Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Hunt

Although I come from a region where hunting is fairly popular, I never really thought I was going to be doing it myself until I got a phone call saying, "Tomorrow we go moose hunting."

So this morning I woke up extra early (6:00 am) and put all my warm cloths on, including my slighly-above-the-ankle-high winter boots--because winter boots are better than no boots--and was picked up by one of my host club member's husbands. Along the way, we picked up another hunter who'd be coming along too. We were headed towards an old, gigantic stretch of forest and wetland now used by the agricultural university for forestry research, where we'd meet up with about 20 more guys who are all members of this particular hunting club.

As we came nearer to where the central meeting point of the hunting club was, they began to tell me things about hunting. Things like how their club chairman was almost run down by a wild boar last weekend, or how one guy saw a mother bear and her four cubs last year, and that that means that those four cubs are probably living in the area or something. He also mentioned something about giving me an axe, "just in case". So you know, things like that. Luckily I had the sweet sounds of another guy softly humming Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" to soothe my nerves.

Wild Boar: Like Pumba, only more testosterone, 'roid rage, and daddy issues.

When we got to the meeting place, I was given the necessary supplies--a compass and a bright orange vest--and was told that I was going to be one of the "chasers" (the people who flush out the animals by walking in a sparse line and making a lot of noise; not sure what that's technically called). I was also told the plan of attack, which was to have a line a chasers start at one end of a certain area and have the hunters stand at the other side, waiting to get any moose that ran out of the bush towards them. If this failed, we would move to a new area and try again.
And thus began... The Hunt.

Round One
Weather: Clear. Blue skies.
Temperature: 43˚F/6˚C
Wind Speed: Slight breeze.
Direction of Movement: North-East
Status of Equipment: Like new.

Result: Nothing yet, but I stepped in a higher-than-slightly-above-the-ankle-deep puddle. :(

Round Two
Weather: Still clear. Blue skies.
Temperature: 46˚F/7˚C
Wind Speed: Slight breeze.
Direction of Movement: South-West
Status of Equipment: Slighty-above-the-ankle-high winter boots exchanged for slightly-above-the-knee-high rubber boots; new socks acquired.

These are the most stylish boots I have ever worn and the most stylish boots I will ever wear.

Result: Nothing, but my arm ended up in a puddle. :(

Round Three
Weather: Still clear. Blue skies.
Temperature: 46˚F/7˚C
Wind Speed: Little more than a slight breeze.
Direction of Movement: North-East
Status of Equipment: Left sleeve of jacket wet; left glove soaked. The left arm saw heavy losses. Feet are dry though. :D

Result: Nothing, but I didn't get anything wet. (It came pretty close though.)

Round Four
Weather: Slightly cloudy.
Temperature: 47˚F/8˚C
Wind Speed: Little bit breezy.
Direction of Movement: North-West with a hint of North-East.
Status of Equipment: Left sleeve more dried out; now wearing only right glove. (Feet still dry)

Result: Nothing. But I found some berries(!) and some animal scat. Didn't look edible though. I mean the berries.

Round Five
Weather: Cloudy and a bit gloomy.
Temperature: Kind of cold (and wet).
Wind Speed: Kind of breezy.
Direction of Movement: North-East... maybe.
Status of Equipment: Lots of little sticks and twigs in rubber boots; boots too tall and difficult to remove to be able to clear out twigs. Left sock somehow wet.

Result: Nothing. And my legs are tired.


Weather: Rain.
Temperature: Cold, wet and thirsty˚F.
Wind Speed: Cold, wet and thirsty mph
Direction of Movement: East or something. Then some North-East, South-East, then North-East again, then West, deliberately.
Status of Equipment: Both socks wet; left sleeve also we-- actually it was raining so everything was wet. And I had to go through a trench:

Wading through knee-high water in slightly-higher-than-the-knee-high rubber boots: Priceless (unless you slip).

Result: ....Nothing! Unless you count the fact that I got a little lost, had to backtrack to where the start was, and wait to be picked up for a little bit. :(

All-in-all it was a good experience though, regardless of whether or not the only wildlife I saw was some interesting fungus and the European version of a chickadee. And getting lost was only a minor issue, since I've been lost in Estonian forests before (Flashback: The Other Day I Went Orienteering).
In fact, I might even go hunting again in a few months!
Next time though, we're hunting wild boar.

Watch out, evil Pumbas.


  1. Your description of the thrills of the hunting expedition could serve as an advertisement for PETA!

  2. Those berries were probably cranberries - totally edible. They survive over winter.