I recently had the opportunity to visit Finland and he highlight of our trip was two days with the Karkauksen Metsästysyhdistys, the Hunting Association of Karkauksen, a small community north east of Helsinki and not from Mikkeli. It was a fascinating opportunity to compare deer management in Scotland with elk management in Finland.
The association manages the shooting of European Elk, or Moose, in the community, working to a government-defined target set annually to ensure a stable and healthy elk population. The hunters, predominantly men but some women, are drawn from the local community and the meat from the hunt is divided between the members of the association. Hunting takes place in the Autumn.
Early in the morning members of the hunt are out looking for tracks, much easier of course when there is snow on the ground as there was on our visit. Based on the tracks, areas of the forest are selected, hunters placed around the edge of the area and beaters or an elkhound sent in to disturb the elk and move them towards the guns. Elk are typically shot on the move and at close range in forest clearings or tracks. The Scottish concept of getting in range without the deer being aware of your presence is impractical given the huge tracts of forest in which hunting takes place. (Finland is a country some 40% larger than the U.K., but with a population of 5 million).
It was fascinating to be part of the Finnish hunting experience and my thanks go to the members of the hunting association who were very welcome, and keen to share their knowledge and experience.