Among the rites of a Norwegian autumn are the traditional hunts that take place in the fields, the mountains and even the sea. This year’s moose hunt is firmly underway, for example, while traps have been set along the coast to catch the ultimate underwater treasure.
In Trysil, the mountain community in eastern Norway that turns into a major ski resort during the winter, an estimated thousand residents have disappeared into the woods, hoping to track down skogens konge (the King of the Forest), better known as the elg (moose).
“The moose hunt is culture in Trysil, just like theater is in the city,” one avid hunter told newspaper Aftenposten late last week. The season started last week, on September 25, a day so important for the locals that they reckon their time by it. Things happen before moose season or after it: “That’s the way we actually look at things,” he said. Last year he and fellow hunters shot 923 moose in Trysil, the single largest hunt in the country.
Several hundred kilometers to the southwest, in the coastal town of Arendal, many local residents are consumed by another seasonal custom: hummerfiske (the annual lobster catch). It’s strictly regulated, it’s not allowed to pull up traps on Sundays and new efforts are in place to control the “black market,” in which locals are suspected of catching lobsters and selling them for cash, with no disclosure to tax authorities.
The state speculates that three of four lobsters aren’t traded legally, or that some families simply eat enormous amounts of lobster in the late autumn. The exclusive Norwegian lobsters do make it into many gourmet food shops around the country, though, where they sell for upwards of NOK 550 per kilo (nearly USD 50 per pound).