Foto: Tor Lundberg Tuorda
Foto: Tor Lundberg.

With the prey in sight

There are more than 270,000 active hunters in Sweden, and every year they shoot around 95,000 elks (moose). For the Sami, hunting is of great value as a secondary trade.

It is difficult to assess the value of hunting. For Torsten Jonsson (see the article 'Hunting as a livelihood') and other Sami who depend on hunting and fishing for their livelihood, the value of every elk they shoot is very significant. But the value can also be seen in a wider perspective.

Hunting value is usually divided into the value of the meat and the recreational value of hunting as a pastime, i.e. what hunters are prepared to pay for the pleasure of hunting.

Hunting's estimated value
One way of assessing the value in accordance with the above 'formula' was presented by the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management for the year 1997. A total of 94,300 elks were shot in 1997. (The figure is almost the same in 2013.) Given an average carcass weight of 135 kg and a price for the meat of SEK 35 (paid by the slaughterhouse), the total value of the meat would be about SEK 445 million. According to earlier estimates made by Associate Professor Leif Mattsson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå at the end of the 1980s, the recreational value in the case of elk is about 60% of the total hunting value. This means that the total hunting value for elk could be estimated at about SEK 1.1 billion.

Wellness as well
In addition to this, there is what might be called the "wellness value'' - for many people hunting is the main reason for walking outdoors, and this benefits the individual and society as a whole.

This is not a comprehensive analysis of the economic effects of hunting, which would have to take into account the cost of damage to forests and crops, road-traffic accidents, etc., as well as the effects of hunting on employment, production and sales of goods and services. The value of wild animals for biodiversity is another factor that would have to be taken into account.

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