Hunting game is an integral and essential part of life in Sweden. Not only is it beneficial as part of wildlife management but it is also a well loved ‘sport’ so to speak. While wildlife is protected countrywide, hunting is permitted and regulated by law.
Every landowner in Sweden has hunting rights on his/her own land and they can lease to hunting associations and/or individuals. Foreign visitors may enjoy hunting through hunting tour operators and private individuals.
I was lucky in that my host in Sillerö is a landowner and a member of a hunting association. Normally, foreign hunters have to visit a hunting range where they pass a test before going hunting. One must also possess a Swedish hunting permit to be able to participate in any hunt. I was allowed to tag along with the Sillerö / Yttermalung hunting crew for pre-elk hunt but of course I wasnt allowed to fire a weapon in the woods. I was allowed to enjoy the wonderful company and companionship of the hunting crew, the spectacular nature round Malung and the intense atmosphere of sneaking around looking for food to be shared among all in the local village.
From my previous posts you all know that i am pretty comfortable in ‘organic’ situations, so when my host suggested elk hunting, y’all know i was down for it!
The meet up, on a chilly cloudy morning, was at a cleared out camping area, where a merrily burning campfire warmed our half- frozen bodies. Hunters were divided up into two or more pairs and directed to certain pre-tagged areas. Basically a carefully selected tract of land is corralled. Some hunters are evenly spaced around the perimeter while others with hunting dogs try and flush out game in the area.
Assorted meats were roasted over a small fire as we sipped on coffee and enjoyed the beauty of nature. Unfortunately, it was not a lucky day for me, no elk was netted. I did get a game bird though (not sure which breed), which made for some delicious dinner.
While the anticipated elk hunt was not successful, sitting out in the Swedish wilds, with the sun’s gentle rays piercing the treetops and the now warm breeze fluttering among the leaves, was a little slice of heaven for me…