Hunting in Sweden – Forest Birds & Ptarmigan
A small, lithe English setter dances ahead of my feet; wearing an orange vest and a GPS around her neck, Minerva eagerly searches the area nose length by nose length. Today Shiva, a slightly older, more sensible Irish setter bitch, is her hunting companion. We’re at the Viggesågen camp in the forests in Sweden, to hunt forest birds and ptarmigan along with Evelina Åslund and her dogs.
A light mist cloaks the marsh, which is dressed in warm colours and edged with small, knotted mountain birches and twisted pines. The tussocks are stiff with frost and easy to walk on. In the forest there are still patches of green, with high trees and thick lingonberry and bilberry underbrush that has darkened in colour after the first cold nights.
Hunting in Sweden, as hunting in general, is not a simple thing. It is easy for the uninitiated to focus on when the shot is fired, but very little in hunting is about the actual kill, says Evelina. Instead, she highlights the soul of the hunt, the sense of presence and the interaction with your dog and nature – as well as the satisfaction of bringing home food to the family.
It is hard to put a finger on what it is with hunting that creates such a strong experience, but you have to be extremely alert and focused at the right time. And it is fun to be able to cook using things you brought home from the forest, she adds.
For the last six years she has run the hunting company Joy Event Hunt & Health in Sweden, and her hobby has become a profession. Her dream grew slowly, that of highlighting the soft values found in hunting and attracting more women to it.
Hunting has traditionally been a male area, but I want to convey how the hunting experience can be something entirely different to old men hunting elk, she says with a smile.
Because far more men hunt than women, it is still mostly men who book hunts and, even if they are curious, they don’t really dare try out the combination of hunting and yoga. However, dream customers appear every now and then, as recently with a group of women from Stockholm who loved the idea of combining ptarmigan hunting with yoga, stretching and relaxation.