The Field

A winter’s white-tail

Easternmost of the Nordic nations, Finland is celebrated for its thousands of lakes and forests that stretch to the horizon and beyond. It is home to Sibelius, the sauna, Santa Claus and Norwich City’s star striker Teemu Pukki. It is also home to Europe’s biggest population of white-tailed deer.

Native to the Americas, five white-tails were brought from Minnesota to the old country in 1934 by a group of Finnish-American hunters and placed on an estate in south-west Finland. They thrived, and soon escaped into the wild. By 1945, there were 50; by 1961, more than 1,000; today, they are a well-established sporting quarry across the whole of southern Finland, with around 25,000 being shot each year.

Never having hunted white-tails before, I was naturally interested when my Finnish friend, Petri Niemi, suggested that he might organise a trip. Niemi is an experienced hunter with whom I have shot large game in Spain, Hungary and Croatia. He was a guest on a couple of pheasant days I arranged last season, so this was his chance to repay hospitality and he did

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