Traditional moose hunting with dog in Finland
Our group trip led us this year to the traditional moose hunting in Finland. Finland is known as the land of lakes and forests. This in turn represents ideal living conditions for the elk. The game density is far less than we know it from Germany. Every year about 50,000 elks are killed there. The moose hunting in Finland is largely a community hunt, which was carried out by the hunting clubs and takes place in the period from early October to late December. The climate in Finland around this time is already a lot colder than in Germany so that appropriate clothing and equipment especially with protection against moisture is important. I trust in the new Muflon series from Deerhunter that Thanks Deertex membrane and 3M insulation is ideal for the Finnish climate. As security the top priority must always wear a red baseball cap and signal vest or Red Jacket Hunting, my colleagues have therefore chosen signal jackets and had very good experience with the Deerhunter Cumberland in Orange while hunting. Our hunt took us to 2 different areas of Finland. One near Rantasalmi and one near Savoranta.
The journey to Finland was very uncomplicated, e.g. with Finnair, which fly on through Helsinki to the remotest airports, as in our case Joensuu. The weapon is completely checked through to the final destination. After being picked up at the airport, a shooting range was first activated in the area in the middle where each hunter 5 shots – sitting launched 2, 3 freehand standing – had to give a Elchscheibe to check that the weapon after the flight was not adjusted. After all this was mastered we went to our accommodation in which we should spend the first 3 days. In the practically furnished accommodation with 2 double rooms and kitchen / dining area we were cooked by our guide Pekka. After a short night, it started early the next morning. After a rich breakfast in the mansion of 1770 we met after a short drive already with the today’s hunting group. Our group consisted of about 15 hunters with German-speaking hunting director. After a short introduction, stand allocation and homemade blueberry cake with coffee, it went directly into the area. The forests of Finland are structured very differently. Mostly as mixed forests with high birch and pine content, partly also spruce forests.
Our first area had both open areas with up to 1.5m high grass, but also forest and field edges to offer. When hunting is traditionally used the elk dog. The dog runs free in the area and searches specifically for elks, all of these dogs are equipped with GPS tracking devices which indicate the exact location on the smartphone. Once a moose is found it will be barks and depending on the moose will run away this either slowly before dog on the change in the Troll, so that the stationed in the exchange-shooters can wait for him, or the elk up and becomes the dog on the Place bound. In the latter case, the dog handler will see this on his GPS device and pick up the nearest posted shooter to stalk the moose. Approximately Dog barking is already audible 30 minutes after the start of the drift, indicating that a moose was detected as the dogs only bark when they actually hit a moose. All shooters wait in tense mood and hear in which direction the dog moves. From my stand no dog is heard after 15 minutes, but suddenly a shot breaks on the other side of the area. An hour later, the first hunt is over and we meet in the middle of the forest at one of the many existing barbecue areas, where we eat our open-fire sausages, as well as brought smoked salmon. When we arrived at the barbecue area, we were already beaming welcomed by our hunting companion, who was able to kill a moose calf on the other side of the area and thus his first moose. In the open field, he had a calf and a cow elk with a clean shot, he could kill the calf. Another hunter of our group was also stalked with the handler 2 moose, which were provided by the dog. Due to the dense vegetation he could not shoot.
After lunch, we went back to the same area. This time the same places were occupied as before, but internally in the group the places were exchanged. The afternoon was rather calm, we had in my area a moose, which with dog switched, but turned off just before us, so that we could not see him. After the hunt, we learned that in the other area, where the calf fell in the morning, another moose came, this time a strong shovel, which is not the rule for Finland. Although the elk was about 40 minutes in the vicinity of our colleagues, he could not kill him, because he could only partially see the head through the dense branches, but had no chance to make a waidgerechten shot. Satisfied with the first day and already the first success, we drove back to our little house, where we wanted to roast the elk liver of the killed calf in the evening. Since we were still early in the time of the landowner asked us if we would not like to hunt for ducks, my hunting colleague and I were there immediately. Said done, it started right away, with 2 arms we reached after a short march a small pond. Unfortunately the weather did not feel good with us. There was a strong storm, so that the few ducks, which approached the pond with tailwind like an arrow flew past us. In this hunt, the Deerhutner Muflon jacket had paid off again, as they did not let through the drizzle or the cold of the wind. At the end we were able to kill at least one duck, which was an achievement for pure wild game hunters from Germany under these conditions. The next day we learned that the storm, which became even stronger during the night, left 70000 households without electricity. After returning from the duck hunt, the duck breast and the brought elk liver from Pekka was prepared and served. Both were excellent and all hunters found this would be the best liver they would ever have eaten. As it turns out, Pekka is not only a very good guide, but also took second place in the Finnish outdoor cooking championships, where he was first in taste and only slightly deducted due to his dressing. Well-fortified, we went to bed early to be prepared for the next day.
On the second day of hunting we drove to a new area in the same hunting club. As the second day fell on a Saturday, this time we were a bigger group, especially the boys and other working hunters were there. The morning bustle took place in a spruce and birch high forest, which is located around one of the many lakes. This morning our group was unsuccessful. The 3 dogs used in the entire area could only make one bull elk. However, this was changed very quickly over the boundary. Then a cow with 2 calves from which one of the local hunters could kill one. During our lunch break with the campfire open, the dog handlers noticed that their dogs had moose in a larger forest area. As a result, the lunch break was shortened and a plan was drawn up on how to approach and change the area. Again, everyone was assigned a stand and we drove in anticipation to the new place. Compared to the areas before this time, a position at the edge of the forest was planned for our group, which was directly adjacent to an oat field. Already on arrival we were able to hear the dogs in the forest and waited anxiously that we would see moose. After about 30 minutes, three moose came suddenly, 55m from my stand in the troll pulled on the field. Ahead of the moose, then calf and at the end a young cop. As usual at home on our black and red deer hunts, I drove the R93 with the elk and stopped accordingly without thinking that our sows are traveling a lot faster. The result was that the first shot passed just in front, the second shot with the 308 hit exactly the sheet and the bull went down in the bang. During this time, the moose and calf moved past me and I could still kill the calf. The moose, which had moved further towards my neighbor’s shooter and hunting colleague, was subsequently killed by the latter, so that we were able to collect 4 moose for our group within 2 days.
Then the hunt was over for the day and all together helped to salvage the moose and bring it to the Skinner house with cold storage. In the evening we said goodbye to the hunting club members, who had taken us so warmly and drove about 150km further into a new area to try our luck on elk again. The new accommodation we reached late at night was a very nice log cabin idylisch located on the shore of a lake.
Hunting day number 3 should remain for us the only one without launch. After already 3 hunters of our group of 4 had hunting success, it was still our last fighter to shoot. The new area is much bigger than the previous ones, so that this time the hunting party consisted of more than 40 hunters. When we told that in 2 days we were able to kill 4 moose, we were told that we were very lucky. Normally, not all guest fighters in a group actually get shot for a moose, although usually the best places are reserved for the guest hunters. After a very detailed briefing at the beginning of the hunt in Finnish, Ero explained to us a German-speaking Finn what exactly the hunting director had discussed and gave us the info, which places we were zugelost. The first hunt took place in a birch / pine high forest with high undergrowth. Our group formed a shooter chain in one of the most scenic spots of the area and we waited anxiously for the arriving dogs. There were also several dogs to hear, however, these were as later turned out in the neighboring area. At my place, there was nothing left that day except for a jay. My neighbor shooter, however, had a good sight. He came to 100m a moose bull, which in the dense undergrowth slowly moved towards him, about 60m in front of him, he turned off suddenly and disappeared in the undergrowth, without him had the chance to get shot. So the last of us had at least seen a moose. But he should still get his chance to take one. Then the morning hunt was over and we went back to the fortified log cabin of the hunting club for lunch. In the afternoon, we again pitched a new area adjacent to a larger lake. In this area, however, the dogs could not find any moose, so we left early and drove back to our very comfortable accommodation with sauna to review the experiences of the day at dinner.
On our last day of hunting, the excitement of the hunt was already established on arrival in the hunting area, because in this area a 20-headed moose bull is to trace its tracks and only recently was seen again. On this day we are only a small hunting group with about 10 hunters and handlers. After a short Reviereinweisung it started immediately. Our group was divided this time again, a hunter stood at the beginning of the area, 3 more at the end since there were the two main changes of the moose. Our hunter, who was not yet on fire, moved to the hotspot where 2 large and several minor changes pass and which offered a very good field of fire in almost all directions. After about 1h in the distance we heard dogs again and again, I suddenly saw how my neighbor’s shooter went to the attack and shortly after the shot breaks. When after a short repetition another shot broke I was sure our last hunter had even hunting success. At first, it was unclear to us if he might even have killed a cow and a calf, but a short Whatsapp clarified that he could kill a moose bull gabler. After the shot, all the hunters met at the killed moose and his overjoyed predator, to pull the moose out of the forest with the same force on the next way. Each of our group had their moose and we were able to drive back to the meeting place for a small lunch before returning to the same spot.
The afternoon could have been the highlight of the hunting week, the hunter who had already killed the calf on the first day was on the hotspot this time and the dogs had driven a moose exactly in his direction. According to the GPS signal, the moose had to be very close to the high seat, but the hunter could not see anything. After the hunt was over, as there were no more people next to this moose, we took a closer look at the area where the moose had been loud GPS. As it turned out, the moose had come on the sweat of the morning killed when switching and then turned off without it was visible to the shooter. According to the tracks found it was a very strong bull. Possibly. this was the home of the 20ender. With the killed elk we went back to the cooling chamber and our guides asked if we were still interested in a beaver hunt. At first we were a bit hesitant because Bieber are rather rare but here we were informed that the beaver native to Eastern Finland were originally imported from Canada and now represent a great plague and destroy a lot. So we decided to try Bieber in the evening. The Bieber hunt takes place on the lakes and in wetlands where we had to go through reeds and moor. Here are good rubber boots and waterproof clothing such as my Deerhunter Almati pants and Muflon jacket very beneficial with the Max5 camouflage of the Muflon in the reeds is another plus. Arrived at the lake, we discovered after a quarter of an hour already a Bieber, which we stalked to 40m from the shore. The Bieberjagd takes place here either with shot or with the ball while swimming in the water. For my hunting, I have chosen my proven R93 in 308, which has done me before the Elk good service. I discovered the discovered Bieber on about 40m kneeling painted on a birch by a head shot in the water. A short time later, another shot came and another hunting colleague could also kill a Bieber, this time with shot in the water. In the evening we went back to our comfortable log cabin where together with our guides the last hunting day ended.
The fifth day was planned as a change as a fishing day on one of the many lakes. Early in the morning we went to the water in some freezing temperatures. By this time, the water has already cooled down so that the easy to catch zander in the summer does not bite well. The result we have then noticed in our trolling trip, we were able to catch about 5-7 pikes in 2-3 hours, of which we grilled the largest as a filet on an open fire for lunch. Unfortunately, the afternoon jig fishing session was unsuccessful, as the water temperature was already too low, so we drove back earlier to hunt for Bieber again in the evening, which was unsuccessful.
After 5 exciting hunting and fishing days, during which we made many new friends and were inspired by the overwhelming hospitality of the Finns, we went back from Joensuu via Helsinki to Frankfurt. For all of us it was immediately clear that this was definitely not the last trip to Finland and we would like to try our luck in the north again in two years possibly combined with Whitetail Deer.