Erik Aspen Bakke is a Norwegian hunter representing our distributor – Teno Astro – there. Recently, we visited him to shoot the new video of the Pulsar Merger LRF XL50. In between takes, we sat down with him to talk about hunting in Norway, living close to nature, and, of course, thermal vision. Today, we invite you to get a glimpse into Erik’s life through this interview.
Well, I live outside Kristiansund, in the neighboring community called Gjemnes. It is a rather long-stretched county but with only approximately 2.700 inhabitants. It’s countryside and a farming area. I live on an island called Bergsøya.
It is a quiet place, but with easy access to the city of Kristiansund and Molde. At night, it can be completely silent, and you can hear the boats on the fjord and the animals in the woods.
Life is life there as well. Children go to school and kindergarten in the morning, and we are off to work in Kristiansund. The commute and distances to school, kindergarten, and work can be stressful at times, but when home, it is very stress-free. It’s a 10-15 minute drive to the nearest store. When I was young, it was only ferry connected, and you could order groceries that would be delivered once a week. Good for the old folks.
We have strong winds during autumn and winter. Also, a lot of wet weather. There can be lots of snow, but as we are close to the coast, the snow comes and goes all the time. It is very slippery and icy during winter. The summers are not the best either, but we can have some nice and hot weather. Although last summer, we barely hit 20 °C.
Yes. There are a lot of hunters in these areas. It is a tradition and a big hobby in Norway.
Hunting is well-anchored in the Norwegian tradition. Especially in the countryside. There are approximately 30 guns per 100 inhabitants in our country. So, hunting is a big part of the local communities. Mostly all farmlands and forests are part of a ‘hunting ground’, and all landowners are a part of it. Either they hunt themselves, or they are passive but have a say in who is allowed to hunt and how to regulate the area and divide the meat or money.
It all depends on the type of hunt. Mostly, it is morning and night hunts on lower grounds or on fields, either from our hunting tower or lying on the edges of the fields.
On those hunts, I wake up very early, get dressed, get the gun, and drive out, so I am in place before dawn, as the deer tend to move into the forest and up the mountain when daylight hits. On quiet days, like Sundays, they can be on the fields a little longer. I will stay out until it’s complete daylight. Sometimes, I can stay a bit longer just in case there are some young animals wondering about. They are often less cautious.
The same goes for the nighttime. Get in position in good time before twilight starts. The deer often does not come out of the forest until it’s almost dark. And they can stand and wait just out of sight for a long, long time before they go into the fields. So you have to be there well in advance in case they have noticed you when you come. They need a long time of quiet before they dare go into the open. I will leave when I can no longer see. Unless I have a Pulsar device, of course. Then, I can stay a couple of hours more.
When doing sneak hunting in the mountains, I normally go up anywhere between 10 am and 1 pm. I will eat my breakfast, get dressed, and leave when I feel like it. There is no rush, as the deer will stay in the mountains or slopes until it’s getting dark. I will drive to where I normally walk up from and take it slow all the way up to the top. The deer have a tendency to start moving a little bit about around 2-3 pm. So sometimes, I will find a good position and just wait, watch, and listen. Other times, I will sneak around the area where I know they tend to be. I can spend three, four, five hours up there. It’s maybe the hardest hunting, as the deer are very cautious in the mountains because it’s normally very quiet there.
Erik Aspen Bakke
It is hard to choose a favorite device, as there are many factors to consider. But the device I have used most is the Axion 2 XG35. I prefer it because of the size. It fits in all the pockets on my hunting jacket. It is lightweight and easy to pick up and use. I use it to scout while I am hiking during darkness. I do not want to startle any animals when getting into position in the darkness. The Axion covers my needs for a spotter.
With the big quota of red deer we have to hunt every year, thermal vision is a lifesaver to be able to fill the quota. Some hunting grounds simply can’t find or shoot all the deer, as it is very time-consuming, and the quotas are sometimes really big. Four hunters could have up to forty red deer every year. Another factor is that we do not have a lot of time before it is dark almost all day here in this part of Norway. But with thermal, we can actually hunt all the time. I don’t have to worry about daylight and twilight anymore, as I can hunt in all light conditions. That is a big game-changer and helper for hunting teams in Norway.
With small kids in the house, I do not go to many other places to hunt. But earlier, when I did not have small children, I would sometimes go grouse hunting more inland in the mountains. Just to get a change in the hunt and the scenario. You can say grouse hunting is more action-filled than deer hunting, as you normally walk all the time, and the birds will surprise you, so you have to be attentive and ready at all times. It is a really good alternative.
Yes, I will, of course, introduce hunting to my children if they show interest. The youngest ones already know when I am hunting. Not sure if they understand yet, but they will be exposed to it, as it is widespread in the local community. They are 2 and 3 now, but when they learn to be a little more quiet, I will probably bring them together with me.
My oldest has joined me a few times, but he is in his teens and has other interests at the moment. The interest might come back when he is older. Just like me, I had other focuses in my teens, and then it came back when I became older.
Erik Aspen Bakke
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