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Capercaillie hides

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Photograph and experience the impressive courtship display of the capercaillie, the shyest of all grouse species. Even though this species is very difficult to get in front of the lens. our lekking site has proven itself year after year. Our hides are spread out over the lekking site, giving plenty of opportunities to photograph the birds in different settings and light directions.   


Photographing capercaillie

The male capercaillie gather at the display area already in the evening. Here they sit in the trees and keep a close eye on the area. If the birds have not spotted any danger, they will start their display between +/- 02:00 and 04:00. The display normally lasts until around 10:00 but can last all the way until 13:00. The females arrive around 05:00 at the display area and gather in the territory of the most dominant male.


You will be brought to your photo hides between 18:00 and 19:00. Here you will spend the night until you get woken up by the males displaying on the ground. The display is for a large part a vocal play. This means that the males are constantly listening to the sounds coming from the surroundings. It is very important that you are quite! Also sudden movements with the camera can scare them off! To limit the amount of sound and movement, all camera gear is set up in the evening already, before the birds arrive. Additionally, we advise you to bring a thick warm sweater for in the hide. Jackets can make too much noise when moving. The hides are waterproof, so there is no need for a waterproof layer. The sweater will do the job perfectly. 


The hides

On the capercaillie lek we work with tents. The birds can change where they display on the lek. Therefor it is important to be able to easily move the hides if needed. The tents have enough space to sleep in and can have up to 3 tripods up at the same time. There are in total 9 openings to photograph from, covering almost the complete 360 degrees. There are no toilets in the hides. You will have to bring a pee bottle with you. For the ladies, we advise to use a "Travel John" urinal. 


Getting to the hides

Depending on the amount of snow, it takes about a 15 minute hike to lek. We have to walk slightly uphill and have to cross a small bog. Rubber boots will come in handy. 


  • Day 1. Pick up at Oslo Gardermoen airport at 14:00. The guide will bring you to your accommodation and will give you a short introduction for the coming days. Dinner is at 17:00 and is included in the price. After dinner you will be brought to the lek where you will spend the night in the hide. 

  • Day 2 & 3. In the early morning you will photograph the capercaillie. After the lekking is done, you will be picked up by the guide. You have to stay in the hide until the guide is on the lek, to make sure that the birds do not become afraid of the hides. Back at the accommodation you eat breakfast, back up your images of the morning, catch some sleep or photograph around the accommodation. There are bird feeders next to the apartments and the Rena River is just a few hundred meters away. Here you can find whooper swans, golden eyes, cranes, goosanders and dippers. Dinner is served at 17:00. After dinner it is time to head out again to the capercaillie lek. 

  • Day 4. You will have the last photo session on the lek. After breakfast you will be brought back to Oslo Gardermoen airport for you flight home. Drop off time is at 14:00.


Fill in the booking form.

Or contact us for inquiries for other dates and other questions.

2024  15 - 30 April (Available)

2024: 1 - 7 May (Available) 

2025: 15 - 30 April (Available)

2025: 1 - 7 May (Available) 

4 days, 3 nights in the hides 

Deset (2 hours north from Oslo airport)

2 - 6 persons

Twin room apartments with own bathroom, kitchen and living room

Guided by Floris Smeets

NOK 13.500,- (2500,- deposit)

Oslo Gardermoen Airport

Price includes

  • Accommodation: Cozy twin room apartments, with own bathroom, kitchen and living room. 

  • Breakfast, lunch and diners.

  • Transport: All local transport, including the pick-up and drop off at Oslo Gardermoen airport. 

  • Tips for photographing on the lek.

  • 3 morning photo sessions in a private hide.

Single rooms: 2100,- NOK extra

Price does not include

  • Flights to and from Oslo Gardermoen airport

  • Alcoholic beverages and snacks

  • Sleeping bag rental. Sleeping bags can be rented for 250,- NOK per 3 days

Photo equipment
The birds display on various distances from the hides. On a full frame body a 300mm, 400mm or 500mm will be the best choice. On a crop body a 200mm would do the job as well. Some birds might come very close (1-2 meter), so an additional shorter lens such as a 70-200mm or a 100-400mm can come in handy.


Additionally you should bring:

  • Tripod 

  • Plenty of memory cards 

  • Plenty of batteries

  • Battery charger

  • Camera bag

  • Pee bottle (for the ladies we advise to use a "Travel John" urinal. 


The temperature around this time of the year can still vary a lot. Bring plenty of layers so you can dress accordingly. On day time it can be somewhere between 0 and +20 degrees Celsius, but at night the temperature will most likely drop below 0 degrees. Expect the temperature to be around -5 degrees Celsius at night. 

To get to the hides, we have to walk for about 15 minutes. Don't dress too warm for during the walk and bring rain clothing. From mid April the snow will start to melt. High rubber boots are an absolute must!


List of clothing:

  • Thin gloves for photographing

  • Warm hat

  • Scarf 

  • Warm thick (woolen) sweater 

  • Rain clothing

  • High rubber boots or snow boots, depending on when in the season you will come


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Guest testimonials

Melvyn (DE)

I have been on a number of Floris's trips over the last few years to photograph Capercaillie and Black Grouse. Floris is a great host who goes out of his way to ensure that I always have the best opportunities to photograph the elusive Capercaillie and feisty Black Grouse. Floris always prioritizes his guests first and foremost and I now consider Floris a good friend rather than just a photography guide. As a bonus, Floris is great cook and always makes sure his guests are well fed.


My highlight of each visit has been to see the Capercaillie and their bizarre lekking rituals. And no trip would be complete without meeting the very charismatic Funky (Floris's dog).

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