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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some folks seemed interested so I'll start a thread on it.

I'm an American hunting in Germany so some of my opinions may seem a bit skewered for european folks. However, I think you'll see that this should be a fairly ballanced thread (hopefully). Please just remember that what I'm about to write is opinionated and should be observered in the most general terms, no absolutes. One can not truely compare hunting in the 2 countries due to the different sizes and laws governing both. The each state has their on laws which may be similar from state to state yet vary too much to compare the U.S. as a whole against Germany. Whereas Germany does have some minor differences between their states but not nearly as much as the U.S.

There are a lot of advantages hunting in Germany versus the U.S.A. However, it takes a great deal of understanding and an open mind to hunt in Germany. Especially if your someone whose hunted for a long time in the states. If your not too stubborn you'll have a great time here. On my first tour in Germany I was told all kinds of horror stories about how its far too expensive to hunt in Germany and how you can only hunt with a German hunter in the stand with you. I was also told that I could only shoot what this German said I could and that the animals would be pushed towards me. I would never be allowed to stalk or actually hunt game. All of these "stories" were told to me by non-hunting Americans. The truth is far different.

The German attitude towards hunting is completely different than in the states. Hunting is considered an act of conservation, eventhough they do have trophy shows. Hunting is as much a social status sysmbol in Germany as owning a porche is in the states. If you go to a large group hunt, you can expect to see a large number of M.D. doctors, dentists and etc. Whereas in the states your likely to see the infield from a Tallagdaga race :chair: To me it feels like its almost expected for someone whose been successful (relative term) to also be a hunter. Hunting is also a money gag in which I'll go into more detail later. None of this is either right or wrong just different.

Unlike the states, someone hunting in Germany MUST complete a difficult hunting course. In the states you go to almost any store and purchase a deer tag/permit for $25-$40 (at least it was the last time I hunted there) Again it differs from state to state. The hunting course in Germany just allows you to apply for a hunting licence and a permit. All of which can cost (minus the weapons possession card) about $3000. Its different for an American under the SOFA agreement. These forlks may have to pay about $400-$500 and you still haven't gotten a place to hunt. The certificate from the hunting course is good for life. The hunting license can be 1 to 3 years. I seem to rember that you might be able to get them for longer than 3 years but I may be wrong. I get a 3 year one.

You now have a licence. You now have to find some place to hunt and get permission/permit. Here is where it normally trips Armericans up. If you own land in Germany it doesn't always mean you have the hunting rights to that land. If you own a large piece of land you may request that this land be designated as an independent hunting zone and then you may hunt on your land. It is considered "special" if someone tells you they hunt on their land for this reason. German forests are immaculate. They are managed extremely well. Sometimes it appears like they are growing trees on golf courses lol. The foresters are responsible for not only the trees but the wildlife in the forests as well. The land is zoned out between different forest regions. Each region has a harvest plan for the game in their region. The harvest plan assigns a minimum number of animals by breed and sex you need to kill. It also outlines the animals you may kill without further charges. If you kill an animal outside the allowed plan you can expext to pay for it. Its not considered a fine but a conservation/trophy fee. The forest office leases out the hunting rights to folks like me and assigns a part of that harvest plan based on a census and the size of that hunting area. Another method is the hunting rights to large plots of land are sold to a hunter. This is refered to as a "private zone". This is normally done every 9 years and costs thousands of euros. That person may either hunt all of this land themselves or hire out guys like me to hunt for them. This person also assumes ALL responsibilities for the game in the area. That means they have to pay for any damage wildlife does to people's property and insure the herds are culled to prevent starvation and dieses. IF there is an exceptionally rough winter, they also must provide feed for the game. If you lease a hunting area from a state forester, you can expect to pay about $700 for a hunting year. You do not get to keep the meat. You may only get to keep any trophies. Wild game is expensive here. As a hunter you generally get first dibs on the meat at a reduced price. Again thast something thats worked out between the hunting rights owner and you. They used to return half of this money if you met your assigned harvest plan. That isn't true anymore. A private rights owner may do the same as a state forester but normally some kind of deal is reached. The private folks sell the meat to overcome expenses for having the area. So Germans really do hunt for meat cause you can't eat horns. The Germans also do organized drive hunts. Basicly a group of hunters place themself in the woods while people with dogs get the game moving. These are a blast that normally ends at a gasthouse over bier and schnaps.

Now comes the good part. Most states in the U.S. has about a 4-6 week hunting window with a limit thats normally 2 deer. I understand some have more but thats about average. In addition most areas will have 2-3 types of game you are allowed to hunt (not counting varmints). Germans have a hunting year with multiple and long hunting seasons. You can also expect to see several types of game as well. For example, Roe buck starts 1 May and ends 15 OCT. I've never had anyone to tell me to stop shooting them. I know guys that have harvested more than 15 Roe bucks in a season plus other game. The Roe doe season is 1 SEP to 15 JAN. I can expect to hunt wild Russian boars, Red Stag, ducks, foxes, and perhaps a rare Sika. Just a few hours west I may see Muffle, and Follow deer in addition to the others I mentioned. I go to the alps (2-2 1/2 hours away) and hunt Chamois (Gams) as well. Each having seasons that can last for several months or all year long. I think my first year I harvested 8 roe deer, 1 Russian boar, and 5 female red deer. I've taken a Muffle and waved at several chamois :salute: I've seen several chamois but on ever instance they were on a cliff without any way to retrieve the animal after I shot. The closest I saw one was 350 meters but I have friends that have scored kills at 100m as well.

Thats probably the jist of it. There is a lot I didn't mention such as trophy cost for hunting in federal forests or taking capital game, etc. However this is getting long and perhaps confusing so I'll close it. I can just say that once you overcome the initial cost and requirement hunting in germany can be far more rewarding than in the states. Yes, some elk or mule deer hunter may disagree but there's nothing wrong with that. Except by the time you win your elk lotto, pay your guide and hunting fees and take (hopefully) that 1 shot I've probably taken 3 animals.
 

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You seem to be a very active or at least successful hunter. :salute:

How do you feel about the "traditional" aspects of hunting in germany? By this i mean the reputation of semi-automatic rifles, clothing-codex, the handling of young hunters, the signals, the term "waidmännisch" etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I have good and bad years. This year was horrible for me, 1 perfect 6er. I ripped up my shoulder working on my house and couldn't even shake someone's hand much less shoot.

We Americans don't really have any traditions or customs in reguards to hunting. At least not any close to the Germans. The branch signs and horn signals are practical and the Streckelegen ceremony (display of game taken after a drive hunt) is cool. Sometimes the horns seem a bit too much but I understand its a sign of respect and enjoy it as much as possible. Clothing is something else though lol.

I don't wish to criticize or sterotype but how the average German dresses for a hunt is typical of all aspects of German life. I don't mean this in a bad way. Germans, in gereral, don't do anything half way. They either go all out or they don't do it at all. An example; an American will show up on a tennis court in flip flops, shorts hanging to his knees, a "wife beater" t-shirt, sun glasses and carrying a beer. A german will show up with all the proper gear and clothing reguardless the cost. Germans take things more seriously including clothing than an American. An American hunter will show up for hunts camoflagued whereas you know a German where traditional, usually all loden green clothes. I wore a Bundeswehr kombi (coveralls) to my first big drive hunt and I could feel the eyes on me. It could have been due to the Steyr Scout but I think it was my clothes. I used to hunt for a German state forester whom loved American hunters. He once told me he liked us cause we don't "play around". He said he would tell an American, "I need 3 Reh and he brings back 5 Reh and a pigs reguardless of the weather. Germans worry too much about clothing, weather and playing horns". I dont know how true that is but I have seen them with umbrellas in the woods.

Semi-autos are a two edge sword. I understand the reasons Germans generally are against them, especially for drive hunts. There are too many people (reguardless of nationality) that are indiscrimality firing into packs of animals even with bolt action rifles. Yet I feel that every hunter should be given the benefit of the doubt, especially since passing a challanging hunting course, and allowed to use a weapon that is appropiate for the game (bolt action or semi). You know as well as I do that if you have an idiot out there doing dumb things during a drive hunt, word will very quickly get around and that will be the last drive hunt they will get invited too.

Young hunters should be mentored. Gernerally Americans that hunt grow up in an enviroment where firearms and hunting is passed down at an early age. I'll bet the average age for American's first hunt (means actually shooting at an animal) is about 14 years old. I fired my fire rifle at 4 years old; dad holdintg a 10/22 for me. I was shocked when a German federal forester asked me to take a "young hunter" with me to a stand and he was about 10 years older then me. Germans have to mentor hunters in a different way than Americans due to our different historys.

You'd be surprised at how many German terms we Americans use while we're together. Every American hunter I know in Germany uses german words for all things that are connected to Germany. We don't say Roe deer, we all call them Reh. When we are together its half german and half english and we do it unconsciously. We were taught the name of things and procedures in german and that is how we comunicate even to another American.

My favorite German tradition is the Schusseltreiben. We Americans try to have something similar but it doesn't come close. We have the dissadvantage in the U.S.A. of not having German bier.

I really enjoy huntng in Germany but I do miss the freedom of wepaons ownership and locations to hunt. However, I'll trade that for a good Hefe Weisen oder Zoigl!
 

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Funny, my wife and I were looking at maps of Germany this morning, and I was showing her spots where I went nature hiking when I was a young teenager on a trip with my Mom and Dad to Germany in November. I do remember seeing a lot of game. I saw roebuck deer and a harem of Red deer with a really nice stag from across a knoll. I also jumped a wild boar and I saw a pair of very large red foxes. Their bunnys are pretty good sized, European hare I believe. From what I could tell, most of the hunting was from towers, built of logs and poles. They could easily fit four people and they were three stories tall. I can't remember exactly where we went, but I do remember Heidelberg, Cologne the Rhine and Rhone rivers, and the Lorelei. Most of the forests were of planted pine. We came across a field where some folks were hunting with dachshunds. Everybody was dressed in green loden wool. Mom and Dad went to all the castles while I went on these long hikes. Most people I ran into could speak english very well, and they did so with a British accent. Everybody was friendly and I was treated very well. I went on my nature hikes every chance I could, and I don't regret anything except for not taking a camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah we joke about the hares being jack-o-lopes lol. I've never seem such big hares. I see a mixed bag of German hunters that can or can not speak German. In this area none of them can (or choose not to) speak German. They only speak Bavarian. A German will get that joke lol.

Your correct about the hunting stands. Some get quite huge. I've even seen a few with a bed in them. I personally don't like them cause its hard to hear whats going on around you. Sometime the owner builds the windows too small to effectively observe or fire from. I prefer the open high seats. I get rained and snowed on but thats called hunting.
 

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I have never hunted in Germany, although I have been there (West Germany). It seems the U.S. could certainly learn much from our German friends, particularly as it relates to conservation and hunter education/training. Perhaps one day I may have the pleasure of hunting there.

Waidmanns Heil,

do you have any idea if the traditions/conservation/hunter education is similar in Austria?


Bittrich
 
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