Stalking in the fog and a successful hunt
Hunting in Sweden is so closely connected to my own hunting passion that last year I went moose hunting there for the third time. What fascinates me most about hunting are the hours spent stalking the game, then listening for the good dog’s bark and finally carefully approaching the animal I am about to shoot. Therefore, I was really looking forward to my trip to Åre in Jämtland, following an invitation by my friend Johan Persson. Together with his staff and some excellently-trained dogs, Johan offers hunting moose and other game species, and he accommodates his guests in a carefully restored historic manor house.
The typical hunting day on the Medstugan estate starts at 9.30 after a hearty breakfast. Then Johan takes us to one of the surrounding mountains in his pick-up truck. One of his dogs is of course with us. After a short drive we leave the truck behind and continue our way uphill on foot. When we spot some moose droppings later, Johan switches on the positioning collar of his Nordic Spitz Snöa and sends her on the track. Steadily we continue our ascent.
Suddenly at a slope opposite we spot a cow moose with her calf, and the rangefinder measures about 550 metres. Her almost white hind legs are barely distinguishable from the birch trees of the forest, so that both animals are well camouflaged. They notice us at once and with large steps disappear into the depth of the dark forest. Always keeping an eye on the signal of the tracker we move further up. By now we are only about 1,000 metres away from Snöa and the moose.
Luckily, there is a headwind. Otherwise we would have had to to walk around the forest in a wide circle. 200 metres, 150 metres, 100 … We leave our backpacks behind, and without making any noise we approach the moose in slow motion on all fours. Hunting cannot get any more exciting than this. Snöa has tracked down the cow moose and her calf. She is now barking incessantly and is running around them. We hear trampling in the forest ahead of us, as if a herd of red deer was breaking through the undergrowth. Something is wrong! The moose are gone. Snöa is gone too, chasing after them. Disappointed we sink to the ground breathing deeply.
The next morning brings dense fog. Nevertheless, we decide to climb the hill opposite the lodge. At about 1 pm we reach a clearing, and the tracker shows that Snöa has spotted some game about 1.5 km away from us. At that moment the sun is shining through the fog. Snöa is standing behind an elevation that we have to cross. We can hear Snöa’s fierce, loud barking. Now I notice something moving among the high trees in front of me. There he is – a strong bull moose.
It isn’t safe to shoot yet. Then the moose moves quickly to the left, and in front of our eyes he crosses a clearing, trying to increase the distance between us with quick steps. We follow fast against the wind, running parallel at a distance of about 150 metres. Now the distance to the mosse is getting shorter – a glance at the tracker shows us another clearing that must be located at a right angle between us, Snöa and the moose.
80 metres distance to the bull. We keep on running. 50 metres, and the clearing is right before us. We kneel down, I load my rifle and aim. As expected, the moose heads for the clearing to get up the hill faster. Now I can see his head, his neck – the shot resounds in the forest. The moose gets hit by the bullet, turns to the right and gallops uphill into a thick spruce wood, followed by the dog. They both disappear, and we only hear Snöa barking, then …. silence. A clean heart shot has killed the bull almost instantly, and the exit wound is a little to the front. Among the trees Snöa is standing next to the bull.
I look at the eight-year-old bull: my reward for an arduous hunt. Johan, Snöa and I are sitting down next to the bull, paying our last respects. I am truly greatful for this possibility to hunt with Johan, for the excellent work with his dogs and the constantly good and joyful atmosphere. If you love unspoilt nature, active hunting and the unaffected, open-minded way of the people you simply have to try your hunting luck in Sweden.