Protective hunting of bears is a sure sign of spring, and it tends to be most intense in early May when tracking is still possible in the snow.
By Monday afternoon, a total of 34 bears had been shot in the municipalities of Pajala, Arjeplog, Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, and Boden.
In at least two protective hunting cases, female bears with yearling cubs weighing 20-30 kilograms have been euthanized, following decisions by the County Administrative Board.
Predator administrator Pernilla Larsson reports that they have so far processed 28 applications for protective hunting and that nearly all, 26 of them, have been approved. Another application was under consideration.
– Most of these cases involve bears waking up and finding themselves in reindeer calving areas, so we assess whether there is a high probability of serious damage to the reindeer industry. We also consider whether it may hinder a favorable conservation status for the bear and if there are other suitable solutions. Killing is supposed to be a last resort as it is a strictly protected species, she says.
Last year, 55 bears were taken during the fall license hunt, while 56 were killed in protective hunts. In 2021, even more were euthanized: 65 in total.
– There has been a relatively high number of bears hunted in recent years, says Larsson.
Norrbotten's bear population was estimated at around 650 individuals following the latest scat inventory conducted in the fall of 2021. The management goal is 500 individuals.
The quota for the autumn bear cull is typically determined in June, once the County Administrative Board has assessed the results of the spring protective culls.