Women hunting in Estonia
T&T International, moose hunting in Estonia.
T&T is a group of women who travel together for hunting. The group was established during the autumn of 2015 and so far they have been on three hunting trips and several more are planned. Harpa Hlín Þórðardóttir, the owner of Iceland Outfitters represents the group and organises the trips. Harpa was asked to write a short article describing the recent trip to Estonia.
A year ago, I started a group for women only that we call T&T international. I found there was a group missing for women only, interested in traveling for fishing and hunting. I have planned fishing and hunting tours for the better part of my life and as you can imagine it has been mainly for men. I always wanted to get more women involved as I found it a very big part of maturing as an angler/hunter was to stand on my own two feet and try things myself. I find that women, (I included) do not want to pay a lot of money for their sport. So I decided to use the contacts I have met through the years and plan good, personal but also a low-budget fishing and hunting tours just get women involved.
The first tour we went on, was to Estonia in 2015, last spring we were in Scotland. Then we went again to Estonia in October 2016 and we are already back to Scotland and Estonia in 2017.
I limit the number of women to each tour to a certain number, so I can travel and hunt/fish with the group, instead of just being a host. We just got back from Estonia. The plan was to hunt moose, but it was also possible to hunt red deer, roe deer and wild boar. It is incredibly educational to go on a trip like this and we learnt an awful lot, it is especially interesting for us Icelanders as we are not used to large forests or hunting such large animals. The whole experience for us was indescribable. We had to walk quietly, be wary, listen and search for any signs of the animals and to be prepared at all times. Hunting in the forest is about so many things, including spending time in great company and working together to get an animal. Shooting the animal is not all that matters and that only happens when many things work out the way they are supposed to and often the key factor is co-work.
Usually when the locals go hunting, the game is divided up between all the hunters and then there is a great feast at the end of the day in honour of the hunt, the group and the forest. The hunters are not just the ones using the guns, but all who take part.
There were five of us that went to Estonia this fall, me, Elsa Blöndal, María Anna Clausen, Bára Einarsdóttir og Guðrún Hafberg. We arrived on the Tuesday evening and got settled in at the hunting lodge. On the Wednesday we went to a shooting practice area, where we got to try out the rifles and practised on both shooting and moving targets. It was great to have a bit of a practice and to take a bit of the stress away, we then went for a bit of quality time and then off hunting.
The hunting consisted of…
- Stalking: Which is searching for game, both walking and by car. This usually requires a lot of walking and being as quiet as possible.
- Tower hunting: Which is sitting up in the tower with a view over the area where the game will appear during the twilight time.
- Calling: Calling the game, similar to what we do with geese here in Iceland. We place ourselves in a likely spot and call the game.
- Driven hunt: We spread out at the edge of the forest while others go in with dogs and flush out the game in our direction.
We had a great time and did really well. We saw lots of game, met a great group of people and ate good food, what more could you wish for? Our T&T group got 4 moose and 4 roe deers on our private tour, which consisted of Wednesday evening, all day Thursday and Friday morning. Unusually good hunting and we were so grateful as to how everything went, it was just so smooth.
On the Friday evening we moved into a castle and stayed there for two nights. There, women came from 8 different countries, the majority from Estonia to take part in the Estonia Women´s hunting Day, which was being held for the 7th time there. We got up early on Saturday morning and went on three driven hunts during the day. 50 women got ready at the edge of the forest while beaters went in with the dogs to beat the game out in our direction. There isn´t much time to react in this type of hunting, but of course it´s very important to follow all the safety measures which are in place.
A lot of game came out of the forest, two moose were shot that day and I was lucky to get one of them. I was therefore crowned Hunting Queen 2016 and received all sorts of prizes, one of them being an amazing handcrafted hunting knife crafted by an old Estonian man. In the evening there was a great celebration, traditional music played to traditional dances. What a night!
This trip to Estonia was a really successful trip for T&T International, and we are left with so many great memories of time spent with a fantastic group of people doing amazing things. We leave Estonia with these words...Same time, next year
If there are any women out there who are interested in this sort of trip then please get in touch with Harpa on facebook or through Iceland Outfitters.