Iceland: What’s it like to hunt where the sun never sets?

With active volcanoes, glacial carved fjords and the Northern lights, as well as the opportunity to hunt reindeer, Arctic fox, mink and puffin, is Iceland Europe’s ultimate hunting destination? One Icelandic hunter outlines the incredible hunts that this desolate island nation offers.

Hunting in Iceland is like nowhere else in the world (except perhaps the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland) because we have the midnight sun. 

During the short summer the sun never sets so we are able to hunt at any given time, surrounded by the beautiful landscape no matter where we go. For those of us who hunt the Arctic Fox this is truly amazing.

“During the summer the sun never sets so we can hunt at any given time.”

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That being said, you can always expect to see all four season in the same hour. You might set off in calm and beautiful sunny weather, but then the rain hits you with a harsh wind that quickly becomes a blizzard – that’s Iceland in a nutshell.

We have big public lands where anyone with a hunting licence can hunt depending (of course) on the season for each species. Modern day Icelanders are for the most part 2nd or 3rd generation farmers so most Icelandic hunters will have some relatives or friends who are still farming which gives them opportunities to hunt on private land as well.

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We mainly hunt waterfowl, rock grouse (rock ptarmigan), guillemot, Arctic foxes, mink etc. Our only big game are reindeer and seals and in order to get a reindeer tag you have to apply with the government, enter a lottery pool, then pay for the tag and hire a licensed guide.

“In Iceland we are brought up from an early age to never take Mother Nature lightly.”

The hunting grounds vary incredibly from the mountain peaks and down the steep hills towards the highlands, then to the lowlands into agricultural fields and the harsh shore line which lines the Atlantic ocean. There is pretty much a little bit of everything. Circumstances can be really demanding due to harsh weather and untouched grounds. In Iceland we are brought up from an early age to never take Mother Nature lightly.

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Many people will be aware that Iceland is known for its beautiful nature, active volcanoes, huge glaciers and harsh weather. But, besides from spending time completely free in the nature, what I love most about hunting here is that you can never take anything for granted, you have to always be constantly aware of how the changing circumstances can affect the behaviour of the prey and be ready to react quickly, adapting as you go along.

My favourite hunting conditions are when I´m out with my rifle waiting for the Arctic Fox in the middle of the night during summer when the sun never sets and suddenly everything goes quiet, the sky turns orange, the wind stops blowing, the ocean rumble quiets down and all the birds you are surrounded with seem to make no sounds. It only lasts for a few minutes but it´s truly magical.

If you are not from Iceland, it is still possible to hunt here. A lot of foreigners buy hunting days and there are some who apply in the reindeer lottery. It’s easier if you have a valid license from some European country and Scandinavians should have no problem hunting here.

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