Just got back from 10 days of Driven Hunting in Finland, and thought some members might be interested in what goes on over there.
Arranged this hunt last year with my good friend Chris who came over to the UK in 2010 to hunt Red Deer in Scotland with me. We arrived on Friday around Midday local time, collected our hire car and headed north towards Tampere arriving at our Log Summer House around 5 pm, Chris's brother in law, Penti was already there and had lit a fire and cooked us a generous portion of Moose Stew - I mentioned it was very much like a pan of scouse, Irish Stew to the rest of you! A few beers later we retired for an early night as we would assemble at the Hunters House (Wigwam) for 08.00 to sign in and meet our fellow hunters.
That morning I was to meet Chris's other two friends who I am taking Red Hind shooting in December, Jani and Mattii, for the first time.
Jani spoke perfect english while Matti spoke none, Jani was employed by a government department that monitored the Moose population and it was clear they played a major part in his life, he had arranged my hunters licence and formal invitation to hunt with the club. Everyone was very friendly despite my lack of any Finnish, now I can say - good morning, cheers and thank you, not bad for 10 days !
Nobody but the master of the hunt knows which area they will hunt for the first drive, position numbers are drawn out of a hat and we hitched rides with hunters that were on the next stand so they could show us to our stands, all but Chris and I had radios, no point having one if you can't speak the language. Two guys ran the dogs, Mattii and his brother, the dogs have GPS transmitters and their progress can be tracked on a handheld GPS, the dogs bark only when the moose are standing still when the moose move the dogs follow and stay silent.
The Dog men also carry rifles as a good dog can sometimes hold a moose at bay until the dog man catches up.
We had a long wait in the trees, with no body seeing anything (other than the dog man who caught a glimpse of a Moose disappearing)
One dog was really good and the other newly aquired and not so good, in the end the two brothers fell out and one went home (unfortunately with the good dog) but of a downer but a great experience all the same. Next day was better, weather was showery with some bright spells then in the afternoon I drew a 'good place' the road, I had about 80m each way to shoot with a bend at one side and a rise the other, but the timber to my front was too dense to see more than about 15-20m, towards the end of the drive I heard the Dog right in front of me and they told me later the Moose (Two calves and a Cow) had passed only 50m in front of me in the timber, a hunter three stands up shot one of the Calves minutes later. The recovery was easy as the Moose landed only a few meters from the track. The Moose was taken back to the Hunters House and lardered right away, another fire was lit and more sausages consumed, then out again for a final uneventful drive, that concluded my first weekend Moose Hunt. Later we scouted the fields around our hunting area for sign of White Tail and found a likely field with clover still standing and a fair few tracks, I decided to give this a look over in the morning and Chris went to another field, arriving in the dark at 0700 I pipcked my way through the trees to come out at the side of the field into wind with up to 350m in front and to my right and left, nothing showed and we reconvened that evening seeing three White Tail on the Clover field, I made my way through the trees to the left of the field this time (unknown ground) and it was very slow work with twigs cracking underfoot at almost every step, I circled out into the wood to stay well out of earshot of the field but arrived only in time to see them melting into the timber to my left, so there are some here !
The Finns only shoot White Tail when they have filled their quota for Moose, three calves and two adults, and they hunt them by deer drives. So the Deer are not usually stalked.
And that completed the first part of our hunting in Luopioinen, as next day we headed for Narva, with the highest density of White Tail in Finland as guests of the Narvan Hunting Club for two days hunting.
Tuesday: arrived at Narva, met by Mika who showed us to the hunting house which was very impressive, a large meeting/dining room with an adjacent kitchen and bunkhouse to sleep 8, only us there and we had the run of the place. Mika returned at 16.40 to take us for a hunt at stands overlooking feeders, common in this area, they shoot around 300 White Tail in this area of 10,000 hectares and have a membership of 100 who shoot white Tail and 30 that shoot Moose.
I was a little surprised when they dropped my at my stand: the back garden of Ari the hunt master, 50m from the road with cars passing periodically, a bungalow 10m to my left and two coaches parked 20m to my right, a field of 250m in front of me with woodland beyond and 80m to my front right the feeder. After about 1hr one of the other hunters fired a shot, it sounded very close, it was, about 150m to my front left in the next field. I thought well that's that for tonight for me when 15 mins later a calf appeared at the feeder, broadside at about 45 degrees, I squeezed one off and to my horror saw it launch off right across the field and into scrub, Miko and his pal who had shot the other deer some 150m away now joined me, I gestured to the position when the shot was taken and the direction the Deer had headed. They wandered about for a few minutes with no success so I returned to my stand and retrieved my LED torch from my pack and went to the point of impact, good blood trail of about 3 m and tissue, followed the line of escape and found my first blood in the rough, then located the deer some 30m further into the rough, surprising after being hit with a 140gr Nosler BT travelling at 2800fps from my 270 SAKO Finnlight, 75mm exit wound.
Chris and I ate the Liver for our evening meal, a few beers and an early night in preparation for the Driven Hunt next day, picked up at 0800 by Mika out to the first stand some 20m from the forest road, thought this does not seem a good place when the dog handler appeared and started from my position, wrong another dog was also coming behind him about 1 hour later a Calf bounded into view from my left and stopped panting right in front of me at 80m I raised the rifle and slipped a round into it just behind the shoulder, perfect broadside - it took off like a scalded cat, I was speechless. There was a lt of radio traffic as the organisers tried to figure out who had fired, then Mika came over to me and I motioned what had happened, we went forward as the drive had finished and I found a blood trail where the Deer had entered the clearfell, 10m later I dragged it to the other track only about 20m away, how considerate of the deer.
Nothing else was shot that day and the drive finished about 3.30, my deer was lardered later by the members back at the club larder, and we went out again for a shoot over feed station, the same one as the night before, nothing showed but we did watch a Hind about 400m away in a field below us, but they did not seem keen on my friend Chris going to stalk it so we confined our activities to the bait stations.
I will conclude this story later on in the weekend, going out Foxing just now, have a look at my Gallery just posted.