 of these hunters are affiliated with this association.

Hunting in Sweden isn’t only popular, but it’s a lucrative game sport. Every hunter is legally required to pay the annual hunting fee. Since hunting is regulated by law in this country, it has become important for economic growth.

Since there are many legal hunters, the Swedish government has ensured higher protection measures that are afforded to the game species. This protection is even available for the predator animals such as bears in this region. This is why there are certain quotas that are regulated for each species.

man hunting in Sweden

Hunting in Sweden prices

The hunting annual fee that you pay goes towards game management. Outside the annual 300 SEK fee, you ought to pay for your hunting insurance that should cost approximately 300 SEK. Both these costs are obtained differently for Swedes and foreigners.

The main thing about the hunting prices in Sweden is that they differ from species to species. In other cases, they depend on the season that you need to go to do your hunt. Other things that you should consider are your hunting tools and clothes that you’ll need.

You should make sure that you have your hunting permit and insurance receipt with you at all times. In Sweden, you have to have these with you throughout your hunting. Failure to produce proof of these can result in legal consequences.

Can you bow hunt in Sweden?

As far as the verdict goes, bow hunting in Sweden has been illegal since the late 30s. There weren’t a lot of people who took part in bow hunting hence it was made illegal. The bow as a hunting weapon has been removed from the list of weapons that can be used to hunt any animals.

The Swedish Bow Hunters Organization states that bow hunting in Sweden is presently not possible. Despite the efforts made by hunters to push to end this ban. The proposal is still up for discussion though.