Mikko has been hunting since 1999 and started the hobby with small game. Competitive shooting has been part of his hobby since 2004.
“A friend of mine invited me to a shooting range and then to take the hunting examination. I had just completed my military service and was interested in shooting, and after a few hunting trips I really got into this hobby.”
When hunting, Mikko feels free from the hecticness of everyday life and can spend time in nature. In turn, competitive shooting is about challenging yourself and developing as a shooter. Good performances always generate more motivation.
Mikko works in production development at Sako. The five-axled machine tool he operates is used to process different kinds of prototype parts and short runs. He also designs the fastenings for parts and procures the necessary blades and holders.
“In product development, the products can be reviewed from the viewpoint of a hunter and sport shooter, and improvements can be suggested.”
Prototype gunsmith and tester
For Sampo, hunting represents managing and respecting game. As a child he practiced target shooting with an air rifle and his father’s small-bore rifle, which Sampo still uses. The hunting hobby began in 2013 while he was studying to become a gunsmith.
“Each type of hunting has its own thing. Doves mark the start of the hunting season. Being on night watch when shooting ducks gives the opportunity to enjoy nature and see the sunset. Deer hunting comes with rapidly changing conditions and the variety of situations is fascinating.”
The duties of a prototype gunsmith include the making of new rifle models before production manufacturing. When you know how the gun has been designed and manufactured, you can also test it under extreme conditions.
“When developing firearms, you can utilise your own and others’ hobby experiences. In my work, I get to shoot quite a lot, which makes my gun handling more confident and my shooting more accurate.”
Senior Sales Manager, Military and Law Enforcement Business Unit
Marcus’ hunting hobby began after his military service. “I started to hunt elk with my grandfather. I remember how nervous I was about taking my first moose shooting test.”
Soon after, preparing game dishes became part of the diverse hobby. Marcus started to become interested in cooking dishes that would use as much of the animal as possible. The main theme of the hobby is ‘no trophies but food’.
Today, the most pleasant part of hunting is in the early season, when on warm and light nights you can stalk deer on the fields. Forest game-birds hunting is another favourite activity.
For Marcus, hunting efficiently balances out the work at the Military and Law Enforcement Business Unit where he has worked since 2012. The hobby represents relaxation and calmness. Nowadays, Marcus’ 10-year-old-son also participates in deer hunting.
“In my work I get to shoot within long ranges, which means that I am familiar with both rifles and cartridges and can trust them – this gives me confidence when hunting. Moose tests are no longer a source of nervousness.”
Pia’s occupational history has soon lasted for thirty years and she is a Sako employee in the third generation; her father and grandfather both built their careers at Sako.
Pia’s hunting hobby began in 2005 when her colleagues gave her the push to go hunting for moose. The area near Riihimäki is rich with deer, and Pia’s hunting trips are often high-seat or driven hunting in Loppi region.
An annual hunting tradition is a moose hunt that is organized by women and only open to women. The related grand dinner of game dishes crowns the hunting season. Pia also enjoys duck hunting.
Pia names an eight-point deer stag she shot as her most memorable catch. Game is also a great ingredient for many kinds of delicious foods, and according to Pia, her best dish is a venison fillet turned into a pepper steak and covered with cream sauce. She also uses minced game meat in her everyday cooking, which is a practical way of using game daily.
Product Manager, Commercial Rifles
Taneli started hunting when his studies ended and he realized something was missing in his life. Hunting filled that gap and soon became truly a lifestyle.
"When I’m hunting larger game, it’s all about getting food to the table. And when it’s a driven hunt, there’s also the social factor which I like. Varmint hunting is also very important, and I try to do that as much as I can with the dog."
At Sako, Taneli’s co-workers introduced him to other sports shooting disciplines and recently he completed his first IPSC competition with a pistol.
Taneli has two hunting dogs and if he is hunting with them, he finds himself often feeling like he’s not actually after the game.
“At Sako my job is to ensure that our product offering is relevant and up to date now and in the future. I run product development projects together with the designers and gunsmiths from the R&D department. “
“We use what we produce so we want to make the products so good that we are happy and proud to use them. I believe that is the key to success.”
Jere Sipilä has been with Sako for over 7 years. He’s also an aspiring hunter. The spark came from his father, a lifelong hunter, and now every hunt is an opportunity to learn from him. They hunt elk and deer together, and Jere makes sure not a single part of the animal goes to waste but is handled properly and cooked to a delicious dish.
Jere believes the most important qualities for a test shooter and a hunter are the same: a calm mind, common sense and the ability to work well with others. Wandering in nature has always been close to his heart. He thoroughly enjoys the peace and quiet of the forest and can spend days hiking alone, sometimes with his trusty rabbit shotgun, sometimes without it.
Tero works at the tool department and currently produces callipers for gun inspections. The work requires patience, precision and a solid understanding of the product. When a gun is made precisely, the calliper has to be even more precise. No low-quality pieces can get out there, and quality inspection happens every step of the way.
Tero owns a hunting permit and a few guns but doesn’t go hunting – despite the invitations from his colleagues – because it can take up too much time. However, Tero’s no stranger to shooting: he began biathlon training as a kid but had to give it up after an injury. Through Sako, he’s attended a few small shooting competitions. They didn’t go badly. He still holds the record in the 30-shot competition.
Paavo has spent almost two decades at Sako, and his work as a machinist requires patience and meticulous care. You have to have nerves of steel.
In his spare time, Paavo doesn’t want to think about work, he likes to go hunting and fishing. Both are great because you get to spend time in nature. He hunts for ducks and fowl, mainly in autumn. He started as a child, when he went on hunting trips with his father and six brothers. Now, he does it with his usual gang, some of whom are colleagues.
Paavo has also done skeet shooting. In his best years, he fired around 20,000 shots. That’s a great way to improve your aim, and it helps a lot when hunting for fowl.
Raimo started hunting at 15. It brings perspective to work. That way, you get a sense of what hunters need: you know that a good hunting rifle has to be precise and operate reliably.
Just being in nature is the most important part of hunting, whether you go alone or with friends and colleagues. Those things stick to memory: a great moose hunt, a good gang and the stories they inspire. Raimo makes his own meals out of game meat, the internet is full of good recipes. On Sundays, a great fowl roast is served.
Raimo’s favourite thing is grouse hunting in the morning, when there’s a little mist on the marsh.
Markku has spent over two decades at Sako and even more hunting. He started as a minor when he was granted a parallel permit for his father’s shotguns. Nowadays, his focus is on small predators. It’s a liberating way to hunt. You sit alone in the dark in a hut, it’s all quiet and your mind is at rest. It’s also important to promote balance in nature by exterminating non-native predators. Hunting is so much more than getting the quarry, it’s also about taking care of nature, much like berry picking and mushroom gathering.
Your hunting rifle is priority number one. First and foremost, it has to be safe, to you and to nature. Precision and reliability come next. When we’re talking about dangerous big predators, these things are imperative to a hunter’s safety.
Manager of Procurements & Production Planning
Petteri, an experienced hunter, tries to keep his hobby and job separate, but of course there are overlaps. You develop your own opinions about hunting but don’t want to force them upon anyone. The client is always right. However, being able to really listen to the client is a major advantage, and it’s easy to talk to a novice hunter through your own experience. Moreover, getting to know new products brings new ideas because you start to ponder how this would suit your own purposes.
Petteri hunts everything and anything from pigeons to moose, but his favourite is a good fowl hunt. It’s challenging, and you can go at your own pace. Moreover, when you gather more experience, you learn to read the weather, season and conditions and to find the perfect spots. The peace of the forest, the quarry, outdoing yourself – that’s what it’s about.
Eeva thinks that the best thing about Sako is that we really listen to their customers. Properly hearing out the customer story is the way to turn even a disappointed client into a satisfied one. People at Sako are very committed and extremely knowledgeable, you learn a lot from the gunsmiths.
She recently acquired her hunting license and has tagged along on moose and duck hunts. She plans to move onto deer and small predators next. There have been many invitations to join different hunting groups – it feels like people want to encourage women to go hunting. She believes that her new hobby will complement her work, and vice versa.
In Annika’s view, the people make Sako. There’s commitment to common goals.
Annika grew up in a hunting family but doesn’t hunt herself. However, colleagues bring her game from their trips. She cuts up the carcass, grinds the meat and makes the stock. Her aim is to make good use of all the parts of the animal. Her signature dish is deer stock that gets its flavour from the bone marrow. It’s important to learn to respect food and to teach yourself something new – you can even learn how to prepare a duck on YouTube. Organic, local meat is close to her heart: it’s ecological, ethical and promotes road safety. And there are certainly no additives.
Cartridge Product Manager
Jarno has been to hunts since he was 7 and got his first rifle for his 15th birthday. Competitive shooting sports have also played a big part in his life, and Jarno thinks that shooting practice would benefit hunters in many ways. As you get to know both yours and your rifle’s limits, you start to gain confidence in your shot. The more time you spend with your rifle, the more certain you feel in new situations where you might be feeling the nerves.
For Jarno, hiking, hunting and fishing all mean being in nature and focusing on the essentials: making memories with a good group of hunting buddies. He wants to spread the positive message about hunting – that it’s not just about blasting and banging away. Instead, there are ethical rules that you need to stand by. One aspect of respecting nature is preparing the game as good as you can. There’s no point in shooting a moose if you forget the meat in the freezer or ruin it by handling it wrong.
Tiia has hunted for years now. She likes stalking deer and roe and being in nature with her dog. Doing nothing. Away from housework. It’s also nice to hear hunters talk and tell their stories. Many coffee table conversations turn into sharing stories and pictures from hunting trips.
She’s practically spent her Sako years in the packing department but has also helped with assembly and worked at the shooting ranges. Being good at the job is an advantage outside work. When fellow hunters have questions, you can give valuable advice.
Tiia doesn’t use store-bought meat in her cooking, only her own game. She learnt to prepare the meat at a course held by the local hunting club. There’s so much you can do: roasts, sauces and steaks, grilled or smoked… The meat can be easily ruined if you don’t know what you’re doing – you have to be so careful not to overcook it. And remember to season with salt and pepper.
Sales manager for Sako Cartridges
Joija moved from the health and beauty industry to Sako to learn something new. Her family has hunted for a long time, so Sako was the perfect way to combine work and fun. She’s gone hunting with relatives since she was a child and took her first shot at 4 years old (at a tin can, behind the barn). Now, she shares her love for hunting with her husband and their 8 dogs.
Joija’s been vocal about ethical hunting and the extermination of non-native small predators. She thinks that the raccoon dog problem in Finland has broadened the public perspective of what hunting can be: it’s also about preserving balance in nature.
According to her, employees are a part of the development process at Sako. Joija, too, has given ideas for product development. You get a lot of ideas if you use rifles all the time and your perspective to ergonomics is a little different as a woman.
Katri has recently started an addictive new hobby: practical shooting. She might go for her first hunt soon but wants to make sure she’s learnt the ropes first. It’s easier to start at the range. Doing everything right and safely is important, and staying calm and able to focus is the key, both at the range and at her job as a test shooter.
Even though practical shooting is an individual sport, it’s very social – you’re constantly getting and giving advice. It’s the same at Sako. There are experts and successful enthusiasts everywhere, and you get a lot of pro tips and invitations to come try out different sports.
Product Development Manager
Kari shot his first white-tail deer in 1973. The next year, his first moose. And the next, started working at Sako.
For Kari, hunting and work go hand in hand. It’s all about people. On hunting trips, you make new valuable friends and contacts and gain experience. It’s an advantage to know the industry inside out, both the people and the conditions the rifles are used in.
Kari has mainly hunted in Finland, but he’s also gone on hunts in Namibia, Spain and the Baltics. He shot his first bear in Russia – you can find the proof in front of his fireplace. He’s also participated in many other shooting sports before Sako, for example biathlon and target shooting in the European Championships.
Kari loves a good moose hunt, either with or without a dog, in a big group of men who between sessions gather together by the campfire to share stories. There’s a sense of community in hunting, even besides the chase.