After having had the thought of doing the hunting license in my head for quite a while, a friend of mine connected me with several of his companions who, autonomously, told him that they would want to do this as well. As a group we quickly settled on Jagdschule “Jägerhof Wendland”, which was in the middle of Hamburg and Berlin, the places we would be coming from.
The Jagdschule is located in Trebel, a small village near Gorleben (you know – the place where we currently store some atomar stuff). It is run by Claudia, a great and fun person that welcomes every student individually. She has assembled an awesome team there and her husband makes sure that we had delicious meals every day.
After 4 consecutive weekends driving to the Jagdschule saturday morning at 5am and coming back exhausted but happy sunday night, we had our final week there with lots of training and a final bootcamp day at the end.
My initial group was composed of 5 others (of whom one unfortunately had to drop out after the second weekend). We got along great and still stay in touch, discussing a multitude of topics (hallelujah whatsapp!). For the final week we were merged with a three week intensive course.
The hunting license is composed of several parts.
First, one has to recognize several signals that are blown on hunting horns.
Second, there are five different subjects. Knowledge is required regarding game and other animals, weapons and snares, nature conservation, how to handle hunted game, possible diseases, dogs, hunting traditions as well as hunting- and weapon laws. Said knowledge is tested in a written as well as a verbal test whereas especially the knowledge about game and weapons is viewed as essential.
Third, the student’s shooting ability is tested in three categories. They have to be able to shoot 5 out of 15 clay pigeons at the skeet stand, deadly hit a running boar (or better: a poster of one mounted to a wooden plate) 2 out of 5 times at a distance of 50 meters as well as make at least 25 out of 50 possible points shooting at deer from 100 meters.
Our teachers all had a long hunting history themselves and were therefore able not only to teach their respective topics but also bring us closer to what they called the “hunting spirit” – a mindset that they deem extremely important for any hunter.
Overall, this time was a combination of hard learning (there are more than 2.000 questions for the written test so it is not sufficient to have a general understanding of a topic).
Our Exam started with the hunting signals, a test that was easily passed. We then continued to the shooting test, something I was rather self-assured in as I had really good training results. Today however, nothing seemed to be working out. In the first round I didn’t hit a single cray pigeon. I continued on to the boar, where I needed three shots and the two that hit were nowhere close a good mark (usually 4 out of 5 hits and very accurately in the middle). Shooting the deer I hit 27 points, a new all time low (again I hit 42-47 during training). Then I was allowed a second round of skeet, together with two other friends from my course. While one of the other two managed to hit the required goal, I shot a single lonely pigeon and therefore failed this part of the exam. Afterwards, we had a long break in which I was fortunately able to control the anger and frustration I had inside myself. In the afternoon, we had the written exam on the five topics and afterwards went home, had a couple of beers and then went to bed for day two in which we were tested verbally. The verbal test was taken together with another hunting school and as only five people were tested at the same time, this took its time. When not tested, we were to wait outside and not speak to those who were already finished. After several hours (I was already quite frozen – remember: this was end of February) it was finaly my turn. I started of with the subject I had least prepared for: Nature conversation where I was asked to identify several pieces of wood, some leaves as well as seeds and then I was asked basic biological processes. To my shame I must admit that I failed badly at this, trying to play for time did also not do the trick in this case. Afterwards, I continued to dogs, hunting traditions and possible diseases. This was a topic I was rather fond of and except for some initial problems with diseases passed rather well. Then it was onward to the legal questions, also a topic that I found manageable. My second to last topic was game and other wild animals, something I was rather afraid as it is near to impossible to remember all the facts about every single animal that might be a topic of discussion. My examinant was a very nice guy and except for a few minor mental blackouts and one incredibly lucky shot (I randomly guessed that the bird in front of me was a jaybird) it went well. Lastly, I had the test that we trained over and over again at the Jagdschule. It was weapon handling in which a weapon has to be loaded, a situation is presented to which one has to react properly and then unload and safely return the weapon as well as answer some questions regarding weapons and ammunition.
After that, I met with the chairman of the examination committee and he told me that I had passed the combination of the written & the verbal test.
After some official part, we went home to the Jagdschule Wendland, not without first stopping at the supermarket and getting a little liquor to celebrate the (on my behalf partly) success.
Summarizing, I had a great time, made some new friends and learned a ton of interesting things in a field I have strongly neglected in school (i almost flunked in 11th grade because of biology and made sure to get rid of it afterwards). Nevertheless, I will have to return for a second time to repeat my shooting test.