Ducks on Claestorp Estate in Sweden
In fact, the whole shooting party that
weekend was comprised of several Counts, Princes and Viscounts
from several European countries. Curiosity compelled me to ask
how they had formed such a diverse syndicate. The answer was simply,
they all had known each other from school and college.
Traditional European clothing was the dress of the day, tweeds, breeks, and,
of course, collar and tie. I did not see one piece of camouflage during the two
days of duck shooting! After a safety briefing, the Guns boarded the shooting
breaks and we traveled to the first drive.
I need to explain how Swedish duck shooting differs from any I have previously
The estate benefits from several natural lakes and these have been supplemented
by digging and damming many more. This has been done in such an authentic manner
that, unless told, one would never know the additional lakes were man-made. Each
lake is several acres in size, with many even larger. They have been developed
and cultivated to offer outstanding habitat for duck and other species of wild
fowl. At the end of each lake is a half to a full acre of rough cover, consisting
of rush, reed and coarse grasses, that is referred to as “the sanctuary”.
The Claestorp Estate is on one of the finest
migratory wildfowl flight paths in Europe. But to encourage and supplement the
migratory birds, over 10,000 ducks
are bred annually and liberated here. The ducks are first hatched from egg
by incubator, than they are released into flight pens backed onto protected lakes
with many islands of sanctuary.
Here the young ducks are encouraged to quickly
find both their water and flight wings.
not be aware of the fact that this year the Red Grouse population
in Scotland was decimated by extremely wet weather during the hatch,
followed by an infestation of worm parasites. Many estates were down
80% on their Grouse population and only a few had any shooting at
all - then only for one or two days with small bags.
I had planned to film Driven Grouse for the “Wing Shooting the World” series,
had booked the crew and camera time, and suddenly had nothing to shoot! Too
early for Partridge and no Grouse, left me in a dilemma. I made
a last ditch effort
to save the trip when I attended the CLA Game Fair in July - I visited each
and every game keeper, estate manger, land owner, sporting agent
and syndicate I
knew, all to no avail.
During The Fair, I was invited to lunch with the Famars family, along with several
of their dealers from around the world. While bemoaning my angst at losing a
filming opportunity (I must have been riveting company!), Staffan Schullstrom,
the Swedish dealer for Famars and CEO of Gyttorp Cartridge Company, spoke up.
He said that, in addition to owning one of the finest shooting grounds in Sweden,
he also operated a sporting agency and had a client shooting ducks on the dates
I needed! A short call by cell phone (a modern wonder of the world) and all was
I have been fortunate enough to have shot Ducks in several countries – called
Ducks in Argentina, decoyed in Mississippi, flighted in Scotland
and driven in both Hungary and England. All have been very special
experiences, each having its own special flavor and uniquely memorable
as you read on, you will begin to understand what an eye-opening
experience my first
visit to Sweden became. It was truly some of the very best wing
shooting I have participated in, in the world. Swedish Ducks,
Arriving in Stockholm, Sweden, often called the Venice of the
North, was worth the trip in its own right. It is a beautiful
by water, packed
with history, stunning architecture and color. We were met by Hans Morner,
partner, then traveled an hour and a half to Katrineholm, just northwest
The immaculate, litter-free roads and great signage
allowed even me with my dyslexic
map skills to follow where we were.
went straight to Claestorp Castle, a delightful and incredible
home, packed to the rafters
with history, to meet our hosts, Jan and Celia Lewenhaupt, or
should I say Count Lewenhaupt.
Lewenhaupt family has resided on the Claestorp Estate since 1446
and in the “New” Castle since July 4th, 1776.