A record number of women are expected to take part in Sweden's annual moose hunt when it opens next week, with women now making up a quarter of those passing hunting exams, officials say.
Hunting is a hugely popular national pastime in Sweden, in particular the moose hunt, and is as much a part of life for the country's working class as it is for the rich.
Some 300,000 moose, or elk as they're known in Europe, roam Sweden's woods during the summer months, and about a third of those are killed off each autumn during the hunt.
“Society has changed over the years. Now people can pursue their interests, regardless of gender and there's nothing stopping them. Women have always been a part of the hunt but in a different way,” Anja Kjellsson, a game manager in the northern county of Vaesterbotten and who runs a network for women hunters, said.
In the past, women took care of the hunting dogs and the animal meat from the hunt, and minded the children while the men were out in the forests.
“The hunt has always been a little traditional, but now it's really caught on among women,” she says, noting that the change started in earnest in the 1980s.
“Now they shoot the animals themselves,” Kjellsson says.
According to the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management, the share of women passing the hunting exam has risen from 18 percent in 1995 to 25 percent this year.
Some 14,200 women in Sweden have now paid the annual hunting conservation fee required to hunt – including Sweden's glamorous, 24-year-old blonde-haired blue-eyed Princess Madeleine (who shot a roe deer last year) as well as Communications Minister Ulrica Messing.
Special networks for women hunters have in recent years been set up nationwide.
“Women need help initially to get started, without the pressure of men looking on. Men often have an advantage because they learn to shoot a weapon during their military service,” says Ewa Klingspor, a 61-year-old sculptor who runs a network for women hunters in Stockholm.
Some women prefer to hunt in all-female groups while others enjoy a mixed group.
The highlight of the hunting year is the moose hunt, which this year opens Monday in the northern parts of the country and Oct. 9 everywhere else.
A large hulking beast, the moose is dark brown with massive shoulders, shovel-shaped rounded antlers, and a long muzzle and short goatee. It can easily weigh up to 500kg, yet it roams the forest on awkwardly long, spindly legs.
In addition to moose, Swedes hunt bear, deer, boar, as well as small game such as hare, pheasant and grouse.
The sport is considered a popular social outing and an opportunity to breathe in the fresh clean air in Sweden's pristine outdoors –- another of Swedes' favorite pastimes.
“It's fantastic to be out in the woods before dawn and see nature wake up. Suddenly a fox or a deer turns up in front of you, it's fascinating,” says Klingspor, who has taken part in hunts since she was a little girl tagging along with her father.
The hunt “is primarily about the outdoors, but also the excitement and the knowledge that is required to become a good hunter,” she adds.
The meat is consumed by the hunters, with 20 percent of households nationwide and up to 90 percent in the north consuming meat from game.
Weapon manufacturers have caught on to women's swelling interest in the sport and now make rifles adapted for women. So-called 'lady guns' are lighter, with shorter barrels and butts.
Men have also gradually come to accept women as equals on the hunt.
“Some men gave me funny looks in the beginning. They didn't really know how to deal with it,” says Jaana Arvidsson, 42, who passed her hunting exam six years ago and who works for the Board of Fisheries when she's not out hunting.
“But once they see you shoot, it changes. They're often very helpful, they want to share tips and stuff,” she says.
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and