HARE HUNTING ON THE ISLAND OF VEN
Sweden offers such a great variety of hunting that you can hunt virtually all year round, from big game in the north to small game in the south. This time we headed out to Ven, an island that belongs to Sweden located between Sweden and Denmark. It is perhaps most closely associated with the Danish scientist Tycho Brahe, who lived on the island during the 1500s.
In addition to its exciting history, Ven is known for its absolutely incredible stock of field hares, and that was the reason for our visit – we would be hunting field hares using a form of hunting that was completely new for me, with hunting equipment that I had also never tried. Once all the hunters and dog handlers had arrived at the port, we were all transported by tractor and trailer to the hunting area.
The day before we sailed to Ven, we spent some hours at the shooting range, practicing shotgun shooting with a red dot sight mounted on the shotgun. Our host, the company Aimpoint, wanted us to feel comfortable with the equipment before we headed out on the hunt.
I initially felt that I was simply overthinking things. I thought the new gadget mounted on my shotgun took up too much space in my field of vision, and I fell behind on the clay pigeons as I simply aimed using the red dot, which is the biggest mistake you can make in shotgun shooting. You shouldn’t aim a shotgun – you have to point it. And with that mantra in the back of my mind, I soon had full focus on the clay pigeons that came flying by.
I readied myself, aimed and fired just as I’d done so many times before. Suddenly, the red dot in my field of vision instead worked as a reference point and gave me immediate feedback on how correct or incorrect my stance was. I felt ready for the hunt.
A DIFFERENT HUNTING FORM
The form of hunting that day was also new for me; namely, we used a “folkdrev” (loosely translated as a “people-drive”) for the drive line and the pass line. This is usually done in a u-shaped formation. As the chain of people and dogs made their way past the pass shooters, the shooters joined the drive. This proved an extremely efficient way to flush out the field hares.
Naturally, in such a form of hunting, weapon handling and firing angles are especially important. For example, members of the drive line were only permitted to shoot backwards. I was surprised by how incredibly well-camouflaged the field hares were and how fast they could flee through the stubble fields. They could be just a few feet away from us before they were jolted out of their forms, and with what amazing speed – not unlike the ground-going clay pigeons from the first day of training at the shooting range.
A NECESSARY HUNT
It was an incredibly fun hunt, with ample game and plenty of shots in the company of lovely people and residents who seem to live in harmony.
One of the participants told us that they usually conduct hunts like this a couple of times a year. The hares create major problems in gardens and for agriculture, so these occasions play a crucial role in keeping the stock somewhat under control. The fact is that the field hare has no predators on the island.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Aimpoint Micro S-1 sight actually performed when used on fast ground targets. Shooting with this sight mounted on my shotgun worked very well for me, as it did for most of the hunters. This most certainly contributed to our great success and good cheer.
The day was coming to an end far too soon, and we’d shot a parade of game the likes of which I had never seen before – a whopping 160 field hares. The sight of such success would surely have had a classic harrier hunter seeing red! But as I said, Ven boasts an absolutely unbelievable stock of field hares, and hunting them is a true necessity on this small island.
A cheerful and contented hunter.
HARE HUNTING WITH AIMPOINT
A short film with Aimpoint, and friends, on a traditional hare hunt.