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(1998)Skogsbolagen ger fel signaler
(1956)Älgjakten och älgen
(1970)Jakt och jägare: Jägare, villebråd, vapen och jaktmetoder från äldsta tider till våra dagar. Höganäs: Bra böcker
J. Dizard (1994)Going Wild: Hunting, Animal Rights, and the Contested Meaning of Nature
Ny kalldusch för 25 jaktlag
John Granlund (1976)Historia om de nordiska folken
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(1911)Förändrad jagttid för älg i södra och mellersta Sverige
(1938)Hushålla med skotten på älg! Svenska Jägareförbundets Tidskrift
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(1963)Oss älgjägare emellan
(1996)Älgens europeiska historia
(1987)Storas budskap till jägarna: Skjut varannan älg
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(1974)är rovjakten jag vill åt
(1994)Älgstammen ökar – och minskar
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(1998)Herman Falk – Älgens räddare
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(1982)Vad har hänt med vår älgstam? Svensk Jakt
(2003)I Åmot jagar man av sociala skäl
(1968)Älgproblemet. Svensk Jakt
(1909)Är dödandet af blott hannen hos åtskilliga jagtbara djur menligt för artens fort - plantning och bestånd ?
(2002)Rovdjursforskare kritisk till skogbolagens älgpolitik
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(2003)Karlstad: Stiftelsen Värmlands Museum and Värmlands Museiförening
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Det stora djuret: En 1500-talsskrift om älgen. (1581) Facsimile. Translated by H Helander
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Hans Helander, Gunnar Brusewitz, W. Odelberg, Håkan Tunón (1996)Apollonius Menabenus, Det stora djuret : En 1500-talsskrift om älgen
(1902)Borde ej elgjagten hos oss utöfvas på ett mera både rationellt och idrottsmessigt sätt?
(1937)Vår älgstams fortgående degeneration
(1969)Flyginventering av älg
(1968)Varför skall vi skjuta kalv? I
(1922)Totalt jaktförbud än en gång
(1985)Hushålla med skotten på älg !
(1993)Drömtiden förbi ?
(2003)Älgen i lärd och folklig tradition
(2004)Älgjakten kan hotas i vargområden
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(1908)förnämsta af vårt matnyttiga villebråd och dess vård. Stockholm: Fr
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(1902)Hugo Gebers förlag
(1994)Älgen i vår historia och vardag. Stockholm: Tiden
(2003)Åmot jagar man av sociala skäl
(1911)Friluftsstudier öfver älgens lif och vanor
(2002)kalldusch för 25 jaktlag
(1970)Jakt och jägare: Jägare, villebråd, vapen och jaktmetoder från äldsta tider till våra dagar
(2001)Även skogsbolagen hotar älgstammen
(1983)De skjuts för stammens bästa . . .
Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 1 (2005) 167–179 ‘The noblest game of our forests’: A portrait of the moose and moose hunting in Sweden during the twentieth century Sofia Åkerberg Department of Historical Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden Key words: Biodiversity conservation, culture, ethics, traditions and religion INTRODUCTION ‘In the beginning it was difficult to accept ...but follow-ups to date and Bill-Inge has his own web- I don’t know ...I have a colleague who’s from site). Most of these moose are, naturally, palmate Stockholm and he said that he had experienced bulls and the antlers seem to be the easiest and most the same thing . . . people stare and one time they common way for the public to identify that the ani- didn’t let me into the restaurant because of some mal they see is indeed a moose. dress code or something like that. But then I did But although Bill-Inge is an individual, he also that cheese-thing, modelling for Billinge ...and becomes a representative for all Swedish moose. then it was like something changed . . . people The difference is, however, that while Bill-Inge said hi and they let me into the restaurant ...I wants to fit into society and is heavily anthro- could even bring all my colleagues for a cup of pomorphasized by wearing clothes, being bipedal coffee. I think everybody is good at something, and driving a four-wheel tractor, all moose are not you only have to figure out what and I’m good at as easily controlled. The focus of this paper is thus being a moose . . . really good ...’ (2005, text not the individual moose but the attitude towards a transcribed and translated by author from: whole population and the attempts to control it. <http://www.arla.se/billinge/main.html). This is rather a story about managing and how The quotation above (delivered in thick Swedish hunters have made themselves into ‘tools of dialect), about otherness, small-town narrow- management’ (see Dizard 1999). Still, much as the mindedness, alienation, fame and acceptance, is hunters try to look at populations and not indivi- from a Swedish television commercial and, as un- duals, it will become obvious in this paper that they likely it may seem, is told by a moose who promotes are not always successful and that they even a special brand of cheese (the cheese is called anthropomorphasize their prey to a certain degree. ‘Billinge’ and the moose ‘Bill-Inge’). Bill-Inge is a To the hunter, a moose is always something more good example of how common real and imaginary than a dot on the map or a statistic. moose are in Swedish society, and they can be The moose assumes a curious place among found on glasses, T-shirts and in commercials (the Swedish wildlife. At least since the late nineteenth cheese commercial has spawned no less than four century, when moose management started in Correspondence: Sofia Åkerberg, Department of Historical Studies, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:29 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg earnest, the moose has been placed in a sort of ten years. When this respite expired in 1818, a royal limbo, not exactly tamed but neither exactly wild. master of forestry (‘hovjägmästare’), Herman Falk, The hunters’ attitude towards the moose is that of managed to get ten more years of protection from both wildlife and cattle. They were known in folk- the king, Karl XIV Johan. Although there never lore as the cattle of the ‘skogsrå’. The ‘skogsrå’ or again was complete national protection of the ‘huldra’ is a female fairy of the woods. She can con- moose, the hunt was not absolutely free, and vari- trol plants and animals and bestow good or bad luck ous restrictions were put on it, limiting it to a to the men who live and hunt there (see Insulander few autumn months (Eles 2003). Despite major dif- 2003). As we shall see, hunters were and are reluc- ficulties with, for example poaching, the Swedish tant to let the moose manage itself but, at the same moose population basically increased until the time, it is important that the animal does not 1990s, mainly due to fewer predators, the increase become too domesticated, as for example the Sámi of clear felling within the forest industry, controlled reindeer which are both herded and ear-marked. hunting and less foraging competition with cattle, The story of the Swedish moose during the twen- sheep and goats. The main exceptions to this tieth century is thus a story of the hunters’ attempts increase were the years before and after the two to control an animal but not to the extent of World Wars when a lot of moose were shot in order robbing the hunt of its thrills. to sustain the people’s need for meat (Björklöf 1994; Haglund et al. 1980). But animals generally have two histories to tell, THE SWEDISH MOOSE one about the biological entity that lives in the The moose has long been pictured as the most forest or the barn and another that rather lives in distinguished game in Sweden and more or less the minds of men. Strangely enough, the moose is organised management of the moose population absent from older Swedish folklore, which might has been quite intense for the last hundred years. be due to the fact that it is perceived as neither Other reasons for Swedish interest in this particular dangerous, ferocious, cunning or brave. Also, the species can probably be found in the fact that it oral folklore tradition was not written down until came close to extinction in the eighteenth and the nineteenth century when the moose had been nineteenth centuries and that a specific goal for missing from some parts of the country for more the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife than a hundred years. It is quite likely that the old Management (Svenska Jägareförbundet) when it stories (if there were any) about the moose became was founded in the 1830s was to improve the moose extinct at the same rate as the animal that inspired population. The main aim of the paper is to exam- them (Björklöf 1994). ine twentieth-century discussion on the moose pop- Prior to the second half of the nineteenth ulation, its problems and suppositions, primarily century, the moose was also largely missing from through the eyes of Jägareförbundet’s own journal hunting lore, which could be viewed as curious Swedish Hunting (Svensk Jakt). considering the huge importance that was placed At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the on this game only 50 years later. However, before Swedish moose teetered on the brink of extinction. this time hunting lore was mostly inherited from Within the history of hunting, it was common to the European continent where the moose had been blame this on the 1789 hunting act which gave a rare prey at least since the fourteenth century. In non-aristocratic land-owners the opportunity to this context, the ‘king of the forest’ has always been hunt the high game on their own lands, game that outmanoeuvred by the more attractive and agile previously had been reserved for royal and aristo- deer species such as red and fallow deer (Björklöf cratic hunters. But it is obvious that the problem 1994; Brusewitz 1970). had begun much earlier – already in the seven- Still, there are some areas of the mind where teenth century there are statements on the scarcity moose have been vividly present. Swedish heraldry of moose in the counties of Jämtland and presents various kinds of moose (all of them natu- Härjedalen. However, any serious attempt to rectify rally palmate) and there are a lot of town and city this problem was not made until the hunting act of names that linguistically can be traced to the differ- 1808 when moose, together with for example swans ent Swedish words for moose (Björklöf 1994). Also, and deer, was completely protected for a period of by being one of the largest land animals in Europe, 168 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:29 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg moose have attracted a certain amount of attention the sixteenth century (Olaus Magnus quoted in in the history of biology and natural history even Gidlunds 1982). The Italian doctor Apollonius outside Sweden. Already around 150 BC the Magnus begins his description of the ‘nature of the Roman historian Polybius is supposed to have des- large animal’ thus: cribed an animal living in the Alps that might have Those who speak the German tongue call this been a moose. Apart from this early sign of interest animal Hellend. This word is the same as the Latin in the species, one of the most famous descriptions miseria, i.e. ‘misery’, ‘suffering’. This is a very of the moose was made by the Roman emperor apt name for this animal. For the animal is for Julius Caesar in the text De Bello Gallico from 50 BC. many reasons extremely unfortunate. Foremost He explained how cunning German hunters it is often struck down with falling sickness hunted moose by almost sawing through the ‘sleep- (Menabenus, trans. by Helander 1996). ing trees’ of the animal. Since it was believed that the moose had no joints in its legs, the conclusion The physician also stresses that it is the duty of every was that it had to sleep standing up, leaning against pious person to use all the various parts of the a tree. If the hunters had managed to find the right moose when nature has given the animal so many tree, the moose would fall over and not be able to good qualities. Menabenus came to Sweden around get up. However, the particularity of animals with the middle of the 1570s to serve as the royal physi- jointless legs was common during antiquity and the cian and after his visit wrote Tractatus de magno Middle Ages and this story was also told about, for animali (1581). Here he describes in detail how to example, the elephant, but then from a religious get the optimal power from the hoof (the right back allegorical perspective – the elephant who falls is hoof from a bull chopped off after the middle of Adam and what fells him is sin (Anderberg 1981; August and applied to the patient’s ear) for it to Björklöf 1994; Brusewitz 1996; Hammarström have effect. The reason why a moose hoof would 2004). be extra useful in this context was the belief that Apart from the jointlessness, there are many when the moose was scratching its ears with its back more or less enduring stories circulating about the hoof it was supposed to cure its own epilepsy. moose within the history of science. In the AD 70s, Exactly why this particular animal should suffer Pliny the Elder announced that the animal was from this particular ailment is, however, not clear endowed with such a large upper lip that it had (Menabenus, trans. by Helander 1996). to browse backwards in order not to trip over it. That it was a duty to use the moose for many pur- The Franciscan encyclopaedist Bartholomaeus poses was a discussion that resurfaced during the Anglicus wrote in the thirteenth century that the eighteenth century, but the message now was, moose bull stored water in his beard pouch, which instead, that it should be tamed. Pliny the Elder had was heated while he ran. He could then spray noted that moose could be tamed but this seems to boiling water on pursuing hunters and dogs with have been debated in Sweden only under the influ- devastating consequences. In the sixteenth century ence of the benefit-thinking of the eighteenth cen- the German cartographer Sebastian Münster wrote tury. It would be a waste of resources not to try and that the skin of the moose was extremely tough and use the moose as an animal for riding and draught durable, which not only led to these skins being since it would be superior to the horse, not least in extremely popular in wars but they gained an speed. Olaus Magnus had indeed two hundred almost mythological quality of complete impene- years earlier pointed out that some small-scale tam- trability. It is, for example, rumoured that the ing occurred but that this never became popular Swedish king Gustav II Adolf was only wearing a for two reasons: the moose ran so fast that you could shirt made of moose skin for protection when he not see what you were passing and because one was shot at Lützen in 1632 (Björklöf 1994; Brusewitz feared that ‘traitors’ would use the fast moose to 1996; Hammarström 2004). The Swedish arch- escape the country (Björklöf 1994; Magnus 1982). bishop Olaus Magnus told in his History of the Nordic But despite the fact that even the Royal Academy People (Historia om de nordiska folken, 1550s) that the of Sciences (Kungliga vetenskapsakademien) ex- moose drank beer and that its hoof could cure pressed interest in the taming of moose in the epilepsy. Particularly the hoof’s ability to cure epi- eighteenth century, there never seems to have been lepsy was an important part of medicinal science in much progress and in the early twentieth century, International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 169 Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:30 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg the following is noted in a general description of During the first decades of the twentieth the animal: century, Svensk Jakt primarily offered its writers an One has sought to tame him by training him in opportunity to discuss the problems of moose man- riding and draught but he has never become agement in a common forum since readers were fully trustworthy and nowhere is he seen as a often spread across the country. The journal con- domesticated animal. He seems to be a quite sisted primarily of submitted material and it is likely stupid animal and he is not lovable, but rather that the majority of the moose hunters of the time cumbersome, peevish and eager to fight had neither the time or opportunity to read it. (Böving-Petersen and Dreyer 1902). When the journal obtained a larger editorial staff In this context, it might be significant to note that, and readership in the hunting community in the while some animals (mostly predators) had often 1930s and 1940s, it was used more often as an instru- been admired and respected for their inability to be ment of propaganda which, for example, is obvious tamed, this does not seem to be the case with the in the case where one writer in the mid-1960s tried moose (e.g. Emel 1998). However, the view of to persuade hunters to increase the number of the moose as stupid, slow and clumsy seems to calves culled, as described below. have existed parallel to the opinion that it was the ‘crown of all the game in the Nordic countries.’ Quality or quantity? Menabenus wrote that the moose lived an unfortu- nate life and the natural historian Magnus Orrelius The most obvious question on the agenda, and the said in his Historia Animalium (1751) that ‘[m]oose one that seems to demand the most thorough dis- are simple and stupid creatures’, while the writer cussion in Svensk Jakt during the twentieth century, Johan Fischerström, only a few years later, pointed is concerned with the quantity and quality of the out that: ‘The Orientals boast about their Elephants moose population. Quantity is often simply a ques- and Camels. We do not need animals like that in tion of the total number of moose in a specific area, our country. We have Moose’ (in Björklöf 1994). regardless of sex or age, while quality is a more These two beliefs are most obvious in general des- ambiguous concept. Questions such as what signi- criptions of the biology of the moose during the fies good population quality, if the Swedish popula- nineteenth century but it is equally clear that the tion is of a good enough quality, and what can be negative opinion of the moose as ugly and clumsy done to increase it further, are plentiful. However, had to give way to the moose as the ‘noblest game’ all the investigated articles are joined in the opin- as the twentieth century progressed (von Mentzer ion that the quality of the moose population is 1908). unsatisfactory and authors often write about a feared or real degeneration in the population. Problems with poor quantity seem altogether easier THE MOOSE IN SVENSK JAKT to solve and, when a big population increase occurred in the 1970s and 1980s (the so-called The purpose of this paper is to track twentieth- ‘moose explosion’), the belief was rather that the century discussion on the Swedish moose popula- moose were too plentiful. The conclusion might tion in Svensk Jakt. It is obvious that the perspec- thus be that the hunters and Jägareförbundet are tive will be somewhat narrow when a majority of rarely satisfied when it comes to quality or quantity. the source material is based on one single jour- nal, which might be viewed as biased, but Jägareförbundet is and has always been the largest The all-important palmate bull hunting organisation in Sweden and Svensk Jakt is But what did the writers in Svensk Jakt mean when probably the most abundant and widely read hunt- they talked about population quality? It is obvious ing journal in the country. This means that it is that, during the first half of the twentieth century, possible to detect interesting trends in the material, they meant only one thing: palmate bulls and the although these trends do not tell the entire story. lack of them. From 1902, when one writer laments: I foremost want to investigate which questions ‘felling bulls with palmate antlers is now a rarity’, to are persistent throughout the century and see if, 1949 when ‘a so-called capital bull is a great rarity and how, the attitude towards these questions has because of intense hunting’, it is the lack of bulls changed. 170 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:30 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg with large antlers that is considered the problem most valuable part of the population. Equally (Anonymous 1902; Johannsson, 1949). Varying certain is that the enormous shiny bull with his explanations as to why the population lacked gnarled crown of antlers, mighty hump and bulls with large antlers are put forward, that, for proud well-muscled body is the right and best example, it might be because of a general lack of maintainer of his species (Knöppel 1911). sufficient minerals in their food, but the most com- The wording of this quotation also reminds one of mon answer usually revolves around bad moose the famous lines of the Victorian poet Alfred Lord management and shooting (Johannsson, 1949). Tennyson: ‘Man is the hunter, woman his game. The general attitude is that only a few property The sleek and shining creatures of the chase.’ owners (who, coincidentally, are often also writers In the mad scramble for bulls, Svensk Jakt also in Svensk Jakt) take responsibility for adequate had good reason to observe the bad behaviour of moose management on their own lands but, since the moose hunters (which sometimes, due to intox- ‘mischief hunting’ and poaching were abundant, ication and poor shooting, seems to have been very even such management efforts can be seen as poor indeed). One reason as to why palmate bulls wasted or pointless. are so scarce is that they are shot much too soon by In some early articles it is also possible to find a the hunters who are afraid that the bulls at a certain gender aspect when it comes to the antlers of the age will regress, i.e. develop smaller antlers with less bulls. Already during the nineteenth century points. The hunters are thus criticised for their lack Swedish children could read in their school-books: of self-restraint and impatience. Another reason Especially the male, because of his statuesque why trophy bulls are shot much too soon is said to figure, flat enormous antlers and long mane, is a be suspicion between neighbours. Some hunters particularly grand character. The moose is there- would rather shoot a bull with six-point antlers than fore the best ornament of our forests and the let him grow larger out of fear that the bull would, crowning jewel of all the Nordic game (Läsebok when fully grown, migrate into the neighbours’ för folkskolan 1875). property. There is also criticism of hunters who Likewise, many pictures and paintings of moose’s shoot bulls on their own property for trophies and family life were produced and their composition is then expect their neighbour’s bulls to serve his often very similar: the diligent (palmate) bull is cows in order to maintain the population. More- standing up and cows and calves lie in his protective over, this is not a problem that passes with time and shadow. These pictures are, of course, a construc- in 1969 there are complaints that the ‘desire to get tion, since moose rarely form such family groups as much meat as possible and rob their neighbour but they satisfied a human need for an organisation of a shooting opportunity is what governs the selec- of the animal kingdom where the (heterosexual) tion’ (Lundin 1969). A big problem is poaching, male ruled his little family (Löfgren 1984). It is where there are no possibilities to control which thus significant to observe that, as photographs moose are shot. Because of these problems, the became more and more common, images like these only possible solution was identified early as co- disappeared. operation between hunters and property owners. The importance of the bulls is also mirrored in This is evident in the hunting act of 1938, when the fact that during the early twentieth century Swedish moose hunters were first given the oppor- hunters tended to focus not only on the breeding tunity to create Hunting Management Areas. value of the bulls within the population but also that The discussion of the reasons for poor popula- they had ‘great potency’. The antlers are assumed tion quality acquired a further dimension towards to play a vital part in the breeding rituals of the the end of the 1940s when it was suggested that the moose: ‘through them he is capable of defeating population was still qualitatively wanting, despite inferior rivals and thus make himself sole master of decades of diligent moose management, since the the cow’ and the anatomical differences between hunters had been too good at saving capital bulls and cows are thus described: bulls. A few bulls, easily recognisable, had been [cows] in their best years are almost always more saved in each Hunting Management Area and full and round in body – like a well-fed horse – this poor breeding material has led to inbreeding and have a more shiny coat. It is certain that (Bergström 1949). The question about inbreeding these represent the sturdiest, best breeding and is, however, not very common in the journal and is International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 171 Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:31 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg firmly refuted in 1960 in a discussion concerning popularity during the second half of the 1930s, the poor condition of the moose in Kolmården: when fossil bog antlers were compared with mod- Inherited degeneration, as a result of inbreed- ern ones, a comparison which shamed the antlers of ing, is not likely in our current moose popula- the twentieth century. The fossil antlers could also tion, despite the fact that one often encounters be seen as an explanation as to why the hunters of this argument. Wildlife inbreeding only occurs the 1930s still preferred the palmate antler type – in small and isolated populations (Almenberg the bog antlers proved that this type was more origi- 1960). nal than the cervine one. Furthermore, the fossils This conclusion is further emphasised only a year were used to prove a moral lesson to the Swedish later: moose hunters: Considering the negative environmental factors Had our forefathers exercised some restraint in that we have created by clearing the forest their primitive moose hunts we might still today of deciduous trees, keeping too many moose have had the opportunity to slay bulls of the and maintaining the cruel restriction against same impressive dimensions as the bearer of this culling calves, the hypotheses regarding degen- antler (Schard 1937). eration through inbreeding seems unfounded (Svärdson 1961). Biological quality In general, it is clear that the hunters in the mid- 1950s were still not satisfied with the Swedish moose However, during the 1950s and the second half population. Quantitatively speaking, they had of the twentieth century the discussion about the managed to increase the numbers of moose, some- quality of the moose population changes. A num- times to maximum levels but qualitatively the ber of inventories resulted in a better understand- population was still wanting. ing of the gender and age distribution of the The question remained: why did the hunters so population and it was now said that the population covet this particular kind of moose, the palmate was qualitatively wanting from a biological perspec- bull? First, it is difficult not to see an imagined con- tive. The number of young animals was too high nection between the regal bull and his slayer who, and this meant problems for the population since of course, is a ‘real man’. It is also not difficult to there were not enough bulls of sufficient age to imagine that it was attitudes like this that made it serve the cows. What was missing was still capital hard for some hunters to shoot calves (see below). bulls, but not only for their trophy value but A more articulated reason was, however, that the because the population ‘needed’ those individuals antlers, when at their best, were considered to be for its very survival. Writers acknowledging that a the finest hunting trophy in all Europe. The skewed age distribution among the Swedish moose focus on palmate antlers was further encouraged had of course existed before this time, an article due to the many national and international antler- entitled ‘Is the killing of only the male among competitions which clearly favoured palmate several game species harmful for the reproduction antlers above cervine ones. Various hunting exhibi- and existence of said species’ was published in tions were also popular throughout Europe and 1909, but this discussion never obtained a firm foot- gave the Swedish hunters plenty of opportunity to hold before the second half of the twentieth cen- compare the poor quality of Swedish antlers with tury (Hollgren 1909). In light of this, however, superior ones from Germany and Poland, all of quality now becomes synonymous with ‘a popula- them naturally palmate. In the quest for answers as tion that is vital and biologically and genetically to why the German antlers were so much better correct’ (Larsson 1985). writers occasionally suggested Darwinian theories: Just as in the case of the trophy antlers, it is poss- There is furthermore a harsh natural selection ible to find more or less obvious gender aspects in [among the German moose] because of the nose the discussion concerning biological distribution. fly and the severe spring floods, through which Even in articles relating to how to construct a bio- only the strongest individuals have the stamina logically sound moose population the focus tends to survive (Gardell 1938). to be on the (capital) bulls since these are absent. However, the most curious discussion concerning Everybody agrees that it is in the best interest of the the antlers of the moose had a short period of population not to shoot cows but probably because 172 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:32 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg of this unanimous consensus the cows are curiously restriction on culling cows. Caution was encour- absent from these discussions. From this it is easy to aged when it came to shooting cows since many obtain the impression that the cows, for good or ill, seem to have agreed that cows were indeed the key are only receivers of the potency of the bulls, with- to the success of the population, but it is still clear out a will of their own: that a lot of cows were in fact culled, not least when The fights for females no longer occur because hunters also tried to spare young bulls so that they of the lack of males, any selection on the basis of would grow to capital bulls. The dilemma in this quality principles is non-existent. [—] The old matter was that hunters tended to shoot the cow but bull that roamed far and wide and ruthlessly had to leave the calf or, as this prey was often called eliminated younger competitors and gave life in hunting circles: ‘sterile cow accompanied by one and lustre to the moose territory and played a or two strange calves.’ It was popular to fill the quota vital part from a selective point of view, he is no with these ‘sterile’ cows during the first half of the more. It is a pale image of the married life of the century but later research showed that less than a moose that is on display and one that propose a third of all cows that were shot under this pretence great threat to the development of the popula- were in fact sterile. It is self evident that a young calf tion (Haglund 1956). has very limited possibilities of surviving without the cow, especially in winter, and this practice was often blamed for the poor overall quality of the moose Hunting restrictions and calf shooting population. Curiously, many hunters even seem to How did Swedish hunters go about achieving a have suggested a sort of Lamarckian solution: that quantitatively and qualitatively good moose popula- the shooting of cows not only affected the current tion? As stated earlier, the population was very generation of calves but the next one as well. When weak at the beginning of the twentieth century and or if the motherless calves grew up they often a lot of work was done to simply raise numbers, became weak and scrawny, characteristics which often by initiating more or less complete restric- they allegedly passed on to the new generation that tions on moose hunting for a number of years in they parented. Because of this, hunters opposed different parts of the country, but this was a blunt restrictions on calf culling (even though it was con- instrument at best. It was said that restrictions did sidered beneficial for population numbers). They not develop moose management to any degree – it wanted to have the opportunity to rid the popula- only meant that hunters shot uninhibitedly for a tion of bad breeding material and it was also stated few years, enforced a restriction when the popula- that the restrictions criminalised an act often made tion was too weak and then resumed indiscriminate accidentally. One was more than happy to see shooting when it was revoked (Lönnberg 1925). poachers punished for their actions but an honest Restrictions also meant that the absence of serious hunter had to be allowed to make mistakes without moose hunters paved the way for predators and, not ruining the whole of the hunting season. In this least, poachers (Modin 1921; Möllersvärd 1922; context, the stories told often become slightly Johansson 1922a,b). farcical, like the hunter who knowingly shot a calf. The other method to strengthen the moose When he went to fetch his horse to carry the calf population was, if anything, even more controver- home, a rivalling hunting team showed up and took sial – the restrictions against calf culling. During the loot. The first hunter was so angry that he most of the first half of the twentieth century it was reported the hunting team to the local police and forbidden to shoot calves and for the hunter that they were accordingly heavily fined but so was he for did there was a heavy fine. During years when the firing the first shot. Neither was the problem solved population was considered weak in both a quantita- by issuing calf licences since the hunters who were tive and qualitative sense most hunters agreed that not able to obtain a licence protested strongly the best way to boost numbers was to spare both (Haglund 1945). cows and calves, but as the population grew in size Despite this, many articles pleaded the advan- opinions started to diverge and many hunters now tages of calf shooting, but before the restriction was wanted to cull calves. lifted, it appeared that many hunters actually The big problem, however, was not the restric- opposed the idea of shooting calves. Before tions on calf shooting per se but that there was no 1940 the foremost opposition seems to be of a International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 173 Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:32 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg protectionist or sentimental variety: ‘The calves of is not prepared to shoot calves then he has no place the farm are one with the nutritional needs of in the forest to begin with: humans. But the small moose calf is an orna- To the hunters who with a tremble in their voices ment, albeit undeveloped, of the wilderness’ say that they will not participate in infanticide in (Anonymous 1934). Many hunters also had objec- the forest (but who are delighted to shoot roe tions in terms of sportsmanship – the calf was con- deer fawns), I can give no better advice than to sidered easier prey compared to the bull (although stay home from the moose hunt and leave room they are much smaller and therefore should be a for other hunters with more sound opinions more difficult target) and hunters who shot calves (Lundin 1968). risked being mocked by their hunting teams. But the trials with calf culling lead to not only From 1960 and onwards, Svensk Jakt (and a more healthy population but also considerably Jägareförbundet) lobbied forcefully for calf cull- more moose. By saving cows with calves and older ing. With requests and headlines such as ‘Choose bulls a reasonable regeneration percentage was the ‘calf strategy’ – you too!’ (1963/64), ‘Why kept, sometimes even climbing to as much as should we shoot calves?’ (1968) and ‘Which [of two 50% according to some inventories (Stålfelt 1969). models of culling] would you choose – Calftown From 1977 onwards practically all of Sweden or Bullcity?’ (1978), the journal wanted Swedish hunted according to the organised moose hunt and moose hunters to realise that the only way to a in 1982 the end result came in the form of 180.000 healthy population was through calf culling (Dahl shot moose. The complaints now rather concerned 1968a,b; Malm 1963/64; Fritzon 1978). Preferably the fact that there were so many moose that the at least half of the annual harvest should consist hunt was no longer a recreation but merely work. of calves and when the opportunity was given to The thrill of the hunt was gone (Andersson 1980). perform such a cull in three trial counties (Kopparberg, Västmanland and Norrbotten) in 1968 it was considered proven that such culling was THE SIZE OF THE POPULATION working. There were many articles that were more than happy to report that slaughter weight, antler How was it possible to know how large the popula- development and mean age were increasing within tion really was? During the early twentieth century the population in these counties and that the hunters had to be satisfied with using the numbers hunters also had been able to shoot more moose of culled moose as an estimate of the total size of the than before the start of the trial. population – if the hunters could shoot many Despite this intense propaganda campaign there moose, then the population was large, and if they is a core of resistance within the hunting commu- could not shoot as many, the population was small. nity against calf shooting and it is possible to Inventories of wildlife were, however, a question uncover the older, more emotional, arguments for that was widely debated during the twentieth cen- saving calves. To shoot a calf that is together with a tury, although no practical result seems to have cow is said to work against the ‘aesthetic [sic] come from this until the second half of the century. aspect’ of hunting and some hunters can’t sleep at In an article from 1903 it is stated: night knowing that they have taken a calf from its The last years’ attempts at better wildlife ‘nursing mother’ (Berglund 1969; Svensson 1979). management have, as we all know, not been That half of the harvest should consist of calves successful, despite the hopes of our managers. would be a ‘disregard for ethical values, loss of the The reasons for the low success of the manage- sportsmanlike elements of the hunt and a waste of ment efforts are many but one of them is the lack natural resources’ (Svensson 1979). However, apart of a reliable statistic of the value of the hunt for from the information campaign described above, the people in this country. Those who do not the attitude from the journal towards these opin- themselves belong to the brotherhood of ions seems curiously scornful and obviously within Hubertus only see hunting as an unworthy pas- the category of what is today called ruling tech- time for the rich or a meagre living for the poor niques. Established writers mock this kind of and thus do not want to give it any significance, hunter (who generally are ‘only’ represented by worthy of support from the general public letters to the editor) and point out that if a hunter (Anonymous 1903). 174 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:33 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg Not until 1945 was there a national inventory and the hunters and also on how much damage this then foremost to investigate how the population population was thought to cause (Lewenhaupt fared during the Second World War. But since it 1994). Moreover, the companies were in some was the responsibility of each individual hunting instances even accused of creating the current situ- management consultant (jaktvårdskonsulent) to ation due to a systematic use of large clear felling gather information from his own county, there was which resulted in a high number of small deciduous varying success with obtaining a complete picture trees (Bollman 1985). of the population – the sample areas could fluctu- What is more, an interesting but unfortunate ate between 20 and 70% of the total county area further complication emerged in this situation at (Hamilton 1945). the turn of the century. For the first time in many Once hunters started to take stock of the popula- years, Sweden now has a wolf population of about tion, they concluded that, in some instances, it was 100 animals and their prime prey is moose. In even bigger that first anticipated. Farmers and some Hunting Management Areas where forest forest owners were, however, not equally satisfied companies (landowners) has pressured hunters since a larger moose population resulted in more (who lease the hunting rights) to keep moose popu- damage to crops and trees. Hunters had previously lations small, wolves has taken all of the hunters’ been aware of the danger of having too large a surplus, leaving them with a non-existent moose population since damage could drive farmers into hunt (See e.g. Sand et al. 2004a,b; Olsson 2003); uninhibited poaching to protect their crops. Larsson 2003; Törnström 2002a, 2001). Hunters Farmers were a group that hunters did not want to naturally resented this and wanted to get rid of the antagonise and in 1950 the possibility that Sweden wolves or be allowed to keep a moose population might already have a ‘maximum population’ was that can feed both hunters and wolves, while the expressed (Hamilton 1950). Four years later, when property owners’ attitude so far has been that ‘it the moose population was estimated to about is not the forest companies’ job to grow wolf fodder 90,000 animals, Bertil Haglund wrote: at the expense of forestry’ (Törnström 2002b). At The supply of moose in many parts of the the moment of writing, no realistic solution to the country is now about as big as we could wish for, problem has been presented. in some areas even too plentiful for forest However, returning to the cull panic at the management and agriculture [. . .] We thus beginning of the 1980s, a slightly paradoxical situa- have reason to settle for definitive moose tion occurred ten years later. It was then claimed management. that the population the hunters had worked so hard Hence, although hunters relatively early con- to achieve had already been shot to pieces. Articles sidered the moose population to be quantitatively like ‘The Golden Age Gone?’ from 1993 laments sufficient, it increased for most of the second half the fact that the cull numbers now are down to of the twentieth century and at the beginning of 100,000 animals (still equal to the estimated total the 1980s was so numerous that a certain amount population in 1950) and that ‘[i]t is a proof of of ‘cull panic’ set in. This was foremost due to poverty that we can’t take care of our own moose, complaints from the forest industry and a steadily one of the finest populations of high game in the increasing amount of traffic accidents (Thelander world. This year’s culling numbers show that we are 1985). Forage damage to trees (primarily pine) had well on our way to ruin’ (Höjenberg 1993). been mentioned earlier but it seems that the extent During the last decades of the twentieth century of this only reached untenable levels towards the hunters had far better instruments than cull num- end of the twentieth century (depending on who bers alone to verify the size of the Swedish moose estimated the damage, of course). A certain antago- population. The inventories that started after nism can be discerned between the forest compa- World War II continued in various forms in differ- nies and the hunters, not least when the companies ent counties. Based on North American models, demanded large cullings in order to protect their inventories from the air with planes or choppers property, while they were also raising the culling began and, despite the fact that these inventories fees (Schröder 1987; Eggertz 1998). Quite often were about twice as costly per square mile com- there seem to be discrepancies in opinions of the pared to ground inventories, they became popular size of the population between the companies and since they saved a lot of time. A further step towards International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 175 Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:33 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg a more closely monitored moose population was the researchers and their conclusions are backed by taken in 1985, with the moose observation inven- Svensk Jakt and the disdain for science that can be tory (älgobsen) where all hunters were obliged seen in an article from the 1930s is hard to find in to report all sightings of moose throughout the later volumes: moose hunt (Sandegren and Tärnhuvud 1984; Every careful moose hunter used to the forest Anonymous 1985; Fritzon 1985; Thelander 1985; and animals, who himself has felled more than Thelander et al. 1986; Karlsson et al. 1988; Karlsson ten moose, can testify to the importance of the 1991). By compiling data from these observations rule [to shoot an animal with only one shot even with ground and air inventories, Swedish hunters though it does not die right away]. Zoologists were finally able to obtain a relatively complete pic- and shamans may then say whatever they wish ture of the total moose population. about it (Bromée 1938). Despite this increased focus on research and sci- ence, neither Jägareförbundet or Svensk Jakt The increasing influence of science on become scientific establishments – the main thing the moose hunt is still the hunt. Throughout the twentieth century All the inventories and trial hunts during the there is a strong current of passion for the moose as second half of the twentieth century also mark the an animal and a prey and it is clear that many hunt- increasingly large role that science now plays within ers feel personally responsible for the survival and the moose hunt and Svensk Jakt. During the 1960s good health of the population. Not least during the and 1970s there are many published articles about early decades when the population was still rela- anatomical investigations of uteri and jaws and eval- tively weak it was often articulated how important uations of the results from the trial hunts in the it is to protect the Swedish moose: three counties of Västmanland, Kopparberg and I also strongly want to point out that since we in Norrbotten by the biologists Gunnar Markgren and our forests have such a prey as the moose, it is our Finn Stålfelt, who were paid by Jägareförbundet to unquestionable duty to in every way possible do moose research. All of these data, tables and dia- take care of the finest high game in Europe grams (an increase which probably can also be (Kugelberg 1936). explained by better printing technologies) show Even in the early twenty-first century hunters are very clearly the advantages of calf culling and lends still proud of the Swedish moose hunt and moose an atmosphere of credibility to Svensk Jakt. The jour- population which is said to be ‘the strongest moose nal is, however, careful to point out that, although population the world has probably ever seen. Not moose research was extensive in the late twentieth to mention all the joys of hunting that is behind century and the knowledge base has increased con- hundreds of thousands of felled moose!’ (Lindroth siderably, it is still a problema to put these theories 2000). into practice (Lundvik 1996). Such conclusions are also emphasised by articles where hunters say that they sometimes find it diffi- EPILOGUE cult to get on speaking terms with the researchers. They are worried that nearby trial hunts will disturb The purpose of this paper has been to investigate wildlife on their own property or upset because the discussions about moose hunting and the Swedish researchers’ results and suggestions have not moose population found in Svensk Jakt and through yielded any tangible results within their own this to tell the history of the management of the management area (Andersson 1978; Isacson 1982). Swedish moose. To determine how the moose hunt Hunters reactions were also strongly against an has actually been performed, based on the source experiment in 1982 which demanded that a num- material, is of course not possible but, as the paper ber of moose be shot from a chopper since many shows, there are nonetheless certain issues that hunters deemed this to be slaughter and not hunt- have been given more print space than others. That ing (what actions are seen as ‘real’ hunting and some of these issues also have made their mark in which are considered to step over the boundaries hunting legislation suggests that they are of more of this ‘real’ hunting really deserves a dissertation than just internal interest. When looking at the in itself) (Meiton 1983). It is, however, obvious that material in total, what is perhaps most obvious is 176 International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Z:\Sapiens Publishing\Int J Biodiversity Sci & Management\A5116 - Bio Sci & Management - Sept 2005.vp 15 December 2005 11:58:34 Color profile: Generic CMYK printer profile Composite Default screen Moose and moose hunting in Sweden Åkerberg how Jägareförbundet as an association receives and put into text books. When looking at the history of takes an increasingly larger responsibility for the Swedish moose management it is, however, obvious Swedish moose population and the moose hunt. that complete control of a non-domesticated At the beginning of the twentieth century the species is very hard. It is quite possible to discern a articles mostly remind the reader of a gentlemen’s certain frustration in all these articles that the club where the writers mainly address each other moose population will not let itself be managed as and not a larger audience. It is not until the journal well as the hunters would like. That hunters in some obtains its new editor in chief in 1940 that it takes an instances might even see the moose as their ‘cattle’ unmistakable line, with a staff of professional writ- is apparent when they liken moose management to ers, and those who do not belong to this group are how the farmer manages his cows. It is, for example, banished to the letters section. The 1960s and the customary to comment that the farmer does not kill trial hunts show very clearly that Jägareförbundet his best breeding stock and neither should the (and Svensk Jakt) are now forces to be reckoned hunter. A further complication also arises when a within the hunting community. During this period, highly maintained prey species comes into contact the ruling techniques that were mentioned above with a predator that is not as completely managed, in connection with calf culling, for example, also as in the case of moose and wolves. When looking become more common – writers are not only simply at the moose, it is evident that complete human critical but sometimes even scornful towards control of nature is virtually impossible, even in a people who do not share the journal’s point of country as urbanised and industrialised as Sweden. view on how to manage the moose population. All the articles from Svensk Jakt concerning the However, these tendencies decline towards the end Swedish moose hunt still have one thing in com- of the twentieth century and thus have only a brief mon. Despite the fact that moose management has shining moment. tried to achieve basically the same goal for the It is also obvious that Svensk Jakt during the whole of the twentieth century, it seems impossible second half of the twentieth century develops into a to create an optimal moose population. Naturally, forceful tool of propaganda for Jägareförbundet. the words one uses to express this are different; in The readers are drowned in articles proclaiming 1911 the ‘correctly executed moose hunt [is] the the advantages of calf culling or organised moose most glorious and manly sport that exists in the hunts. Everybody interviewed about these methods North’, while 70 years later one is more prone to are of course very happy with them and their results. talk about ‘production-adapted culling’ or ‘moose Jägareförbundet has since 1938 maintained the so- administration’ (Knöppel 1911; Huldt 1974). But called ‘general assignment’ (allmänna uppdraget) the goal, an optimal moose population for both and thus had the practical responsibility for hunters and other users of the forest, is still the Swedish wildlife management. This means that the same. As late as September 2004, another sugges- association has also, through Svensk Jakt, had better tion was put forward by hunters and the forest opportunities to inform its members of what has industry on how to obtain a balanced moose been done to further this management such as population, a sign as good as any that this goal is far courses, inventories, observations and the like. from reached. Swedish moose administration is Wildlife management may seem simple when it a dynamic process and the establishment of is boiled down to a few principles like the Swedish ‘definitive moose management’ will probably goal of having a ‘balanced moose population’ and never happen. REFERENCES Almenberg O. Kolmårdsälgen – utsvulten eller Andersson S. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Sep 1, 2005
Keywords: BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION; CULTURE; ETHICS; TRADITIONS AND RELIGION
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