Sunday, August 21, 2011


Note: No goose, nor other bird, was harmed during this hunting episode
The hunting season for the pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) started yesterday and today I had  my first try at hunting here on Svalbard. Me and Kristian took a taxi (About 250NOK)  to Bjørndalen and started to walk up the valley. The weather was quite alright, but a bit foggy.

Bjørndalen. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)
Almost as soon as we walked out of the no-hunting zone that encircles Longyearbyen, we spotted a large herd of geese flying around. Judging by the color however it appeared to be brant goose (Branta bernicla) or barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis). The pink-footed goose is normally easy to differ from these because of its brown color, however, the lack of binoculars made it a bit worse.
Herd of geese. (Photo: Kristian Gram Sloth)
Walking up on a small moraine we thought we saw a group of goose in the grass a couple of hundred meters ahead. In order not to scare them away, I asked Kristian to stay behind, while I would try to sneak up on them. When I was just below the little plateu, I loaded my rifle and got ready to creep up. Story short. It was a pile of rocks...

Me sneaking up on some rocks. (Photo: Kristian Gram Sloth)

Kristian the danish hunter. (Photo: Alexander Hovland)

We saw quite a lot of goose in the valley, but they were all of the wrong kind, except one. On the other side of a gorge that follows the valley floor I heard a single goose and using the camera we identifyed it as the right one.The only problem was that this gorge had really steep edges and it was impossible for us to cross it in any safe way. We tried to walk further up, but it just seemed to continue forever. In the end we had to give it up.

The /()&(/)& pink-footed goose (Photo: Kristian Gram Sloth)

 At least we got a nice trip and Kristian got some really nice pictures of some reindeer. Back at the road we got a ride with a danish man who drove us all the way up to our barracks.

Beautiful picture of a reindeer. (Photo: Kristian Gram Sloth)

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