Student mammal watching in Sweden

Hi all!

We are 3 biology students from Wageningen (Netherlands) and we are planning on going to Sweden to see some amazing mammals, which have been on our list for a very long time. Our main goals are:

  • Lynx
  • Wolf
  • Wolverine
  • Bear
  • Arctic fox
  • Moose

We all don’t have a whole lot of experience with watching mammals specifically, although we are all biology students and all have our different expertises (birds, moths, plants etc). Right now we are trying to figure out what the best plan of action would be to check off all the mammals on our list.

I did some research and in the end I came across the post by Andreas Jonsson ( where he mentioned The green dots in the image attached indicate lynx sightings in the last month. The same kind of map shows up for wolf (orange), indicating that both species can basically be found all over (south) Sweden (?).

So now we’re currently a bit lost on what the best plan of action would be to tackle our list. Do we just drive around in forest regions and hope for the best, or are there indeed specifically good regions for our list species? How do we maximise our chances?

Furthermore, does someone have any recommendations for (cheap) locations to stay at in the south and the middle of Sweden where we are close to nature?


Kind regards,




  • Lars Michael Nielsen

    Well it all depends on when youre planning to go, how far north youre willing to go, and equipment.

    Moose is quite easy and can be seen all year round, just drive around on the small forests roads keep an eye open around clearings and fields near the forests.

    Lynx is probably easiest in march/april as thats the period were they’re mating and easier to discover by their calls. Only problem is thats also when they’re hunted. The have a quite big population here in Klamar län, SE Sweden and North of here. I’ve seen the passing my hut here in the forest and a male is marking on our wood shed. If i was actively trying to see one i’d probably invest in a thermal spotter.

    For wolves the best time i probably in august/september when the pups are starting to stray a little away from their parents and they’re more vocal. Värmalad has a quite big population and you should definetly search for them in the “wolf belt” of middle sweden. As you know there’s quite a big wolf cull going on right now.

    I’ve seen bears in Jämtland NE of Östersund. Bears are most common from Gävleborg län/Dalarna and Northwards. They are most active from April and on.

    I dont have any tips for Wolverine and Arctic Fox, Wolverine has a quite northern distribution and so do Arctic Fox as well and on top of that theyre very local. Stekenjokk is one location i believe.

    But as youre biology students I think you should try to see if there’s any projects regarding any of the carnivores you could join, perhaps as part of you study or as volounteers, that would give you a lot of good contacts.

    Try to see “skandulv”

    They might be able to help with wolves and know people that reaserch Lynx and Bear for sure.

    If you want to be sure to see the animals there’s several guiding companies eg. “wild sweden”.

    Try to post on the “mammal watchin europe” on Facebook. People might be albe to help you there as well.

    In Sweden there is “allemansrätten” this allows you to camp on public ground everywhere. But you shoud be able to find campsites in many places or perhaps hire a house in the forest. It’s often cheap.

    I hope youll succeed
    Lars Michael

    • Jonatan den Haan

      Dear Lars,

      First of all, thank you for your amazing reply!
      We are planning on going 3-17 Februari, as this is when we are all free to go. I would love to come back multiple times, but sadly I only have a few very limited holidays in a year.I have decided to invest into a thermal spotter, I was thinking about purchasing a Hikmicro LH15, do you happen to have any experience with this spotter?

      I was trying to find “Värmalad” on the map, but I was not able to find it. I also tried googling “wolf belt sweden”, but it only gave me some really nice handcrafted leather belts with a wolf buckle, made in Sweden. Also lovely, but not what I was looking for.
      We expected that our chance for bears was quite low, as they are probably in hibernation right now. Nevertheless, we don’t want to give up before we have even left. We will contact Skandulv! Thank you for the tip!

      Thank you for all your insights and happy mammal watching!


  • Antee

    For Brown Bears I can recommend some forest roads in the region of Hälsingland.

    61°25’58.9″N 15°27’23.8″E

    61°37’09.3″N 15°32’46.2″E

    61°12’60.0″N 16°00’52.3″E

    61°11’35.7″N 15°43’59.7″E

    Although no guarantee, I have seen Bears myself here.
    Go out late in the evening. The last hour before sunset is the best. Stay out after dark and do spotlighting.
    Spring time is by far the best. When they move around alot.

    You will for sure see some Moose along this roads as well. There is also Wolves and Lynxes in this area but rarely seen.

    Also roads around the villages of LOS and HAMRA are good ones for Bears.

    Also in this area you can use a hide or take help from guides:

    Arctic fox is very hard in Sweden as they are not many here and always in very remote places.
    It´s also later in the season (July – Sep) and not very good to combine with Brown Bears.

    For best chance use a guided tour.
    There is a couple of them from Helags mountain station and Stekenjokk:

    Eurasian Lynx I have seen here:

    57°29’26.0″N 12°52’54.0″E

    Use small roads in this area (Around Svenljunga , Holsljunga) at night. From 12 until the morning when the traffic is gone.
    Rare of course but possible with alot of luck.
    Moose, Roe deer, Red fox, Red deer, European hare and Wild boar are all very common and seen almost every night.
    Early spring, March/April is the best time. Earlier then the Brown bear.

  • Animalita

    Arctic Fox has done very well in Sweden in the last years. Mostly due to feeding as there are far between the really good rodent years nowadays. It’s a place more south than Stekenjokk where they also can be found. Flatruet, a big open plateau along the road between Funäsdalen and Ljungdalen. A friend were camping there some years ago and had a litter of curious puppies just outside the tent in the morning. Look out for Norway Lemming if it is a good year, and in the forested areas around Mountain Hare is common.
    I have seen a Bear just south of Funäsdalen once.
    Wolverine is probably most easy (least difficult) in winter in the north where they can be seen in the mountain slopes against the snow from far away. But there are also wolverines in the forest much more south. Try small roads around Lindesberg and Skinnskatteberg north of Örebro at night. I have never seen Wolf or Wolverine in Sweden but this is a very exciting area where both are possible with a large amount of luck.

  • Lars Michael Nielsen

    I Forgot about Flaturet, i think its worth a try. I i remember correct a Musk Oxen has been seen a couple of times in that area as well. Skinskatteberg/Lindesberg is a really good area, Wild Sweden is guideing in that area, they got their HQ there as well. Might be useful if you need help.

  • Jonatan den Haan

    Hi all!

    Thank everybody for the absolutely AMAZING help and insights! I’m currently super busy teaching but will reply to you all soon!

    Big bear hugs,

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