In March, 2012 I entered a competition run by the Swedish Nordik Predator Game Calls which I saw when I was buying a new call from their website. The competition comprised of using one of the Nordik Predator calls to lure in specific game. This could be anything from Roe bucks to Moose. Then you had to take a photo of the kill with the call that was used. Also you were asked to write a short story about what you were calling, what happened, what call you used, what calibre of rifle you were using and the location it was shot.The story I wrote, was about when I called two adult foxes in the middle of the day with their Nordik Crying Bird Call from 350yds. I was able to shot one of them, but the other fox wouldn’t stop running. I thought it was a decent story so I entered the competition a bit late and I didn’t think I had much of a chance of winning. There were 24 prizes ranging from dvds to hunting trips abroad, so I thought I’d give it a try anyway.
Later that year in August, I was called out to a farm because a fox that had taken some chickens. I spent the morning stalking around and doing a bit of calling but no fox. I decided to sit in a highseat for an hour near the farm and only saw Roe deer. Whilst sitting there I checked my phone and noticed I had an email titled ‘Locka Vilt’ (Game Calling). To my amazement I had not only just won a prize, I had won the first prize! I couldn’t believe it. I got to go to Northern Sweden to hunt a bull moose for 2 days all paid for, and if lucky I would get the trophy shipped home. I was asked to go over in the last week of September to go calling for a bull moose, but I was going to be too busy as I was working as a Ghillie in the highlands for the stag season. So, we agreed I could go the first week of September. This was the start of the moose hunting season. The method of hunting would be with a moose dog known as a Jämthund as it was too early in the season to call a bull. When the season starts you can shoot bulls, cows and calves. If it’s a cow and a calf the calf has to be shot first. I was going to be hunting in the north of Sweden in Robertsfors in the Västerbotten county. The trip over to Sweden was a bit hectic. I had to get 3 flights in one day from Edinburgh to Copenhagen to Stockholm and then to Umeå Airport, so their was a lot of running around airports to catch flights. When I arrived at Umeå I was picked up by the hosts assistant and drove to where I was staying. On the the way we saw a couple moose. I have seen moose before when I worked in the south of Sweden on an estate but the moose in the north were much bigger. I met P-A Åhlén the owner of Nordik Predator and his wife Emma at their home. We had a bite to eat and talked about the plans for the next few days. Then off to bed as we were getting up at 3.30. I had to do a moose hunting test so I had to go to a shooting range to shoot at a moose target free standing at 80m and also do it with a running target . I have never shot at a running target before but really enjoyed it.
The first morning I was out with Robert who also owned Nordik Predator and he designed the calls. The dog would work by tracking a scent, then baying at the moose by barking so the hunter can sneak in to take the shot. You have to make sure that the dog is away from the moose before taking the shot. It didn’t long before the dog was on a scent and soon it was barking. This really got me excited. The dog had a GPS collar on so we could see where he was, the dog was 800m in front of us. We got within 150m but we were not able to get a shot as there were too many trees. I got glimpse of it, it was a big bull moose 10-12 pointer. We tried to get closer to him but the wind turned and the bull got are scent and ran off, the dog went after it again but gave it up. P-A was out hunting the same morning by himself and shot a cow and a yearling bull together. I went with him to help drag them out with the 6 wheeler. For the first time I got to see what a moose looked like close up. I couldn’t believe how big they were!
By the afternoon the weather was wonderful but too hot for the dogs so we decided to try for capercaillie or black grouse. First we had to get the moose to the larder and get them cleaned out and skinned. After that P-A and I went out with his German wirehaired Pointer. However, we had no luck but I did see some though the trees in the distance which was very exciting. Next morning I was out with P-A , it was a frosty start and slightly cold. The dog got on a track early and followed a moose for some distance, but wasn’t able to bay it so we never got a chance to see it. We did hear it at one point running through the trees very close but couldn’t see it as it was so dense. The afternoon was my last chance to get a moose. The weather was perfect, the sun was out, but it was nice and cool for walking. We only walked half a mile before the dog was on a scent of a moose, we could see on the GPS that the dog was 600m in front of us. Ten minutes later we could hear the dog barking and both of us had a big smile on our faces. We stalked into the area where the dog was and got within 100m. We couldn’t see the dog or the moose, a few minutes went by and I saw the dog running then I saw a bull moose! I quickly got ready and leaned against a tree. It was very difficult to get a shot as there were so many trees in the way. Eventually I could see the chest so I squeezed the trigger and fired a shot… it just stood there! I could the see the blood pumping out of its chest. At this point I wanted to get it down as quickly as possible, the dog was still baying it so it wasn’t going anywhere. The bull started to move forward and I could see a large gap through the trees, I thought when I see its neck in the gap I’m going to take the shot. It walked forward into the gap but I had to wait to take the shot because the dog was running in front of the moose. As soon as the dog moved out the way I took the shot and it dropped on the spot with a loud thud. I had shot my first moose! A 9 pointer bull moose! I couldn’t believe it. The size of the animal was overwhelming. We used the 6 wheeler to get it out of the forest but nearly got it stuck on the way! That night we had a bit of a celebration. What an amazing experience! A dream come true.
Next morning I got a tour around the Nordik Predator warehouse where they made the calls. I found this very interesting to see how they were made. I was really pleased to be given a number of animal calls to try once home. Around the warehouse there were a few trophies on the walls. One that really caught my eye was a bronze medal moose. I was also shown round their Game Enclosure which had Bison, mouflon, fallow and red deer.They had a very impressive 22 pointer red stag.
After this I said my thank you’s and goodbyes to everyone, I felt like I couldn’t say it enough! I didn’t want to leave Sweden! So eventually I got back to Scotland and carried on with the stag season in the highlands. When I finished at the end of October I went back home and within a week a huge parcel arrived which nordik predators stickers all over it! I opened it and there was my moose! He looked amazing. They had done an excellent job and now it looks great on my wall!
Before going to Sweden I contacted a few sporting magazine to see if they would be interested in an article as I thought this would be something a little different that we don’t see in the UK. The only magazine to get back in touch with me was The Shooting Times which I was really happy because it was the main one I wanted to work with. So in december that year my article was published! My first article and I was very proud of it. I have never considered myself a writer of any kind, usually it takes me sometime to write because I always have to proof read and I make mistakes but to see my writing in full print in a leading sporting magazine really put a smile on my face!
My winning photo on the Nordik Predator stand at IWA exhibition last year
I would like to say a huge big thank you to everyone at Nordik Predator again for giving me a chance of a lifetime; P-A, Emma, Robert and Markus! It was truly an amazing experience and something I will never forget! This hunting experience was life changing.