By Jason Vincent
The journalists at Swedish newspapers are largely known for their non-existent sense of humor, liberalism and inability to understand any culture beyond theirs. They’re the all-business types who love judging others from the seats of their minimalist IKEA thrones. So as you can imagine, the spirit we foster at Field Ethos is both literally and figuratively foreign to them. You see, we’re adventure seeking relics of history who operate without concern for the modern ideologies held by those who attempt to snuff our lifestyles.
So it was no surprise when we were maligned by Swedish media outlets before we even left their country near the conclusion of our boar hunt. A picture on the FE Instagram feed showing Don Trump Jr. with a dead pig and a Blaser rifle above a caption saying he “did the Lord’s work” with “the Lord’s Caliber” (obviously a .300 Winchester Magnum) and a mention that he killed his share of “evil wild boar” was all the ammunition they needed to start their little storm. There was no mention of the perfect composition of my photography or Don’s rugged good looks…but we’re accustomed to not getting compliments. Instead, they focused on the word “evil” and took exception to us calling the animals such.
I found it amusing that their offense to this word, and literary ignorance to it as applied to boar hunting was the very thing that started my quest to hunt driven boar in Europe and what brought me to their country in the first place.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, the story of the greatest boar hunt in history was written. You may have heard of the writer.
In Homer’s Iliad, King Oeneus of Calydon is reprimanded by the goddess Artemis for not making a sacrifice. His punishment? An evil wild boar. A giant one. This long-tusked fire-breathing bastard is sent to wreak havoc on Calydon. He destroys crops. He destroys trees. He destroys any human he meets.
He scares the hell out of everyone … except for the King’s son, Meleager. Meleager decides to assemble a hunting party of the baddest hunters in the land, among them the father of Achilles, the father of Odysseus and a seriously dangerous gal named Atalanta. When the hunting party finally finds the evil boar, a battle with the beast ensues and the hunters get their asses kicked. The boar tries to make a break for the forest when Atalanta flings an arrow that catches him behind the ear. Pissed, but not slowing down, the boar fights on until Meleager spears him dead. The story goes on and is definitely worth reading—whether you’re a Field Ethos man or a Swedish journalistic pussy—but we’ll leave it to you to educate yourself. As for me, I read it in high school … and I’ve been wanting to kill an “evil” boar ever since.
As time ticked on, I killed many pigs in America using all the things—knives, pistols, and rifles of all types. I truly don’t discriminate on the tools used to hunt the species, because in America, just like in the Iliad, feral pigs fuck everything up.
But European boar are a completely different deal. They’re not farm escapees- turned-feral over generations; they’re the always-wild, long-haired monsters of lore.
In Sweden, as in most places in Europe, wild boars were hunted with the use of hounds to drive them through the forest while hunters rained down spears as the beasts sprinted through the trees. Nowadays they now rain down bullets from high-powered rifles. Whatever the method, these beasts had always remained an ocean away from me. Until last year.
In late 2021 a hunting party was organized in Sweden by the Aimpoint company. The list of adventurers may not have been written about by Homer, but it did include former Swedish special forces operators, Don Jr., Mike Schoby, me and the World’s Strongest Man, Magnus Samuelsson. (Seriously, read up on that last guy. He’s a total badass Swede of obvious Viking descent.) Every man answered the call and made the journey.
When we all met in Sweden, our team spent some time sighting in rifles at Aimpoint Headquarters. Don was the only Field Ethos representative without a hangover, so he naturally outperformed Schoby and me, but we felt proficient nonetheless. It was time to head to our castle in the forest so we could get to the business at hand.
We used our downtime the first evening getting to know the team. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and we promised not to shoot any of the hounds or houndsmen during the hunt. When morning came we assembled the hunters, houndsmen and hunt masters. We often joke about safety, but in the field it’s paramount, so we had a chat about our setup and how to avoid accidents on this fast-paced hunt with men and hounds on the ground.
With the rules set, we made our way to stands in the forest, and our hunt commenced at the blowing of an antique horn. Over the course of an hour, we shot running wild boar, fallow deer, red deer and foxes. At the sound of a second trumpet, we were picked up and taken back to the courtyard where counts of our downed game were compiled. We repeated this process three times per day with breaks for meals, coffee, game counting and stories of great shooting.
At dusk, the downed game was placed in a grass courtyard and surrounded by torches for an evening display wherein each species was recognized by a specific song from the horn. We all stood to pay our respect. The hunters then formed a line and walked around the game parade to shake hands with and thank each individual houndsman. It was a cultural display of respect from which Americans should learn.
At our last dinner in Sweden, Don, Schoby and I discussed the possibility of hunting pigs on a similar-style driven hunt in North America. We all agreed it was possible with the right dog training and the ideal location. It was also decided we needed to import the Swedes for our first hunt.
On the way out the door, drunken invitations were made and accepted. I’ve always believed guests should leave while the host is laughing, and that’s exactly what we did.
As our plane flew over Scandinavia, I thought back on the Iliad. Our evil boars were vanquished, and our hunting party of adventurers had survived yet another foray into the forest. A week later when some Swedish reporter called for comment on our “evil boars” social media post, I wouldn’t dignify his attempt to make Field Ethos look bad. I just told him to brush up on his Homer.