By Liana Jacob
MEET THE dad who teaches his four kids UNDER SEVEN-YEARS-OLD to hunt with RIFLES – insisting it teaches them to ‘RESPECT’ nature.
Photographer, entrepreneur and business owner, Niklas Lundqvist (39) from Soderhamn, Sweden, was first introduced to the world of hunting in 2013 by his wife, Anna-Maria’s father.
His curiosity grew and he decided to give it a go. Once he did, he fell in love with hunting and nature. With a young daughter at the time, Signe (7), he was inspired to bring her up to appreciate the outdoors and what nature has to offer.
He now has three more children; Herman (5), Elsie (3) and Nils-Elmer (1), who accompany him on day trips to the woods where he teaches them to hunt with toy rifles, hoping that in the future they will follow in his footsteps.
He has since set up a business creating handmade toy rifles for children to encourage kids to embrace the outdoors and nature.
A typical hunting day consists of taking his kids out to play in the woods, making a fire, hiking to seek out wildlife animals or any fresh tracks on the ground. He prepares them for the real world of hunting by teaching them how to be really quiet and how to move silently.
Niklas is not a supporter of the meat trade industry and doesn’t believe that animals should be cooped up in cages, but rather set free in the wild. He has hunted various animals including roe deer bucks, Swedish moose, foxes and ducks. The Swedish moose he hunts weighs 47st 3Ibs.
Niklas and his family eat all the animals they hunt, and his children help him cook the meat. He hopes that they all become hunters like him in the future to follow family tradition.
“I got an offer from my wife’s father to join the local hunting team back in 2013, I was curious what hunting had to offer so I gave it a try,” Niklas said.
“Now I would say that’s one of my best choices in life. It has really taught me how to calm down and connect to the outdoors in a very special way you don’t get if you don’t hunt.
“What I like about the actual hunting part is the combination of one hundred per cent focus, the stillness and relaxation. You spend most of the time just staring out into nothing, but that is also really cool.
“What happens after a couple of hours is that the wildlife around you start to ignore you, or don’t see you, so you often get a real close connection to nature and start to notice on every little thing going on in your surroundings, it’s really special.
“A typical hunting day with my kids is just a day outdoors in nature where we play. We might make up a fire and eat outdoors, go for a short hike to see if we can find any wild animals or any fresh tracks on the ground.
“We learn how to be really quiet and how to move in silence. One thing that my kids really like is the handmade toy rifles I’ve made for them.
“Those small wooden toy rifles really trigger their fantasy of being on a real hunt and it’s a real joy to see them getting really focussed on their mission to find some big roe buck.
“I have two daughters and two sons, they will probably become hunters all of them, if not they go vegan, I guess.
“None of us in our family like to support the meat industry; no animals should live in cages; animals should live free in nature.
“This standpoint has really become important to me after my first hunt. Hunting gives you a great respect for the life of animals.
“I rifle hunt only and I only fire at animals who are standing still to get the best possible accurate kill. I would say that a perfect shot is the by far best way to die for a mature animal.
“The natural death for a wild animal is a horrible alternative with long time suffering and finally eaten alive by predators.”
Niklas has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback he has received from strangers on Instagram, who have praised his parenting technique and even dubbed him ‘father of the year’.
He feels that he should not be judged for hunting by meat eaters as they are eating the products of his kills.
“As a hunter it takes a lot of time just to learn where to find the animals in their natural habitats; to get close to them you really need to be silent and be sure to approach the animals against the wind direction otherwise they immediately smell you and run away,” he said.
“I upload photos on my Instagram page every week and I get a lot of support. Most of my followers are all hunters themselves, so to them it looks cute, I guess. I often hear that I’m ‘father of the year’ and I get hashtags like #parentingdoneright.
“At this point I have not received any negative comments at all. I thought that my photos of my children with small wooden rifles would upset some vegans but not yet.
“The people that criticise hunting but still are eating meat provided from the meat industry have a great lack of knowledge about animal life, and ethics in general, to me it is very strange to not like the idea that the animal should live in the wild.
“Vegans that criticise hunting are alright, I totally understand their point that they want animals to live. But I want to give my children clean and protein rich steaks.”