The Ilola forest ranger farm is part of a story about illegal elk hunting and being caught for it red-handed. A group of men from Alvajärvi arrived in Lestijärvi in late winter 1911 to hunt elks, which had become rare in their home locality. They caught an elk, but the shots were heard and a forest ranger with his helpers started to chase the poachers. After skiing about ten kilometres, the pursuers ended up where the hunters were slaughtering the elk. Otto, the shooter of the elk, happened to come to the same venue with his dog and was caught as well. Otto’s mittens, on which his sister had stitched his name, had been left at the site of the slaughtering and proved that Otto was one of the poachers. The elk meat was brought to the Ilola forest ranger farm and seized from there by the police on the following morning (Parkkonen 2012).


According to the court record, the story also included a rather dangerous situation. When the hunters were caught, they had been hiding behind a rock and aiming their rifles at the pursuers. “As the forest ranger came some 50 metres from the rock, one of the men shot at him. The bullet hit a tree branch near the ranger’s head, so that small leaves and twigs flew against his face.” However, the forest ranger walked to the rock and disarmed the men (Parkkonen 2012).


Otto and his accomplices finally received a fine of 50 marks, which was also influenced by the fact that they did not appear for the winter court session in Kannus. In the following winter, they served ten days in the county prison of Vaasa to avoid paying the fine. Based on one interpretation, the punishment was so small because Emperor Nicholas II pardoned all petty criminals in Russia owing to the 300-year reign of the Romanov family. The story goes further that Otto disposed of his weapon after this experience (Parkkonen 2012).