In Sweden, hunting would drastically change if it you removed to role of the dog handler. I enjoy being a dog handler even though I prefer to stand on the shooting line. Here we hunt differently than the outside world because of our use of dogs. These dogs help push game towards the hunters in their stands.
Training these dogs is very important and begins when the dogs are about 8 weeks of age. This training will continue until they can no longer hunt. There are always new situations encountered in each hunt which must be transferred into new lessons, for the dogs, so that they may be prepared for changing conditions found within the hunts. Even the greatest hunters know that there are a million lessons which can still be learned while out hunting.
In Sweden the hunting areas are usually about an average of 200-600 acres (Based on where I hunt). We usually have around 5-6 handlers each with one or more dogs. The numbers of handlers may increase or decrease depending on the size of the area of land where we are hunting. Once released, the dogs seek out the game and will chase them towards the various shooting areas and hunting stands. The game does not always come out at the exact location where a hunter is waiting. All of the dogs wear a GPS collar so that the handler may stay in contact with a “telephone” where there is a map. The handler can see exactly where the dog is so they can go and retrieve the dog if they travel too far away.
We see the more and more dogs wearing protective vests which contains Kevlar. This is a precaution taken to protect the dogs from unfortunate attacks from wolves and especially the wild boar. Boars use their razor sharp tusks to attack the dogs when they encounter each other. DogtechÂ is a leading company in Sweden which manufactures and sells the body armor vests for dogs. They develop and manufacture high quality safety products for the working dogs. Their business concept is to use new techniques and materials to protect our working dogs. Their products are made with soft materials for the protections of guard dogs, hunting dogs, police and military dogs. Every year I have seen these vests save the life of many dogs from animal attacks and from freezing. I do not let my dogs hunt without a body armor vest. The risk is too great that I would lose one of my best friends while hunting.
There are several types of hunting dogs used in Sweden. Some breeds have been bred up to set and then to chase the game. This dog waits instead of pursuing the game so that the hunter can then shoot the animal. These dogs do not bark a lot around the animal so the animal remains calm and gets used to the dog. They work amazingly!
Then there are hunting dogs that slowly chase the scent trail of the game. They do not interfere much in the search because they are often chasing 1-2 game animals at a time. The shock dogs are the dogs who find the game only to bark and run at full speed for 1-5 minutes so the game gets momentum and runs out to the shooters. There are many other varieties hunting dog in Sweden.
I hope you enjoyed this little look at what it’s like to hunt with dogs in Sweden!