Norwegian Language Blog

Deer Populations in Norway Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Nature

In the past 2 weeks, I have had several close encounters with hjort (deer) here in MN.  Last week, I was on a bike ride on an open rural road with fields on both sides and a massive deer sprung out of the ditch no more than 50 ft. in front of me as I was pedaling along at a fast pace.  My heart was racing for a few miles after that-I can´t imagine what the result would have been had I been a little farther ahead…my next recent close encounter with a hjort was this past weekend in the Apostle Islands.  My boyfriend and I took his car on the ferry to Madeline Island (the largest of the Apostles, but still only 13 miles long) and were driving on the narrow gravel roads to check out properties for fun.  We were driving perhaps a bit faster than we should have on the road and came extremely close to smoking a huge hjort with the car.  This morning I was running with my dog in the nearby arboretum and nearly got run over by a mama hjort and her young ones!

I personally have never seen as many hjort in MN before as I have in the past several weeks (I´ve seen more than just the 3 that I came in very close range of).  This got me thinking about hjort in Norway and the various species that exist there.  Norway is home to rød hjort(red deer), rådyr (roe deer), reinsdyr (reindeer), and elg (moose).  Rød hjort are most common in Western Norway and Trøndelag.  They are known to damage crop fields and fruit orchards.  Due to the effects of weather conditions and predator existence, the population of rådyr is quite variable. Despite shrinking habitations the populations of rød hjort, råhjort, and elg are increasing in northern and western Norway due to mild winters, increased food supply, and increased hunting of younger animals and males, resulting in an increased ratio of fertile females.

Norway manages the last viable population of European wild reinsdyr and it is a current challenge to protect this species.  Railway, road, and hydropower infrastructure, as well as human disturbances have all led to an increasingly fragmented habitat for reinsdyr.

I´ve eaten both hjort and reinsdyr in Norway and both are delicous…just thought I´d mention that even though I support protecting especially reinsdyr as a potential endangered species in the future.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Virginia LeTourneau:

    We so hoped to see elg while we were in Norway but only saw a small deer crossing the road in front of us on Easter Sunday. My hubby did eat reinsdyr and liked it, too.