An Englishman goes moose hunting - chaos ensues

Engelska 18 september 2023 09:00

I was gently snoozing in a chair, dreaming happily of white rabbits, when all hell broke loose. Erik had shouted, sprung to his feet and grabbed his rifle. The moose tower shook with his movement.

Still bleary-eyed, I also sprang to my feet in a confused panic - was Erik going to shoot my lovely, fluffy white rabbits? But I’d jumped to my feet far too quickly and much too carelessly. I bashed my head on the low wooden roof of the moose tower and, reeling from the impact, knocked over my cup of coffee and the little table it had been sitting on.

I also nearly knocked Erik out of the tower, as I staggered around the tiny, confined space like a bear that had just been hit by a tranquilizer dart.

– Sssh, Pucko, Erik muttered, because I've learned that, under pressure, Erik can be quite rude. 

Erik now had the rifle up to his shoulder and was looking out onto the edge of the clearing where the tower was positioned. There was a dog barking and the sound of undergrowth being stomped by something much bigger than fluffy white rabbits. My first-ever moose hunt was finally going to see some action.


The day had begun at a leisurely pace, albeit at the crack of dawn. While I've never been a morning man, the early hours of autumn days in northern Sweden are captivating. The journey to my friend Viktor's place at 6:30 am led me through a mist-laden, frost-kissed landscape that was nothing short of breathtaking. I found myself driving at a crawl, relishing every moment of this ethereal experience.

As a result, of course, I made us late to the meet-up at the abattoir and I stood out like a Quaker at an orgy. There they were, clad in their no-nonsense hunting gear, marked and polished by years of relentless tracking, and moose hauling and butchery. And there was me in my pristine Klim jacket and jeans. I looked as much like a hunter as Liberace did. 

Viktor and I were assigned a moose tower and off we went. It was a wonderful morning and as we sat in the tower sipping our coffee and munching biscuits in the middle of a clearing in the woods, I totally understood the attraction.

Hunting moose. Idiot Englishman not in shot.

– Seeing a moose, well, that's the ultimate goal. But just sitting here in the forest chatting is a good enough reason to be here, especially when things are otherwise slow this time of year, said Viktor. 

Viktor is a gentle man, but he doesn’t really understand the concerns of animal rights advocates when it comes to moose hunting. 

– We've so many moose here that they cause quite a few car accidents. Hunting is a way to manage their numbers, but it's not done just for kicks. We make good use of the moose, eating their meat and using their hide, so absolutely nothing goes to waste.

Following a quick lunch after the morning’s unproductive hunt, I went back out with Erik, a mechanic.

In Sweden's north, where distances between towns are huge and village pubs are not part of the culture, hunting also offers a social outlet. 

– I love to hunt. I love the chase, the nature and even the kill. But, for many of us, it’s the time we spend with each other that matters most. We don’t get to see each other so much these days. Life takes over. 

Erik then told me that he was the only one of the group that hadn’t even seen a moose this hunting season, never mind shot one. He was hoping for a change of fortune this afternoon. 

An hour later, Erik, ignoring the English knucklehead stumbling around next to him, muttering about rabbits, fixed his sights on the calf that had fled into the clearing 20 meters from us, frightened by the barking of the group’s hunt dog. Erik fired once and the calf fell, killed instantly by a shot to the head. Erik turned to me and laughed. 

– You brought me luck! You must come hunting with us again!

This is a column and the views are the author's own.

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