Wild boar and driven hunts in Sweden
For a long time I’ve wanted to add a wild boar to the list of things I have hunted. In the UK there are not many opportunities to hunt boar apart from the Forest of Dean & a small few in Scotland.
So Europe was always on the agenda for my next place to visit to try to get my first wild boar, the big question was where would I head for? Would I try France, Germany or even Portugal?
Stefan Orman & myself had become good friends over the last couple of years and he had always said why don’t you come to Sweden hunting? So, sat at home one evening I thought “it’s about time I tried to make this happen as I’m never going to get my first boar looking at his pictures on Instagram”. A phone call with Stefan (Orman) confirmed the invitation was still open for me to travel to Sweden hunting. January seemed a good month to try for (little did I think of the weather in Sweden in January). After a couple of days we had the dates set and Stefan had spoken to a good friend of his, Jorgen Everklint, who is a part of Mälardalens Viltvård, a wildlife care and management company that strongly believes in Conservation. And, along with Fredrick, Matthias, David, Mikael and Stefan, these guys had agreed to let Stefan and myself go out with them and help out.
With flights booked and car hire organized, it was time to think about gear. I’ve plenty of normal hunting gear/clothes but knowing we were certainly going to have snow on the ground with more than likely subzero temperatures, I wanted something that would blend in a little better than greens and browns, so I opted for the New Härkila Mountain Hunter Expedition collection. The next question, was will I take my own rifle or borrow one whilst there? I opted to borrow Stefan’s 300 WM, but would bring my own Zeiss optics with me. I had requested if Stefan could get me some NORMA Oryx, which he got a box of 180gr and another of 200gr. I’d heard so much good stuff about this bullet-being very hard hitting and having very good rapid expansion, and I was keen to try it for myself. My last job was to apply for a Swedish hunting license, which was easy to do online.
Wednesday the 10th January I left for work early with a spring in my step knowing it was my last day at work before my trip to Sweden, with my packed case waiting for me to return home and we would head off on another adventure.
Thursday morning was a very early start to catch one of the first flights out of London Heathrow to Stockholm. Once I’d landed, I picked the hire car up and I was soon heading west towards Jorgen’s place as he had offered us a place to stay in the lodge at his house for the few days we were there.
The Plan was that we would head straight to the range once both Stefan and I arrived.
Day 1 of hunting in Sweden
What a fantastic range facility this was with the possibility to shoot out past 300 yards. My Zeiss V8 was soon added to Stefan’s pride and joy 300WM. We got it bore sighted and was bang on the paper at 100 yards. Vertically we were bang on and it just needed eleven clicks to the left for us to find the centre of the target in two shots. Now it was time to fire a three shot group to make sure the grouping was ok, which was happily within a thumb nail, this was with the 200gr so there was no need to fire any more lead down the range.
The plan was to head back to Jorgen’s and grab some food, then head out to a local vegetable farmers land that was having trouble with boar. On arriving there, we were met by Anders the farmer, who then explained the extent of the damage the boar were causing, which later I saw with my own eyes. The three of us got kitted up and headed out on foot. Walking the farm tracks was fine, but the fun started when we needed to get into other paces crunching our way through one feet of snow as quiet as we were trying to be, it was very hard work to be stealth with the frost bitten snow. We saw a few fallow deer, but no boar for our first evening out, but we certainly knew they had been around. With the time fast approaching the small hours, we called it a night as Jorgen had work by this time today.
Day 2 of hunting in Sweden
There was no mad rush to be up at the crack of dawn, but today we were off to see Fredrick. The plan was that he was going to run his dogs through some woodland and see if he could push some boar towards us. We got held up as the Sat nav was playing up, so Fredrick headed out with his friend and we were going to meet them later as Fredrick had shared the plan on his We Hunt map. We were not 20 minutes away when the phone rings, and Fredrick’s dog had come up against a big boar and had been injured so they were off to the vets. We went for plan B of a stalk on the golf course for a fallow deer. We stalked a while, then sat in a tower for a while longer, no physical spots on deer but there were a massive amount of slots in the snow along with some big boar prints, although we did see an amazing conditioned fox at distance. We decided to head back to where we had parked as light was now fast falling on us, but the white of the snow was fighting back and trying to keep it light just a bit longer. Just as we turned the last corner, we spotted a lone single fallow. As Stefan was carrying the rifle, he slowly got down onto the bipod and gently sent the 200gr Oryx on its way. We got a perfect reaction from the shot and the first fallow was down. With only a short drag back to the vehicle, we soon had it hanging in the chiller and the gralloch done.
Now to make a plan for the evening. On talking to Fredrick, he pin pointed three places he felt would be well worth checking out after dark. Our first stop would be at a farm where there is ridiculous amounts of boar damage to the fields. We had not been walking five minutes when we bumped this most beautiful fallow buck with an impressive palm on both sides of his head. Stefan and I just stood, watched and admired as he disappeared into cover. We carried on down to a good vantage point where we could see a good area. We stood and waited for a while, but nothing showed, time to move on as it was now getting towards 11pm.
This time we would head back to the golf course where Stefan had shot two boar in recent weeks. Much the same as in the afternoon, we retraced our footsteps until we reached a tower where we would stop and enjoy a warming cup of coffee. By this time we were heading for 1am, so the plan was to stalk back to the car and try area three. We crossed a ditch up a bank, and bingo, on the way back to the car we had found a small group of boar in the thermal spotter. Now was where the fun started of how we would get into them, they were around 700- 800 meters away with open ground between them and us. Away to our left, the ditch line came across with a small few trees that would break our silhouettes up, so that was the plan which would bring us below them, which would work as it kept the wind in our favor also. After 45 minutes of moving very slowly, we had got to where we wanted to be. We could only see one at this point, a big sow that was making her way left. Then she came back right towards the others that were out of sight but we were still confident of them still being there. All of a sudden, seven more appeared from over a small mound. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the bipod to stop sinking in the snow, which wasn’t quite hard enough to hold the weight of the rifle. They tracked off to the right which meant we had to move positions to get a shot. We got into 100 meters, but there was a lump between us and them so we needed to close the gap a little more. Moving slowly, we got to around 70 meters, gently patting a firmer snow base down, popped the bipod on it and got behind the scope, with Stefan spotting and picking which one to take. The decision had been made, the furthest one to the left. It was now just a matter of waiting for the shot to present itself. At that, the young yearling female presented the perfect side on shot and the Oryx was on its way, hitting home with another perfect shot, dropping the young yearling boar on the spot. After the sigh of relief and congratulations from Stefan, my first boar was on the ground. Now for the drag back to the track where Fredrick would meet us before we all headed back to the chiller. With her hung in the chiller, it was now time to head back home for some sleep, arriving back at 5.30 am.
Day 3 of hunting in Sweden
The day started a little too early with only four hours of sleep, but we wanted to go and check some ground for signs of boar. We headed into town for some late breakfast before a short drive to check the land out before our evening on the boar.
Sure enough, there was plenty of signs of boar being present and deer; at least with the snow on the ground they couldn’t conceal their presence. It was nice to see the land in day light to get a full picture of the undulating ground, and where we would be heading that evening.
As we drove back to Jorgen’s, we were making a plan of where to head on the evening, but first we had an appointment with dinner. Jorgen was cooking us a feast of venison, boar and moose, which was absolutely divine. We talked over dinner and we had the plan in our heads for that evening. At this point, I said I didn’t want to be too late tonight as I didn’t want to be tired for my first driven hunt the following day.
We got all of our kit sorted and packed in the truck and head off around 6.30 with a short drive, around 40 minutes, grabbing a coffee on route. As we arrived, we parked in the yard and started kitting up for the evening. We had an idea where the boar might be and that was the place to start scanning with the thermal as we walked. First spot was a fox a way in the distance, then a couple of fallow deer on the tree line. But the frist area we tried there were no boar, so we quickly moved to the second spot, where again we saw fallow deer and another fox this, time a little closer. But after observing it for five minutes, a vixen started calling in the trees that we couldn’t see, and he soon had other things on his mind. It would have been great to get a Swedish fox in the lamp but maybe next time. As Jorgen and myself were spotting to our right, Stefan moved up to the top of a bank, to see if there was anything on the other side. By this time it’s was around 11pm. We joined Stefan on the top, gave it another 30 minutes. As this was a great thermaling spot, we could see a massive area but nothing showing. Jorgen then had one more plan to back track and try one last area before heading home. Just as we appeared over a bank, Jorgen spotted our first boar of the night, but it was away up in the forest on the hill facing us. We stalked slowly towards it, by the size of it we were thinking it was a big male boar. It was obviously feeding away as it wasn’t getting any closer to us. From where we were, we needed to head down over a bank and start heading up towards it, but as we climbed the bank and got to the top, we had no sign of it. Had it heard us crunching through the snow? We scanned frantically, hoping to catch a glimpse among the trees, but nothing, our chances had gone for the evening and by this time we were back into the small hours with still a drive back to the lodge, so we walked back to the car and headed back home. Finally getting to bed at 2.30am for me with the excitement of what my last day would bring.
Day 4 of hunting in Sweden
The Alarm went off at 6.30am. I was sharp out of bed with the excitement of the day ahead, my first driven hunt. Anders, the vegetable farmer, had kindly invited me on day one, but I was unsure with flying home that day, if I could make it or not. I decided to accept his kind offer although it would be tight getting back to the airport.
We got the car packed and we were off just after 7.30 with a 30 minute drive. On arriving, we were greeted by Anders and asked in for coffee where we would be told of the plan for the day ahead. I was nervous and apprehensive, but excited at the same time. We had been given the area we were to stand in, Jorgen dropped Stefan and myself off and we headed towards our stand. As I’d never done this before, Stefan gave me the saftey brief of where I could and couldn’t shoot. It wasn’t long before we heard the first shot of the morning ringing through the woodland. It came over on the radio that a fallow had been shot and shortly later a second. We heard some commotion behind us to the right as we saw a big sow head through the woodland followed by some young boar, but they were not shootable for us. A couple more shots were herd during the drive, but Jorgen, myself and Stefan had drawn a blank. We helped pick the animals up, five fallow in total, before we were treated to a wonderful lunch cooked by Anders, and we were given the plan for the second drive, albeit this was only a small drive.
Again, Jorgen put us out on our stand and one of the hunting team who’s rifle I used on the second drive stood with me and gave me the saftey brief where I could and couldn’t shoot; this time only having a narrow window of opportunity. 10 minutes into the drive meanwhile hearing the dogs in the distance, a young fallow popped out of the woodland to my left. We both spotted each other, but I stood deadly still in hope it would come right and into my arc of fire. Sure enough, it headed my way; I slowly took the rifle from my shoulder and pushed the safety forward. Ready and with all the excitement, I shot over the top. But a quick reload, back onto the deer, and squeezed the trigger and it fell where it had stood, my first driven animal, this trip just can’t get any better.
With all the excitement, I’d forgotten I had a flight to catch. By this time it was too late to get back to our lodge, pack bag and head back to Stockholm, so I booked on the flight for the following day.
It was an interesting drive back to Stockholm with snow falling all night, but all the way I was reliving the memories of the four days. I’m looking forward to welcoming the guys to the UK this summer, hoping we can repay their kindness with hopefully getting them on a Muntjac.
The rules and laws in Sweden are very different to the UK, as in the UK, you can use a thermal to spot an animal, but boar are the only animals you can shoot with thermal, foxes can only be shot using a lamp that is mounted to a house, street light or moon light, and day optics. Deer seems to be like the UK; one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset. They also can’t spot animals from a car/ truck, it all has to be done on foot, the same as they can’t shoot from a car or truck. What I do like about the laws in Sweden is that you have to sit a hunting exam which I think is a great idea.
Until next time, happy hunting, stay safe & shoot straight.