Moose hunting enthusiast and Leica Pro hunter Oliver Dorn traveled to autumnal Sweden, to West Jämtland, equipped with Leica rangefinding binoculars Geovid HD-B 42 and a Leica Magnus 1.8–12 x 50 i riflescope, to test the ruggedness and performance of these two products in the rough Swedish wilderness.
Hunting in Sweden is so inseparably connected with my own hunting passion that last year I was drawn there for the third time in short succession to hunt moose. What fascinates me is the hours of tracking down the game – calf, cow, or bull – listening for the baying of the good dog, and finally the careful approach. Walking, even running with a backpack full of everything I need for a day in the wilderness, equipped with technology I can completely rely on – that’s my kind of hunt.
A foggy yet successful hunt
A typical hunting day on Medstugan starts around 9:30, after a hearty breakfast. The morning brings us thick, wet fog. I wonder how the laser of my Geovid HD-B 42 will react to it. In a pickup truck, we drive with the organizer Johan Persson, and one of his dogs, to a nearby mountain. Long faces all round – the fog isn’t lifting. Then we decide to leave the vehicle behind and climb the steep hill across from the lodge on foot. Around 1 p.m. we reach a clearing whose dimensions I can estimate well, despite the swaths of fog, thanks to my Geovid rangefinding binoculars. Today, Johan’s Nordic spitz Snöa is coming along; she’s an experienced dog. Our mood remains low, since the sun fights the fog in vain.
I scan the area with the Geovid, looking for game. At some distance, I spot moose on the move. The laser of the integrated rangefinder measures 322 meters through the fog, precisely. Johan switches on Snöa’s tracking collar and sends her off. We continue our steady climb. Again and again, we find moose droppings and beds. Much more frequently than on my previous trips to Norrbotten or Västerbotten. The fog stays thick and everything is damp, almost wet. We take a short breather to check our gear. Big dewdrops roll off the nitrogen-filled hunting optics. One glance through the Magnus i 1.8-12 x 50 shows that the Leica technology is utterly reliable. Then, suddenly, the tracker system shows that Snöa has found game. “Standskall” appears on the display. The sun bravely battles the fog. And loses.
We look at each other. Snöa stands behind a ridge we would have to cross. The question is, can the dog keep the game there? If not, there are several escape directions for the game – and our current location is one of them. We come to a decision quickly: We’ll climb the ridge at a fast pace, and then see what’s next. Quickly, we ascend the right slope. We rapidly make our way through bushes and shrubs without paying attention to the high-quality optics on the rifle and on my chest. The fog still hangs heavily, but the sun is shining with all its might. Sweat runs down my back. Will we see enough for safe identification, for a shot? Short glimpses at the tracker device offer welcome pauses until we have reached the ridge.
Snöa stands directly ahead. Only 250 meters separate us. The wind comes from our left, perfect. We rush down the hill, avoid making loud sounds. 100 meters, hardly any cover in front of us. On a rocky outcropping, we prepare for a shot. We hear Snöa’s loud and angry barking. In the Geovid, I see movement in the high forest in front of me. The laser measures 80 meters through the wafting fog.
There he is – a large, strong bull. No free field of fire. The moose breaks away to the left, and overlooks a path in order to increase the distance between us with fast steps. We follow hurriedly, against the wind, always running parallel at a distance of 150 meters. 15 to 20 minutes, time flies. Now the moose shortens the distance between us – a look at the tracker shows us a path running at a right angle in front of us, Snöa, and the moose bull. 80 meters’ distance to the game, we press on. 50 meters, the path opens in front of us. We kneel down, I load the rifle, turn the Magnus riflescope to lowest magnification in order to widen the field of view as much as possible, and take aim: As we presumed and hoped, the moose takes the path in order to make headway upwards.
In the light fog, the Leica Geovid’s clear image shows me his head, his antlers – it is THE bull. Now I have to be quick. I raise my rifle, aim instinctively: No keyhole effect disturbs the image. The extremely wide field of view shows me a clear, bright image, and I have the bull firmly in the crystal-clear illuminated reticle. The shot rings out. The bull has been hit; he turns to the right and flees up a slope, high into dense spruces. The dog follows, barking, disappears from our view and … stands silent. We wait awhile until we follow. The bull moose lies dead with a lung shot, between the spruces. Snöa next to him. I observe the eight-year-old bull: the reward of an exhausting pursuit.
Johan, Snöa, and I sit next to him, pay our last respects. Then everything runs smoothly; we guide our two companions to our location, using cell phones and our voices. Johan radios an employee, asking him to bring the moose down to the lodge with a heavy ATV and sled.
When everyone finally arrives and the game is taken care of, we take a last breather on this journey: a somewhat late lunch break in the forest. Next to us is the now motionless giant we had stalked. I am very grateful for this hunting opportunity with Johan, the excellent work of his dog and the rugged, weatherproof Leica technology I could rely on during this action-packed hunt. Once again, this trip to Sweden confirmed my previous experiences. Anyone who loves untouched nature, active hunting and authentic, open-minded people simply has to try their luck hunting in Sweden.
Rangefinding binoculars: Leica Geovid HD-B 42
Riflescope: Leica Magnus 1.8–12 x 50 i
Rifle: Merkel Helix Noblesse, caliber .30-06
Ammunition: Norma Ecostrike