Beginners Luck.Well I'm just in transit a the airport after spending an amazing week, moose hunting in Sweden. Day started with a 0900 pick up from Arlanda where I met most of my new shooting friends. We travelled about 3 hrs north, where we met our hosts for the week and had some lunch, before a further 45 minute drive to the range. Our luggage travelled separately to the lodge, which was set in the banks of a small lake.
Karl-Gunner, our guide took us through the course of fire, it was a simple four shot test; shot 1 at a stationary target, shot 2 was the follow up moving moose, which give you about 5 seconds to reload and track the target. Happily everyone passed with everyone scoring 15 points or more.
We then moved to the lodge for a relaxing sauna before our evening meal and the run through of the program for the next 3 days, we would be shooting over 260k acres of forests (a tiny fraction our our hosts total.!)
0445 seemed to come around very quickly, we got in to our groups and travelled about 30 to meet another lodge in the forest, where we met the dog team and the forest manager, who took through a more detailed map of the area with all the stands marked. We got allocated our stands and told what direction the drive would be from, it was then a cold wait until something happened. The only action seen was one of the dogs coming through my stand then disappearing, after about 4 hrs we where picked up then regrouped over coffee and a sandwich and debriefed on drive and what the dog teams had seen. The next drive went in much the same way as the first, so we broke for lunch at about 1300, then back out for the final drive of the day. This was much more eventful, one stand saw a cow and calf but no shot presented, and another found out over the radio that a bull was heading for him, he stood up grabbed his rifle, to just see it rushing through the trees about 40m away, crossed the track, where he fired but missed. We had a debrief, then back for a sauna, was then evening meal.
We were told that the unseasonably warm weather was not helping the dogs track scent and it was very difficult for them, so we left 30 minutes earlier the next day.
We met at the lodge in the forest where we where allocated our stands for the day, before moving off to begin the first drive, after about an hour I could hear barking but there was no shot, we where picked up around 0900 for coffee a debrief and a discussion about the next drive. When we where dropped off, my stand was a tower, that had a ride cut into the hillside in front, across from the road either side and another wide ride cut behind down to a lake, the scenery was stunning. At about 1100, I heard some panting and crashing, initially I thought it was one of the dogs but I picked up my rifle anyway. At which point a small cow appeared in front of me up the hill crossing the ride, as she was about to disappear into the trees, I shouted her, instead of stopping she quartered 45 degrees away and went straight into the trees.....! I could hear her crashing though trees, following the track, she then appeared, crossing the track further down, I estimated it to be between 230 & 250 meters, so was happy to let her go, then she stopped and looked in my direction. So aimed at the top of the shoulder, and just a little forward and squeezed the trigger and sent 156grn of 6.5 Norma down range, as I did she moved off and carried on going. There was no reaction to shot, she carried on going at the same pace as before, so I must have missed..?! I could then here her enter the lake, then a dog came though following her track, about 500m behind her, he got to the lake and started barking, then the handler came over in the opposite direction, I unloaded and went to him. Told what I done and all my observations, he then headed to the lake, where I heard a shot, then he came back and told me that I had hit her because she was so low in the water. When I got there I saw that she was about 100m out in the lake, thankfully he stripped down to his boxers and swam out to recover the carcass. Once back we dragged it onto shore, where I could see my shot had entered the chest about a third of the way up and towards the back of the ribs. I gralloched her on the shore and could see that's he had virtually bleed out into the chest cavity, baked up by his neck shot, showing very little signs of blood. We were quickly joined by most of the shooting party, so photos taken, recovery team on there way, we headed off for lunch. In the afternoon I opted to follow one of the handlers, to get an appreciation of how much work they put in for us. One of the dogs picked up a track and pushed a moose towards a road where stands where occupied, unfortunately not the one she crossed by.....! Then our dog started to bark very close by, we could her the moose thundering through the forest but could not see her, she went straight towards a handler and our host. She stopped square on to him, so he didn't want to shoot and waited for a broadside shot, that never happened, the moose then headed off towards the same road as before and crossed the other side of the same stand....! We got back to the lodge and placed my moose on a bed of spruce boughs for the group photo, then back to the lodge for a well earned sauna and drinks.
Saw us move to a new area closer to the lodge we would stay in that night, when we met up with the dog team, I was told that it was also the larder. So when's to have a look at her hanging and found the she was 135kg and the bullet gone through both sides, we then went out to the area, got to our stands and waited, the mist rolled in and visibility was very low. There were a couple of tracks picked up but no moose seen, we got picked up,at 0900 and went for coffee on the shore of a stunningly beautiful lake. We went to our stands and on the way to mine saw a hoof print in the soft mud of a large moose. After about an hour and a half a dog barked close to me over the other side of the restock area, I could tell that they were moving across me but couldn't see them. No more action, we were told in the debrief that is was some red deer and the dog had followed them. We had one final drive in the afternoon but nothing was seen, when we got to the lodge I was given my bullet that had been recovered and had my silver moose medal upgraded to gold by default that I was the only person lucky enough to shoot one. We headed back for a farewell meal with our hosts and a great group of people, of course moose fillet was on the menu.
Sees a 3 hr drive back to Stockholm, then on to Birmingham, with a 3 hr stop at Dusseldorf, giving me plenty of time to write up my very long winded recount of my first shooting trip abroad.
I hope that you all enjoy reading it