Monday, 4 February 2013

Capercaillie & Black Grouse Hunt in Sweden

I have just returned from a weekend hunting capercaillie and black grouse out in the Swedish wilderness. This type of hunting is referred to in Norwegian as 'Toppjakt' directly translated this means top hunting and it is usually carried out using mountain ski's, a wider version of cross-country ski's which prevent you sinking too deeply into the deep snow. You dress yourself in white snow camouflage and venture out on ski's with a rifle on your back, gradually working your way through the forests and open areas, frequently scanning the trees for any birds as often the black grouse and capercaillie will sit high up on the branches feeding and are very easy to identify on the snow covered trees.  Once you have located the birds at distance, it's time to ski closer as quietly as possible into an acceptable shooting range and using FMJ ( Full Metal Jacket) ammunition shoot them from the tree tops. Due to the risks involved with this type of hunting, it is only permitted in extremely remote areas.

Having driven for several hours, we were just a few hundred meters from our accommodation when a young cow moose ran out in front of our vehicle, I quickly grabbed my iPhone and managed a couple of photo's but the quality is not great due to the movement of the moose and the vehicle.



A few hundred meters later when we arrived at our accommodation we were greeted with extremely cold temperatures of -25 degrees celsius, luckily for us the next few days were forecast to be a lot more comfortable at -10 degrees celsius.

The outside temperature upon arrival at our accommodation!
The first morning after a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and beans we packed our gear into the car and drove to the hunting terrain which was 20 minutes away, on the way there we carefully scanned the tree tops from the car in the hope that we might see a bird or two, but unfortunately all we saw was a squirrel.  Having arrived at the hunting terrain, we unpacked the car and got kitted up with the snow camouflage, ski's, rifle and provisions to see us through the trip. The weather was approximately -10 degrees celsius with a light wind, excited we headed off into the wilderness.

Jon Anders
Yours truly =)
We skied off into the terrain constantly glassing the tree tops for the distinctive black birds on their branches, the deeper we ventured the more beautiful it became and to be honest the whole idea of shooting a bird was forgotten as I was just having a great time being out there in the middle of nowhere enjoying the scenery. We skied through thick forest, across huge marsh areas, across frozen lakes and up the hills into hidden plateaus and marsh areas miles away from the nearest house.




After searching for a couple of hours I caught sight of a capercaillie but it had already seen us and flew off before we even had a chance to do anything, undeterred we skied on. A couple of hours later we decided to stop for a coffee and some lunch over looking a nice open marsh area, lunch finished we decided to have a go at fox calling as we had seen lots of sign in the area, but unfortunately after thirty minutes of calling we had no response, so packed up and continued on our way. Several unsuccessful hours later it was time to loop round and head back to the car.

Jon Anders fox calling
Unfortunately we were met with windy conditions on the second day and didn't see any birds, the windy conditions probably keeping them on the ground tucked up in the snow feeding. Having packed up our all equipment we drove back towards the accommodation only to see a black grouse sitting in the tree top right by the side of the road, we quickly stopped the car and I got a couple of photo's.


A nice photo finish and a great weekend in Sweden, I look forward to trying it again next year.

12 comments:

  1. Great weekend you had. Nice pics......we have tjäder too in Småland and in our hunting areas very much of them.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, there were not so many birds in the area we hunted, so we might try another area next time. It's a great form of hunting, so I look forward to more of it in the future.

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  2. Cool pics! What caliber rifle were you using? And what's up with the FMJ?

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    1. Hi Tyler, I was using my Sauer 202 Classic XT in 30-06, we use FMJ on the birds so the meat doesn't get destroyed when we shoot them, it's the way they've been hunting them for decades. Atb. Jonathan

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  3. I guess that makes sense. where I'm at you can use any weapon to take mountain grouse. I do take my semi auto Ak 47 deer hunting along with a 270. I think the game warden would freak out if I had FMJ in the truck though!

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean! The thought of using a FMJ when hunting is still strange to me, especially when shooting the birds off the tree tops.

      Atb. Jonathan

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  4. I usually use a shot gun hunting mountain grouse but keep a 22 handy for head neck shots. why do u use such a large caliber? Where are u aiming for?

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    1. Hi Tyler, I took my 30-06 because it's a nice and light rifle with a synthetic stock so wont get damaged in the wet/ snow. It's also super accurate so I feel really confident shooting it. As for shooting the birds, I would aim to hit them in the center of the chest and would comfortsbly be able to take shots like this up to 200 meters with this rifle. Some people use lighter calibers with great success, but when I only plan on shooting up to 200 meters the 30-06 is fine for the job and the FMJ does very little damage to the meat.

      Atb. Jonathan

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  5. Nice to see your photos from the hunting in Sweden :)

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    1. Thank you =) It was a fantastic trip and I enjoyed every minute of it! Sweden is a magical place and I look forward to my next visit.

      Hilsen
      Jonathan

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  6. Sounds like a good trip, nice pictures

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    1. Thanks Greg, it was a great trip =) Looking forward to doing it again.

      Atb. Jonathan

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