DRIVEN HUNTS HAVE DEVELOPED OVER CENTURIES AND CONTINUE TO EVOLVE.
Driven hunt is an appreciated social event and many times a thrilling experience for hunters. At the same time it is an efficient way of game management that maintains a stable wildlife population and prevents from damages on farm lands.
DRIVEN HUNT AT IT'S BEST!
A HUNTER'S STORY
On a driven hunt, hunters are silently placed around a hunting area before a team of beaters – typically with dogs – walks slowly through the area, pushing the game, hoping that it passes the hunters on its way out. This method enables the managers of the area to harvest a significant number of animals in a short while with minimal disturbance compared to many individual hunters hunting for many days to shoot the same number of animals.
The faint sound of a dog barking in the distance interrupts the silence in the forest. Lena looks up. Her mental mode instantly changes from slightly absentminded to fully alert. A slight rush of adrenaline raises her pulse, her eyes begin to scan the undergrowth for even the smallest signs of movement, and her ears are struggling to pick up any detectable soundbites of the unseen drama unfolding in front of them. She quickly checks the sight and moves her thumb to the rifle's safety catch in preparation for the seconds of action she is hoping for.
In most cases, it turns out to be a false alarm. Maybe the dog only barks once. Perhaps you hear the sound moving further and further away. However, the experienced hunter knows that opportunities on a driven hunt comes and goes within the blink of an eye. If you are not paying 100% attention, you will miss a lot of chances. That is a part of the attraction. The contrast between waiting alone in absolute silence and acting decisively and entirely focused while a group of wild boars passes your stand is enormous.
Back in the forest, it suddenly happens. Lena hears a shot ring out from one of the other hunters. A couple of dogs are barking frantically. Beaters are shouting. She looks in the sound direction, and seconds later, she sees movement in the ferns. Animals are running full speed towards her stand. She raises the rifle while trying to make up precisely what is happening. The sounds of the moving animals tell her that it must be a group of wild boar. Forty meters in front of her, a big sow breaks cover and continues across a relatively open area with scattered pine trees in front of her. Six or seven brown-coated yearlings follow the sow.
Looking through her sight, Lena lets the red dot catch up with the shoulder of the yearling closest to the sow. As she swings through, the shot goes. Lena is a seasoned wild boar hunter, and in these intense situations, she primarily runs on the instincts built up by countless hours of practicing and hunting. The pig tumbles and rolls as if struck by lightning. The following pigs break and turn so that they are now running directly toward her. Less than three seconds later, Lena has already chambered another round and put another yearling in her sight. At about 15 meters distance, she fires a second shot killing the yearling on the spot. A few seconds later, a third pig ends its day on the forest floor before the group vanishes behind her.
The silence returns as suddenly as the boars broke it. 15 or maybe 20 seconds of intense hunting resulted in three pigs on the ground, a pounding pulse, and an incredible feeling of accomplishment. You do not get a chance like this every day, so you have to be exceptionally well prepared. At the end of a well-prepared driven hunt, dozens of animals may be shot. Thus, the driven hunt is a great management tool in areas where large numbers of game must be harvested every year to fulfill the game management plan.
A driven hunt is an exciting experience for the hunters and an efficient game management tool for the landowners. It is a highly social event with vital elements of action and tranquility, technology and tradition, teamwork, and solitude. There are so many good reasons why driven hunts are extremely popular, especially in forested areas of Europe. In many hunting areas, these hunts are the preferred way to regulate the population of wild boar and various species of deer, including red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, and moose.
Driven hunts have developed over centuries and continue to evolve.
Shooting at running game is the norm on a driven hunt. It is not an easy discipline, and it takes a bit of training to acquire the technique. It is by far the most challenging form of hunting from a rifle shooting perspective. Practicing is a lot of fun. However, many shooting ranges and indoor shooting cinemas across Europe allow hunters to hone their skills. It is an all-year activity for the avid driven hunt enthusiast – with most of the shots fired on the range.
THE OPTIMUM GEAR FOR DRIVEN HUNTS
Running game, short distances, tough animals, long drives in freezing weather, and lots of other hunters are all special conditions on driven hunts. Here is our list of equipment.
The ranges are short, so accuracy doesn't have to be extreme. The larger middle-class calibers like 30-06, 8x57, or even 9,3x62 results in clearly visible signs of impact on the game.
A fast repeating rifle with a reasonably large magazine capacity will enable fast follow up shots in intense situations.
You need a rifle with a steady swing. A sound moderator will help improve handling qualities on most rifles by adding weight to the front. Notice that moderators are not yet legal in all countries.
Lead-free ammunition works fine on driven hunts. Most ammunition manufacturers offer lead-free products. For example, Norma Ecostrike, RWS Evolution green, or Hornady GMX will work reliably on running wild boar at close to medium range.
An Aimpoint® Red Dot Sight
Your sight is the heart of your driven hunt gear. Nothing is faster than a red dot sight with zero magnification allowing the hunter to focus on the surrounding with both eyes open at all times. Since Aimpoint is completely parallax-free, you have the added advantage of not having to think about centering the red dot in the sight. The shot will hit where the dot is.
So-called driven hunt scopes neither offer the unlimited field of view as an Aimpoint used with both eyes open nor are they parallax free.
Aimpoint sight options include compact, low profile models like the Acro C-1TM, Micro H-2TM, or the tubular models like the HunterTM Series. Any of these provide a fast and accurate sighting solution for your hunting rifle. Pick the one that fits your rifle best.
Most driven hunts take place in the late fall and the winter. The hunters will typically stand or sit still for hours. Therefore, the primary function of clothes for this hunting type is to keep the hunter warm and ready for sudden action.
Warm winter underwear and several insulted layers of wool or fleece under a thick winter jacket with matching pants is the go-to solution. Pay special attention to warm boots. Neoprene winter boots are a long time favorite of ice fishers and perform equally well on cold driven hunts. Electrically heated clothes are an excellent supplement, as long as you bear in mind to bring plenty of fully charged batteries.
Safety is essential, so make sure to wear plenty of blaze orange to signal your position to other hunters. The game will not notice as long as you stand still.
A SUCCESSFUL AIMING DEVICE
FOR THE DRIVEN HUNT
There are many types of aiming options for hunting rifles. There is the iron reticle, also called open sights. This type of aiming unit consists of the rear sight and the front post. These two reticle units needs to be aligned along the barrel and point towards the target. You can only keep focus on one point at the time due to the human eye limitations and it is usually the front post which is in focus. That is, the target which you try to hit is blurry.
Add to this the game is not standing still and if it is dark it is even more difficult to follow it with this type of aiming device. When using the open sights, you also close one eye which leads to that you cut away important information. For instance, does this wild boar sow have piglets with her? Some call the opens sight “driven hunt reticle” and claim that this type is the fastest in a close-up situation. It is not!
Magnified optics are brilliant at identifying targets at longer ranges when you have the time. When the game suddenly appears in front of you in a close-range driven hunt situation, you don’t want to have too much magnification on.
Even if you are looking with both eyes open. The eye with the magnification takes over and you see what is in the tube. That means that what is happening around is difficult to perceive. It can be hard to detect a tree branch, that close stone or if there are piglets following the sow. If you don t look straight into the optics, you get the shadowing effect, and the point of impact will be a little bit of course.
A non-magnified optic which you aim with by looking with both eyes is more natural. This is how you normally look when walking in the forest or when you are at your post at the hunt. Add to this an almost 180 degrees field of view which increases your chances in finding and engaging the correct game in a group. You don’t have to center the aiming dot in the optic device. Just keep your focus on the area where you want to hit the target and drag the red aiming dot to this point. Pull the trigger when the red dot is entering the vital zone of the target.
This is the fastest way of aiming and successfully bringing down a moving target efficiently. The red dot sight is by far the optimal aiming device for a driven hunt situation. Read more about red dot sights here.