Hunting in Finland: Community, tradition and fine firearms


Getting posted on a stand for a driven hunt was a first for the author

On this trip, I was joined by several other outdoor writers from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia to test the new Sako 90 rifles at one of the hunting clubs. We were going to be hunting moose and whitetails, and under Finnish law you must first pass a shooting proficiency test to hunt moose. After watching several others take the test, it was my turn and I breathed a sigh of relief when one word came across on the handheld radio: “Passed.”

Why the trepidation? I had practised extensively before leaving for Finland, but I had to take the test with a new Sako 90, a rifle model I’d never seen before, let alone fired. As it turned out, I was actually fairly familiar with the rifle, as it is essentially a refinement of the discontinued Sako 85 series (see “A FINE LINE” on next page).


When it was finally time to prepare for the hunt, we all excitedly formed a line in front of the club house, where the hunt master went over the rules. For many of us, me included, this was our first driven hunt. We would be placed in various stands on the club property, and a group of drivers would then push the game in our direction. We were to have three drives in the morning and two in the afternoon. White-tailed bucks, lone does and fawns were all fair game, as were bull moose, lone cows and calves. Females accompanied by young were off limits.

We were all fitted with headsets to keep us informed by radio of the progress of the drivers, and to let us know once the moose quota had been reached and they could no longer be hunted. We then toasted the hunt, and in the bottom of our shot glasses were the numbers of the stands each of us were assigned to.

The first two drives were uneventful for me, but the chatter over the radio indicated some of the others had been lucky. My third stand offered a much greater view than the first two, and about 15 minutes into the drive, a whitetail doe and fawn crossed a trail just below me. The fawn was fair game, but I elected not to take the shot hoping something else would come my way.


Finnish and foreign hunters gather to pay homage to their harvested game

A few minutes later, there was a flurry of shots to the north and two excited hunters announced over the radio that two moose were down. A short time later, the hunt master declared no more moose could be taken. Less than two minutes later, a fat cow sauntered into sight and stopped, standing broadside approximately 40 metres away. All I could do was laugh at my misfortune and watch as she melted back into the forest.The day ended without me firing a shot, but being part of the driven hunt was an amazing experience. That evening, we celebrated with a big feast, paying homage to the hunt and the harvested animals. You could tell this was a deep-rooted tradition with the Finnish hunters joining us, and we were honoured to have shared it with them.

It was also easy to see why hunting remains so popular in Finland, with the tradition, camaraderie and ease of access ensuring high hunter participation into the future. We Canadians could learn a few lessons from the Finns, but travelling to hunt once again also made me appreciate just how blessed we are for the opportunities we enjoy at home.

Contributor T.J. Schwanky travelled to Finland as a guest of Sako Canada.