Sweden – forest bird hunting in central Sweden
With the Finnspitz on grouse
Auerhahn hunting in the fall is that even possible? That was my first question that came to my mind when a friend told me in Sweden that the grouse was not hunted in courtship as usual in Russia but hunted in the fall. I figured how should we find the grouse in the woods if we can not hear them at the courtship? A clarifying conversation with the Outfitter then brought the solution, the grouse are hunted with the dog, who finds him for us, but more on that later. After this info it was clear we wanted to try it, a group of six hunters and two escorts were quickly together and we reserved the first date in October, as we wanted a little warmer temperatures.
For the journey to Sweden we had decided for a flight to Oslo and then the trip with the rental car. For me, this is the easiest alternative compared to arriving via Stockholm or driving directly from southern Germany. On the 4h long drive we could already enjoy the Norwegian and Swedish countryside and had the luck to see three moose. Arrived at the camp we were warmly welcomed by Samuel and his team. The small camp is located in the small village Husvallsgölen directly by a river and consists of two houses, which are designed for a maximum of eight people. During the dinner we made the plan for the hunt the next day. In the morning we first had to go to Birkhahn at the courts / rest areas, for this we had to go very early, because we had to take our Ansitzschirme still in the dark, to await the birds. We were always two teams with a guide, Samuel led Jürgen and me on the first day and we decided to go to a small mountain plateau, which should be a hotspot for black grouse. Already the rise to this point had it in itself, it went relatively steeply up a mountain on slippery roads, since it had -22 degrees, we were initially dressed fat, but on the advice of Samuel dared the rise only with T-shirt which was good It was so, because during the 30 minute ascent it was really warm and on top we pulled off our sweaty T-shirts and quickly slipped back into the thick clothes for the upcoming Ansitz. I myself was a bit behind the screen with the shotgun, Jürgen and Samuel stalked further to Ansitzschirm and Jürgen had a 222nd Remington for the shot on the black cock. Since it was still very dark we had to wait about 20 minutes until we could see the first black outlines in the sky and away in the trees.
With the rising of the sun, the cocks came successively closer to the screen. When a group approached about 150m, I heard from my retreated position the first shot and saw a flight of blackcocks. A short time later, a new group flew in and sat down again on about 140m on the floors and the small trees. Again a shot was fired and I was sure we have two blackcocks. Unfortunately nothing happened to me during the whole time because everything was happening on the courtship, so I used the time for photos and the observation of the incoming birds. After about 1.5 hours our Ansitz for this morning was over and I went to Jürgen and Samuel, they had already rescued the black cock and were taking photos shoot shooter. The first shot was unfortunately deflected by a branch not visible to Jürgen, so that the first shot missed the black cock. Satisfied with our first Ansitz we made our way back downhill to our car and drove to the camp for a hearty breakfast. Our two other groups hunting in more remote areas stayed in the area all day and had their food taken. In the afternoon it should now go to Auerhahn. After a short drive we were already in the middle of the Swedish forest and strapped the dog to us to the capercaillie should lead. The hunt with the dog is very exciting because you can meet on every corner on a capercaillie. We tracked the searching dog from a distance to not scare off the possibly existing capercaillie. We stalked our dog for about three hours. The stalking is very comfortable, so it is also suitable for physically not so fit hunters, only the ground with its kind of Iceland moss in which we sink always makes the advance not quite so easy. Unfortunately, we had no luck this afternoon and could only see one hen. In the evening back at the camp we met again our two other couples who were also successful during the day. One hunter from each group could kill a bird. The result of the first day were 2 black grouse and 1 grouse.
The second day
On the second day we changed the guides, so that each group had hunted once with each guide. This time it started with Jonas and we lead in the morning again to the black cock hunt, however, in a completely different district part. Here the terrain was very flat and not comparable to the mountainous ascent on the first day. Arrived in the area, we moved into our Ansitzschirm, since Jürgen already had his first black cock, this time I was with the rifle. The place was surrounded by forest but offered a nice large open space in which the blackcocks like to arrive. Despite the best weather, the cocks did not want to do us the favor today and appear on the courtship. At noon we took a short break and talked about hunting in Sweden, while we ate our packed lunches in glorious sunshine. Then it should go back to Auerhahn. On the drive to Auerhahnrevier we met a group of elk hunters, who made a small moose hunting in the neighboring area and could thereby kill a moose. As soon as we arrived, it was time for the Finnspitz. After about 20 minutes we could already hear the dog barking, he had discovered a capercaillie and let it build up. Carefully we stalk in the direction of the dog which was still about 200m away from us. Since we can not see the bird yet we cautiously continue towards the dog, which always runs around the same tree and barks. When we came to about 120m cracked a small branch and already saw the capercaillie and stroked away. Somewhat disappointed but also satisfied that we had seen the first grouse, it went on and we wanted to find the next cock. We stalked another two stuns and saw two more cocks, but since they saw us before we could only watch them fly away. On the evening back in the camp, a hunter from our other group proudly presented us grouse, after the black grouse on the first day he was able to fulfill his complete goal on the second day and wanted to take it easy from the next day and with the two companions Explore the area and visit the next villages.
Day number three
On the third day, Jürgen and I were on the road again with Samuel. As the Morgenansitz unfortunately did not bring success, we went earlier to Auerhahnjagd. Already after 10 minutes we saw the first two capercaillies but only in flight and they did not let us down to settle down. We quietly and cautiously continue past our Finnspitz through the untouched Swedish nature and forests. At noon we took a short break and took the brought soup to us. Since we did not see many grouse here, we wanted to try it at another location. After a short drive, it started again. As usual the Finnspitz ahead and we afterwards. After about 30 minutes we suddenly heard the dog barking excitedly. And Samuel stopped immediately, knowing the bark that his dog had made a bird. We left Jürgen back so we had as little movement for the bird and we made very slow progress, so that the capercaillie does not discover us this time. The dog was about 300m ahead of us and we first stalked through the forest and thicket later, creeping closer and closer to the tree under which our dog organized his dance. When we were about 200m in front of the tree, we suddenly jumped together, just above us was another capercaillie who now discovered us and felt as big as a condor pulled over us. I thought it was now that he warned the others, but luckily he was still busy with the dog and did not let it out of his sight. Carefully, we stalked on and about 150m before the tree we settled on a small hill, from where we had the tree in view. Unfortunately, the capercaillie sat right in the crown, so it was almost always covered by branches and it took some time until I could make out, because almost everything in the tree was black and the bird thus merged with its environment. After ten minutes searching we could finally see the branch, which had a beak and thus our cock was found. Carefully, I aimed my 222nd Remington and was able to shoot the capercaillie with a shot at 150m from the crown. After the shot, we quickly ran to the bird to prevent the dog from pre-processing him. Overjoyed to have killed my grouse on a very exciting stalking, we went back satisfied to Jürgen who was already coming towards us, because he had heard the shot. After the obligatory pictures we drove back to the camp. At dinner, the plan for the next day was fixed, since I now had my grouse we swapped the teams and I should now go with Andreas, who was also waiting for his cock, and Jürgen wanted to sleep first. In the evening a surprise awaited us after dinner we suddenly saw lights flicker in the sky and when we went outside, the whole sky was brightly lit with northern lights dancing for almost an hour sometimes less intense in the sky.
The last two days
In the last two days we followed the same procedure as before, in the morning was always the Ansitz on black grouse announced and from noon we searched with the dogs for the grouse, I had planned only the capercaillie, so I made no further attempts nor one To get bird. In the five days our group was able to kill six blackcocks and four grouse and saw many more. Even though I was skeptical at the beginning regarding the grouse hunting outside the courtship time, I have to say after this hunt that this was really a great experience and that the hunting of courtship hunting is in no way inferior. The stock of forest birds here is very good, so every hunter has a good chance to get his coveted trophy too. In addition to black grouse and black grouse, you can also hunt the hazel and snowcock. The hazel tap is, however, a completely different hunt with the hazel whistle to attract the bird and the snow cock is hunted in the winter without a dog. On the seventh day our group drove back to Oslo successfully and satisfied, to make the home flight. The birds we had here directly in the luggage can take, so that also no further transport costs accrued. One of our fellow hunters had immediately booked the next trip to Sweden in Sweden and will be flying to the Swedish Särna for the third time this year. Anyone who does not really want to experience courtship hunting on grouse is very well served with Sweden and also has a German hunting guide, as well as no special preparations such as visas or otherwise to pay attention because Sweden is a member of the EU.