Early one Sunday morning in October, Mikko Panula, Computer programmer and sharp-shooter, takes me out into the woods with his hunting team, as one young hunter has a VERY memorable day!
Guest: Mikko Panula, Computer programmer and sharp-shooter.
Meeting in the dark, early Sunday morning, I felt a little nervous. I’d never been hunting before and felt totally out of my comfort zone. Mikko and I met-up with the rest of his 20-strong team in a traditional wooden shelter, large fire roaring on the middle of those that had arrived first, pre-warming themselves against the chilly air, and the persistent rain. Rain that you can actually hear dripping onto the microphone during the earliest parts of the show – sorry about that!
Mikko had provided me with the regulation camouflage gear, and you can hear him explain why the regulation stipulates orange and why that’s not a problem when moose hunting. Once we got into the woods, the team fanned out in a large, crescent shape waiting for the dog handling teams to locate the moose and drive them towards us. It was interesting to see the modern technology in action as Mikko tracked the precise movements of the dogs, via GPS collars and an app on his phone.
While we wait, Mikko explains a few of the different hunting seasons in Finland, and how visitors to Finalnd can take part in organised hunts (see the links below for more details);
- August – pigeon
- Late-August – Water fowl
- Sept to Feb – Rabbit
- Sept to Dec – Moose
Mikko’s comments on rifle culture in Finland were interesting, gun storage laws and a ‘non-trophy hunting’ mentality, means that most of the team are unaware what rifles the others use, but for the record he use a Tikka T3 with silencer which fires .308 cartridges plus a Swarovski scope. At this moment we also discussed the hunters etiquette towards the animal and the importance of making a the first shot a ‘kill shot’.
During my morning out with Mikko’s team, a young male moose was shot. The 15 year old, junior of the team, made his first ever kill. Next came the task of trying to extract the beast from some fairly rough terrain, proving that this really is a team sport! Once this was complete, the team rested around a fire drinking coffee and cooking makkara while swapping stories of characters they used to hunt with. In this setting, I was reminded of the days when I played football, after the match sitting in the changing room chatting about the game, the previous evening’s fun and cracking jokes – reinforcing the team aspect of this type of hunt.
Mikko also explained about the regulations surrounding moose hunting, how each team applies for permits to hunt a certain quota and why this ‘harvesting’ of the moose has an important effect on the ecosystem of the Finnish forests.
Finnish words in the episode
Hirvi – Moose
Supikoira – Raccoon dog
Minkki – Mink
Lahtivaja – Processing plant for the animal
Mökki – Cabin, summer cottage
The Finnish Wildlife Agency
Hunting tourism in Finland
I’ve included these for information purposes only and imply no recommendations, nor any connection to any of these external web pages.