Norwegian hunting by the numbers

Heidi Håvan Grosch
Sparbu, Norway

We all have our passions, and for many Norwegians that means hunting season in the fall (autumn/høst). Since North-Trøndelag is one of the best hunting areas in Norway, it is no surprise that hunting comes up in almost every conversation at this time of year. Hunting elg (see Barneblad for a clarification on moose vs. elk) is serious business.

Every year would-be hunters are required to take (and pass) a shooting test, no matter how experienced they are. Since all must hunt on land that hunters own or “rent,” people hunt in teams as it brings with it a wider territory. The law states that you do not shoot unless you have a clear shot, and if you injure an animal without killing it you go after it until it is found.

“It’s not a fashion show either,” a friend recently told me. “It’s not about having the right clothes with a certain brand or mark. It is about being green (camouflaged) and warm.” The government regulates how many animals each team is allowed to take (numbers are high this year because we have so many elg) and consumers can purchase from the hunters or some local stores. One hunter told me that after they shoot an animal, her team sits and has a long break out in the forest, often roasting the heart and drinking coffee before hauling the animal out, a task that can be very labor intensive.

Statistics on Norwegian Hunting and Hunters (
According to Statistics Norway, hunters are NOT a dying breed. Statistics from this year are not available as we in the middle of the season, but statistics from the fall 2013/winter 2014 season say 139,000 people were out hunting, 2% more than the year before. 8,400 of those hunters were women (6% of the total number of hunters). 61,000 hunters were after elg while 44,000 were after hjort (deer). 34,950 elg were shot—300 more animals than the previous year, but still low compared to the average. Of all the municipalities (kommuner), the most elg were shot in Steinkjer (North Trøndelag).

If you look at the number of hunters per capita, Lierne in North Trøndelag and Engerdal in Hedmark continue to be the municipalities with the most male hunters over 16 years old (about 44% of the total populations). As might be expected, very few hunters live in the larger cities; in Oslo and Bergen only 3% of the male population hunt, while in Trondheim that number rises to 6%.


The Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers
The Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers (NJFF) is “the only nationwide interest organization for hunters and anglers in Norway” with approximately 120,000 members from the 570 local hunting and fishing clubs in 19 county organizations. Go to their website ( for specific rules and regulations for non-Norwegians wishing to hunt or fish in Norway.

The Norwegian Deer Center
The Norwegian Red Deer Center is a national center for developing deer as a resource. Check out their English page ( for more details.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 17, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.