There have been a lot of bears in the reindeer breeding areas during spring and Norran has previously reported on an extensive nuisance wildlife management hunt that resulted in 53 individuals being shot around the county. The County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) in Norrbotten has now decided on a quota of 70 ahead of the licenced hunting season which starts on August 21.
It is the largest ever cut of the bear population in the county and the executing officer for predators Anna Danell Savela at the County Administrative Board justifies this.
– The increased licence hunt quota did not result in the effect we had wanted regarding the damage done to reindeer breeding industry and the need for nuisance wildlife management in spring. We assess that there is an ongoing need to reduce or limit the bear population in order to reach the tolerable level of 10 per cent loss of reindeer to predators, she says.
Last year the allocation was increased by 26 and now the County Administrative Board are adding another 12 bears to the cull. New for this year is that bears that have not been shot in area 3 and 4 above the cultivation limit when the hunt ends there on September 30, may be shot in area 1 or 2 up until October 15.
– There has been a demand for this and we also still see the need to reduce the bear population, says Anna Danell Savela.
She explains that they have not managed to master the need for nuisance wildlife management in Gällivare municipality even though the allocation has been increased there and that is believed to be because bears walk in from area 2 which includes the municipalities of Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog and Jokkmokk below the cultivation limit. That is why the County Administrative Board has now increased the allocation there to 40 bears.
– We want to decrease the density there, says Anna Danell Savela.
The objective of the hunt is to decrease the population to the management level which is 500 bears in Norrbotten. The latest inventory showed a larger bear population of about 550 bears. The licence hunt is divided into five areas where the largest amount of bears may be shot in areas where there have been the most problems in spring and in order to prevent that there are too many bears in more densely populated areas around Luleå, Boden, Piteå and Älvsbyn where ten bears may be shot.
– The County Administrative Board’s management is adaptive, we will evaluate and make any changes on an ongoing basis. But the definite answer will come in 2026 when we have the next county-wide inventory, says Anna Danell Savela.
The latest count made in 2017 found that there were around 2,900 bears in Sweden in total.
Bear is now mainly hunted in order to protect human interests such as reindeer and other animals.
Bears very rarely attack humans. Most attacks involve hunters who have wounded the bear.
If you meet a bear in the woods and want to photograph it, stay quiet and still. If you feel uncomfortable you should make some noise to scare the bear away.
Sources: The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, SVT.