Désirée Lantz

In­tent on fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of her late fa­ther, this Pro­fes­sional Hunter has trained hard to be both an im­pres­sive shot and dog han­dler

The Field - - Country Estate Sporting Diana -

I’M so di­vided about this huntress term. Of course, any­thing that is pos­i­tive and brings us closer to the equal­ity of the sexes is great. But a nurse is a nurse, if you know what I mean, and I am a hunter.

I grew up in Swe­den and it was nor­mal for my fa­ther, grand­fa­ther and un­cle to take chil­dren out and share their life­style, teach­ing us about na­ture, wildlife, preda­tor con­trol and gamekeeping. I was out hunt­ing with them ev­ery week be­fore I could walk. My mother left when I was one and my fa­ther re­tained cus­tody. When not in kinder­garten or at school I was his shadow while stalk­ing, his car­rier while shoot­ing rab­bits or birds, and picked up the shells at the shoot­ing range. My fa­ther was a gun­smith and worked for Garbi in Spain, so my love for hand­craft, the dark stocks and the beau­ti­ful en­grav­ings came early. Be­fore Christ­mas, aged nine, he let me shoot with his side-by-side 12-bore for the first time us­ing soft am­mu­ni­tion. On New Year’s Day he died, leav­ing me and our Ger­man wire-haired be­hind.

I started gamekeeping col­lege at 15, with the kind sup­port of my un­cle, study­ing for my hunt­ing li­cence so I could walk in my fa­ther’s foot­steps. I bought my first shot­gun and hunt­ing dog, a stub­born Mün­ster­län­der. Twice a week at col­lege we had sched­uled hunts and as much preda­tor con­trol as we wanted be­fore and af­ter class. The school had 800 hectares of land and I shot roe­buck, wild boar, fal­low deer, moose and small game, and went on driven hunts with my un­cle ev­ery week­end. Shoot­ing and hunt­ing be­came my life and I wanted to learn more and be­come a bet­ter shot and dog keeper. At univer­sity I se­cured a place on the board of the univer­sity’s own hunt­ing as­so­ci­a­tion.

I’ve hunted all pos­si­ble species in our vast coun­try and have been track­ing, beat­ing and re­triev­ing with my dogs and shoot­ing at sev­eral big es­tates. I am a fan of the Ger­man wire-haired, you can use it for ev­ery­thing. The lit­tle Ger­man jak­t­ter­rier is also a favourite for driven wild boars and fox hunt­ing. My fam­ily and friends tell me that I have a spe­cial gift for train­ing dogs. I don’t know. For me it feels quite nat­u­ral. The more obe­di­ent my dog, the more free­dom I can give him and the more success we have. I en­joy work­ing with them and their com­pany is far bet­ter than that of most peo­ple.

My fa­ther al­ways said there are three ways to get in­vited: to be a great shot; have good dogs; or a lot of con­tacts. I love shoot­ing and I am a pretty good shot with ri­fle and shot­gun. I started off with my fa­ther’s old Husq­varna .30-06 and now have the priv­i­lege of be­ing spon­sored by Krieghoff, who pro­vide a dou­ble ri­fle for sa­fari and their Sem­prio for driven game. There is noth­ing more beau­ti­ful and el­e­gant on a bird shoot than a side-by-side. But I shoot clays with a Krieghoff K80.

As a woman you al­ways have eyes on you and I used to feel ner­vous. Now, my dogs and shoot­ing speak for them­selves. I feel com­fort­able in my own skin and I know that I have more knowl­edge of na­ture and an­i­mals than most hun­ters my age.

Af­ter univer­sity, I qual­i­fied as a Pro­fes­sional Hunter in Swe­den and South Africa. It never feels like work. I man­aged the hunt­ing on an es­tate in the south of Swe­den, where I put out ducks and pheas­ants. But I love to travel and full-time gamekeeping is not for me. I now work for the hunt­ing trip por­tal Rains­ford Hunt­ing in Den­mark and dur­ing the sea­son spend time in France, help­ing mostly with driven hunts. Some clients come to Swe­den for roe­buck and I may con­tinue or­gan­is­ing hunt­ing trips in Swe­den.

It is im­por­tant to stick to­gether and un­der­stand that hunt­ing is a sen­si­tive sub­ject. We should be kind and hum­ble in our ac­tions with each other but es­pe­cially to­wards peo­ple around us who don’t un­der­stand, know or share our way of life.

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