Driven masterclass

Many readers know Jens Kjaer Knudsen for his appearances in a number of the famous Hunters Video films, including Wild Boar Fever. Jens, who hunts for a living, has shot hundreds of wild boar – many of these on driven hunts in different European countries. He has hunted lots of other species on driven hunts, but for him, nothing matches the excitement of a running wild boar. The biggest keiler he ever shot was in Romania – a keiler with body weight around 300kg and tusks measuring 24cm.

As seen in Wild Boar Fever 7, Jens has also hunted driven boar in France – an entirely different experience. With all that under his belt, Jens should be the right person to ask: when it comes to driven boar, what do you need to succeed? I asked him the big questions on equipment, tactics and technique…

Silence vs action

Safety first: Be aware of dogs appearing right after running boar

To begin, let’s talk about driven boar as a whole. What is it that makes this form of hunting special? What is advisable and what is not? “One of the things I love about this kind of hunting is the contrast between silent waiting and explosive action,” says Jens. “It is a kind of hunting where you have to concentrate fully at all times and be ready to shoot within seconds of any moment.” Another thing he likes about wild boar is the tactics of the animal itself. Wild boar are extremely unpredictable and can appear any minute throughout a drive. Boar are not like red deer, which typically move in one direction and disappear out of the drive early on, or roe deer, which run around in more or less the same kind of circle, making their appearances predictable. “The sow fells her way through the area trying to secure the youngsters. Überlaufers separated from the group might show at any time – and the clever keiler might come sneaking in at the last second. You never know what a keiler will do. He can move forward like thunder, sneak out the back of the drive, or something else entirely.” How do you compensate for this? “The driven hunt is a kind of hunting in which your success will rise in line with how much you practise and how familiar you are with your gear. In other words, you can influence your own success. The more you prepare, the luckier you get.”

Bullets and sights

Split second: Driven wild boar really challenges your instinctive shooting

Let’s get on to the selection of calibre and hunting accessories.

“Wild boar are extremely resilient, which is why the correct calibre and bullet type are vital. I use three different calibres for driven boar: .270, .300 Win Mag and .30-06. There are other calibres that can do just as good a job, but those are the ones I go for.”

It all depends on the area you’re in. When in Romania, Jens tends to hunt in areas where bears are present. In this kind of area, he likes to use .300 Win Mag, but if no bears are around, his first choice is the .270. He explains why: “.270 is a fast, energetic calibre that normally makes a boar roll on the spot. You just have to hit the vitals in the front third of the pig, and it has to be running. The best place to put the bullet is where the body and neck meets.”

When it comes to ballistic preference, Jens goes for semi-hard bullets. “It is important that the bullet is hard enough to penetrate the tough skin, fat, muscles and heavy bones, but still expand inside the chest to make the boar go down instantly,” he explains. Jens highlights Hornady InterLock in particular, a bullet that has brought him lot of success.

Optics-wise, Jens prefers a red-dot sight without magnification. This allows instinctive shots with both eyes open. In adrenalin-fuelled hunting moments, keeping a full view of as much terrain as possible confers a large advantage. “It is very important that the optics are of high quality and without parallax – you need the red dot to be exactly at the spot where the bullet will hit, no matter if you didn’t shoulder it 100 per cent correctly in the heat of the moment. Using the Aimpoint Micro H-2, I have shot many pigs. I am very satisfied with it.”

What rifle?

Shooting a big keiler on the run is the best. But rolling smaller pigs over – sometimes more than one in the same drive – is really just as good

Jens has hunted wild boar with both straightpull and Mauser rifle systems. He practises shooting in many forms all year round. “To prepare for driven hunts, of course I practise shooting for moving targets with my rifle and the Aimpoint sight,” he says. “I do this on the range, in shooting cinemas and as dry fire practice without ammo. To advance my skills, I practise with my bow too, as it seems to improve shooting free-standing in general. In addition, I see clay pigeon shooting – especially on crossing clays – as good training for shooting moving targets with the rifle.”

He points out that his practice gets more intensive just before a season. Furthermore, he notes that an adjustable stock is preferable, as it is important that the rifle falls into the shoulder and cheek the same way every time. Mounting is a skill you can practise in your living room, and you’d be wise to do so.

What about rifle specifications? “I prefer a 19mm muzzle diameter, whose balance and heaviness helps me with a steady swing. Plus, I use a moderator or muzzle brake to reduce recoil, which again makes it possible to see what happens in the moment of shooting as well as staying on the target, getting ready for shot number two if necessary,” he says.

It is also important that you know the trigger on your rifle and make sure the weight suits you. “I prefer a trigger weight of 900-1000 grams, and make sure all my rifles have same adjustment. If the weather is cold and I need to wear gloves, I’ll increase the trigger weight slightly, to 1250 grams. This is why all my driven hunting rifles have triggers adjustable for weight.”

Layer on layer

Jens put all his know-how into practice to take this keiler cleanly

“Driven wild boar hunting often takes place at the coldest times of year. If I start to freeze on the peg, I won’t be fully concentrating on the hunt. Therefore, I am very attentive to the way I dress. “I bring a backpack so I can sit down if I need to. Normally I’ll stay standing, though, if it is not too long a drive. In the backpack, I keep an extra layer or two. I recommend dressing in layers for physical hunts, but for a hunt where you’re standing in the same spot all the time, that’s not necessarily the case. Nevertheless, it’s so important to be comfortable that dressing in layers isn’t a bad idea. I have warm underwear, then normal hunting clothes, warm boots, down jacket (the Härkila Explorer is one good option) and a shell jacket in case you get heavy rain. On my head, I wear a cap or hat depending on the temperature of the day. If I am in a high seat, I always bring a mat to sit on, so the cold won’t infiltrate my body from the rear end!”

Jens points out that warm hands and fingers are essential – but any gloves you wear need to be ones you can shoot with, and with which you have practised shooting. Alternatively, you can rest your shooting hand in a warm pocket.

Things to avoid

Whatever you do, don’t end up cold, tired or inattentive. “A driven hunt would not normally demand high physical skills – but it is a good idea to stay fit, as it helps you keep concentration longer and be relaxed even if you have to stand still for hours before something happens.”

Jens makes it clear that driven hunt is not a walk in the park. If you want to improve your chances and make it as good as possible, you need to practice a lot, choose the right equipment, and keep your physical well-being in mind. The keiler that comes your way might be the last one out of the drive, and no matter how tired you are, he will come fast and he will be tough to kill.

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