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

Désirée Lantz, determined to follow in the footsteps of her late father, is both an impressive shot and dog handler. Qualified as a Professional Hunter, she managed hunting on an estate in Sweden and now works organising hunting trips.

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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.

Désirée Lantz

Désirée is following in the footsteps of her late father, who was a gunsmith.

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.

TOP TIP: Know your weapon. I worked in a hunting shop for a few years and was surprised by how little people know about weapons and ammunition. For example, how important it is to zero your rifle when you change ammo. You need to be a great shot as you owe the animal a clean, quick death. Practise in different environments and simulate stalking by shooting with a beating heart, run or jump a few times then shoot. Learn to know and control your body and breathing.