Wednesday, November 4, 2015

And the learning continues....

I should've mentioned the hunting course of course.
Until now we have had a tonne of theory, but we also had the chance to meet a tracking hunter and his dogs. He talked about his works and showed us and we could shoot any question we had at him. This way of learning works great for me! This week we have visited a hunting store, looking at guns and ammunition. We also visited the gunvault and were allowed to try and handle the rifles therein. I found my match; a Tikka T3 Battue 308. Felt exactly right! It is a short rifle, not heavy, but with enough punch. Turns out to be not all that expensive either.

I also tried a Winchester (y'know the western version with the reloading handle underneath) and more than a dozen others, including some shotguns. Man, those felt big and unwieldy!
And speaking of hunting; I had a nice encounter and an eyeopener while having a long walk with Rex.
I had a little contact with someone knowledgeable regarding sleddogs and her advice made me look at Rex differently. She told me that Alaskan huskies are not just sleddogs, but they retain a pretty high level of huntinginstinct. I started noticing things.... Things that might prove useful in the future. He loves to use his nose, even more then his legs! I tried some running with him, but when he picks up a scent he just diverts in a 90 degree angle in the direction of the smell. That might be an issue when pulling a sled at speed... Maybe not the best qualifications for a leaddog. A good second probably. But he might just become a good trackingdog. Which probably requires a lot less high energy effort and commitment, but which yields an equally high output in exercise, cooperation and physical results.
The encounter I mentioned was one involving wildlife, a moose to be precise. We were out walking for the first time with the long leash again and I kept an eye on my boy as he was sniffing around as he usually does. Suddenly his nose went up in the air and he cocked his ears. He swiftly moved to the side of the road, low profile and went up the bank. There he froze and I did at the other end of the line, some 4 meters in between us with 4 meters of leash to spare. We stood and listened.... There was something moving through the forest. I heard the snapping of twigs and the muffled thumping of paws... hooves... And that came nearer quickly. Suddenly a small/young moosecow emerged from between the trees and she came right at us, up to within 20 meters. Rex did not make a sound or moved. But I was standing out in the open on the road. The cow saw me, slowed down and started turning, all the while eyeing me. She turned her left flank at me and slowly turned until Rex barked... Only once and she was off! If I had had a rifle I could have taken a perfect shot; 90 degree angle on her flank, short range, no obstacles...
What was the most amazing was Rex. He did not get mad or went ballistic. He did not bark, run or pull... He was remarkably quiet, alert and focussed.... After that his nose was glued to the ground and I started paying even more attention to what he was sniffing..... And I found more tracks, fresh ones. Places where the moose had crossed the road previously. I could see where she had lept over the ditch, landed on the road, crossed it and followed the ditch on the other side. I also found fresh deer tracks. Out in the adjacent fields we found fresh droppings and I let Rex roam free at the end of the long leash. By observing his movements I could retrace where the moose must've passed. Very exciting!!
A while before this episode we had met a hunter on the road in. I recognised him from last years hunt and we chatted a little. I knew he must have had his dog with him, so I asked him. Yup, the dog was other there somewhere alright.
And indeed, after the moose encounter we saw the hunter's dog move between the trees. I was a little anxious, knowing Rex' usual reaction towards strange dogs, but this one was not in the least interested in Rex. And Rex, again, barked once and was quiet again and set out to start tracking and sniffing again. No sign of bad behaviour at all.....
I was most pleased and also quite surprised when we came home. I already asked one of the local hunters for some moose hide and legs if or when they shoot their last moose this season.

The rest of the week will be focussed on homesteading; canning and drying to be more specific and hopefully some gardening too, just before winter sets in. And some firewood gathering too.

and of course there is our new family activity:

It was real fun doing this together and our little one shot remarkably well the first time! Best of all actually....
And maybe it was because I had been swinging a hammer most of that day, but I did again experience quite a lot of discomfort in the right shoulder. Pulling the string with the right arm was a definite no-no, so it was just as well, and surprising, to find out I should be shooting with my left! My left eye appears to be dominant...
The second time went much better. Body rested and the result were much better. I managed to land the arrows in groups at the longer range. Not always centre, but close to each other. My shoulder took it rather well. A sort of growing pain kind of feeling, but a lot less than the first time. Maybe with training that will pass too. And the kids still love it, even more than after the first time!
It is not the only thing we as a family like doing together. The other thing is watching movies... Hardly outdoorsrelated, but we all enjoy spending time together that way, having a good time with some food and drinks. It is not that we mindlessly stare at the screen. There's a lot of smalltalk and goofing around involved too. And we spend time together, which in itself is a great thing. Those having teens know why.... They tend to live in a world of their own or even on their own.

And I did a give-away!
I joined a Swedish bushcraft group on facebook a while ago, called bushcraft Sverige and that one reached the 1000 member-marker recently. On a whim I decided to do a give-away. Well, not entirely on a whim. it is a good tradition on BCUSA to celebrate a memorable event by doing a give-away and that inspired me to do the same on this side of the ocean. I have so much stuff and I did receive a few things myself as gifts I felt the need to give something in return. So one of the framed backpacks found a new and young (13) owner, whom I have never met or know, but who lives in a city relatively near. It might encourage him to continue the hobby and deepen his knowledge and understanding or at least enable him to enjoy the beauty of Swedish nature and maybe one day inspire and encourage others himself to do so too.

An old, but very useable Haglöfs framed backpack, an older Dutch army poncho, some horseshoefungus, a Czech army panset with burner w/ adjustable lid, a beanie, a deerantler, a Dutch army webbingbelt + 2 former East german grenadepouches, on old Mora Clasic in need of some TLC, a sittingpad, Danish flint, a folding mug and an emergency blanket.
That should get him going....
Another member took care of the shippingcosts!


  1. Awesome donation to the youngster Ron - good for you! You wont go far wrong with a Tikka T3 - they have a good reputation. Love the rifle / shotgun comparison - they do feel different - but they are used differently!

    1. the Tikka is small/short and relatively light. Even with a silencer it would still be a good hunting rifle with a dog around me. Not too wieldy or cumbersome + it has a good safetycatch, should one stumble or fall. Not too weird a scenario when roaming the woods with a dog on a lead.
      Handling a shotgun felt like moving a piece of handheld artillery around.... which it basically is, actually. Point and boom.

    2. Tell me that when you can hit a high fast pheasant overhead! (I can't!), Light short shotguns exist - but can recoil hard due to cartridge size - Newtons third law of motion!

    3. I do not think I would even try. I am infantry, not anti aircraft artillery.

    4. Fair play. I was thirty years with rifles before getting into shotguns and I STILL try to aim them. Its a very different discipline and hard to mix the two

    5. I was used shooting rifle with my right and now I am shooting bow with the left..... and then I'll be starting shooting rifle again... But which side????
      How's that for a mix up?

  2. It is awesome to learn about the behaviour of your "new" hunting dog;-), for I have had the suspicion that might be the case with huskies for a long time.

    And your youngest, from what I can say from my humble experience and from what I know from Erich, my would-be father-in-law and archery tutor, has a great body composure for archery-perfect bearing!

    As for the giveaway-one great thing more...;-)

    1. It is awesome! The damn mutt never ceases to amaze or surprise me!! ;)
      And it is so hard to find something to do with a family when dealing with so many different ages and interests. So we'll cherish this for as long as possible, even if it means getting everyone their own bow and arrows one day!

  3. Good for you on the hunting course! And for handling so many guns. I hunt big game with a semi-automatic .308. My sister's husband shot a whitetail deer late in the afternoon on Wednesday. It spun around as he was pulling the trigger and the shot was almost a miss. They couldn't find it so they called a man who rescued a hound from the shelter and works with him in tracking. The dog tracked the deer for almost a mile. Amazing what they can do.

    Isn't seeing the moose that close a thrill! I never tire of seeing wildlife up close or at a distance. It's good to be that close to the earth and its creatures.

  4. I'm a .410 gal myself. I can hit almost anything because I'm instinctive. But I'm getting better with the .22. GurlGuns. Before my dad passed he bequeathed his saddle ring Winchester to my nephew. You know the kind John Wayne shoots in True Grit. It had been his dad's gun (my grandfather) so it carried some significance. I was so jealous to see my nephew get it. But I understand the tradition of passing it along to the sons. (secret boo hoo!)

    That is one cool give away! That kid will never forget it!

    I see you're into recurves. That's what my dad used to hunt deer with. He was forever impressed with the skill of the Native American who had to rely on this style of hunting. It's not a foregone conclusion that you go out and bring back food for the table. Now I target practice with a recurve. The composite has it's uses though. I'm sure my dad would have used one had they existed. Holding a recurve still until the game comes into range is TOUGH!

    I think you may be finally getting to what Rex's dharma is. Every creature, man or beast, has a dharma. What they are supposed to do. Good luck!