Hunting with a baying dog in Swedish Lapland.
Hunter David Carsten Pedersen speaks about his impressions with the hunting guide Tommy and the baying dog Tiko in swedish Lapland.
Tommy has been a guide in Lapland for many years, and is an expert in the ancient skill of hunting moose over baying dogs. The technique used by Scandinavian hunters since the first people came to Europe in the stone ages, has developed a bond between the hunter and the dog where the dog has become a trusted friend and hunting partner.
An owl was watching us from a tree this morning.
When I see an owl I almost always find the moose.
For moments in which you have to react quickly:
ZEISS VICTORY V8 1.1–8x30 with illuminated dot.
The moose specialist:
The seven year-old “Tiko” is a Karelian bear dog which are considered a part of the national cultural heritage in Finland.
After three intensive days the voice oft the barking dog rings out like a concert through the forest.
Looking at Tommys GPS, we could see where the dog was barking happily. Somewhere in front of him, the moose had to be standing. Judging from the distance to the dog, we should be able to get to him, before the sun came down. In front of us lay a giant frozen bog, its surface a giant glassy hockey rink. We started to run, keeping our center of gravity low, and our eyes fixed on the sound of that dog in the distance.
People in Lapland have a strong bond with nature.
The deep dark sound of a circling raven, made me look up just as we entered the tree line. It seemed to be following us. “A good sign,” I noted to Tommy. “I also got a good signals from the birds.” “An owl was watching us from a tree this morning. When I see an owl I almost always find the moose.” In northern Lapland it’s easy to get a bit superstitious. People up here still have a strong bond with nature.
The moose can’t be far away anymore.
With the sky already turning pink this was no time to scorn a good omen. We needed all the help we could get, to crown our hunt for the moose with success. Keeping our bodies completely still, we waited for the sound to come back. The distance to the dog couldn’t be far. The only way to get closer to the moose was to use the sounds of the dogs bark to mask our footsteps in the crunchy, boggy, undergrowth. But the sounds had stopped. “Be ready. He might push them out towards us,” whispered Tommy. Dialing down my VICTORY V8 Driven Hunt riflescope from ZEISS to get the largest possible field of view, I started to prepare myself for that moment where the moose might break.
Suddenly the dog came out of the clearing, running towards us at a steady pace. At first my heart dropped. Why did he loose the moose now? But then I understood. Tiko hadn’t lost it. He just came back to see if we were in position. Soon the barking started again. Something big was coming our way. This was going to be a one shot opportunity.
A perfect hunt.
On the edge of the river, lay the body of a big moose calf. This was the goal we had worked so hard toward. A physical manifestation of the connection between the hunter, the dog, the animals, and a community that relies heavily on our hunt skills to bring home the meat.
“This was a perfect hunt,” Tommy exclaimed. “The meat of the calf is beautiful, and you didn’t hesitate when you had the chance.” Overwhelmed by the compliments of my otherwise stoic hunting partner, I lifted my coffee mug, toasting him, the moose and the dog with the Scandinavian: “Skål.”
In the dying light of the sunset, a raven suddenly came flying out of the forest. Behind it, a small owl following close by. None of us said anything. We just smiled. In Lapland you have to be prepared for anything. Even those things you can’t always explain.