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Seal hunting

Seal hunting was a significant means of livelihood for the archipelago inhabitants. The seals provided skin and blubber, which was boiled into train oil. The skin and the oil were sold, and seal meat was considered a delicacy. Seal hunting was commonly practised in the Kvarken region.

Seal hunting 360-bild
Preparations for the seal hunt

Spring was the main sealing season. In February‒March, when the cubs were born, hunting parties of five‒eight men ventured out into the vast icy expanses on hunting expeditions that could last for several weeks, sometimes for as long as three months. During the expeditions, special seal hunting boats served as basecamps for the men. A successful hunting party could bring back more than one hundred seals that had been shot during one single expedition.

Seal hunting out on the ice was a dangerous enterprise. The ice floe might break up or a storm might take the hunting party by surprise. Sometimes an entire hunting party vanished without trace and no one ever knew what became of the men. Due to the ever-changing ice and weather conditions, the sealing expeditions often took longer than planned. However, seal hunting and the income it brought were so important to the archipelago inhabitants that the hunters went out every year, regardless of the dangers.

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