“At first I just followed him, bringing my camera since I was to small to carry a rifle, but as I got older I got to carry a rifle alongside him.”
The athletic Swede has outdoor pursuits in her blood. Most members of her family hunt and fish, including her mother who has just started to join the rest of the family in the field. Her boyfriend Nils is also an avid outdoorsman, and Jessica notes the relationship has a few benefits. “One of my favorite kind of hunts is hunting for black grouse in snow-covered landscapes,” she shares. “Jämtland, where Nils comes from, has excellent opportunities to hunt for these beautiful birds!”
Jessica’s skills are not limited to hunting, however, and she also credits her father with her fishing skills. While fly-fishing is a new undertaking, she’s quickly growing within the sport and enjoys the process, noting, “Practice makes perfect! I still have a lot to learn, but that's also what makes it fun.” She always ensures she has a cell phone nearby to capture the moment, adding it’s the one thing she’ll never leave home without.
For such an adventurous soul, Jessica is happiest in the forests of home. “Home is where I belong, therefore I mostly go hunting and fishing where I come from.” There’s one notable exception, however, that will make her leave home. “When it comes to black grouse hunting, then Jämtland is the place to be!” she shares.
Like many of us, hunting has provided many warm memories for Jessica over the years. Her finest is shooting her first red stag. She tells the tale with palpable energy: “My dad, myself and our dog Billan had been stalking stags for the whole day; Billan had done such a great job finding and following the right animals all day long.
Before the darkness came, Billan went away after some animals and moved up a mountain. My dad told me we would make one last try before we had to go home. We heard Billan barking up the mountain and we started to sneak into the forest, managing to find a ground seat where we could hide well.
And there they where. Billan, my stag and a huge one with antlers looking like a wild forest! The bigger one was a bit hidden, so my dad told me to get ready and suddenly my stag was standing 80 metres in front of us. The angle was perfect. I told my dad, ‘I can't do it,’ and he said, ‘Of course you can, pull the trigger.’ And I did.
There was a short moment of silence and then animals ran away, Billan barking after them. Had I missed? No. We found blood but no animal and Billan was nowhere to be seen. But then—finally—we found the stag lying there in the snow. What a stunning, beautiful animal! Oh, was I happy! Billan was running after the other animal and we had to go back later that night to catch her. Yes, that was one of the best days of my life!”
The young huntress finds adventure wherever she goes, and the coming years will only bring more hours in the field. She has a few goals lined out, including connecting with an Atlantic salmon. After hooking into a salmon two years ago but not landing the fish, she’s keen to repeat the experience. “Ever since that day I'm hooked. So a beautiful salmon straight from the sea is definitely on my list!”
For the day-to-day, though, she’s content to see what comes around the bend. “I really haven’t planned that much,” Jessica reflects. “I take things as they come.” With a passion for outdoor sport, there is no doubt a bright future awaits this young, ebullient Swedish huntress.
There is no doubt a bright future awaits this young, ebullient Swedish huntress.