Norway’s annual moose hunt seems to be taking priority over many Norwegians’ right to the great outdoors. Even the national trekking association DNT was warning Norwegians on Friday against hiking in areas where the moose hunt was getting underway, just as the annual autumn holiday weeks were, too.
“Don’t go hiking in areas where there’s moose-hunting,” Per Lundstein of DNT Finnskogen og Omegn in southeastern Norway, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Friday afternoon. Many popular hiking trails are located right where landowners also sell lucrative hunting rights.
Even though the forests are always supposed to be open and accessible for everyone, Lundstein added that “we can use the forest both before and after the hunting season, so then we can also show consideration to both the animals and the hunters and take a break (from hiking) right during the moose hunt.”
Others disagree, even the leader of Norway’s hunting and fishing federation Knut Arne Gjems. He was among eager moose hunters who was out on the first day and quickly shot a calf.
“I don’t agree that you shouldn’t go hiking in the forest even when the moose hunt is on,” Gjems told NRK. “It’s safe. The forest is open to everyone and we show consideration to hikers.”
DNT nonetheless advised hikers to wear brightly coloured clothing, seek advice from hunters in the area, avoid the forests during the weekends, stay on marked trails and “think safety” all the time.
Norway’s moose hunt, meanwhile, was valued at more than NOK 1 billion in a new study carried out by Menon Economics for Statskog, which manages state-owned land and is the country’s largest hunting and fishing administrator. The value of moose meat sales alone were put at NOK 250 million, and then comes the value of the recreational, social and health aspects of hunting. Norway has around 60,000 registered hunters who also need special clothes, weapons and equipment, putting the total value at NOK 1.1 billion a year.