“The first strike is to anoint you as a hunter. May the second strike give you the strength to always conduct the hunt righteously. The third strike binds you to never break the hunter’s code of honor.”
-The German Hunter’s Creed
Seventeen U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden personnel, along with 20 German nationals, were welcomed into the German hunting community as Jungjaegers (young hunters) during a traditional German ceremony known as a Jaegerschlag June 2 at Hockenberger (**Muehle) near Bierstadt. The ceremony is a time-honored tradition in which Jungjaegers are read the German hunting oath and formally knighted as hunters. Jaegers are charged with stewardship of the environment around them, managing game with strict conservation principals in mind to ensure the species thrive for future generations to enjoy. Once knighted, Jungjaegers are presented with a sprig from a tree called a “Schuetzenbruch” to put in their hat, marking their first success as hunters. The ceremony was followed by dinner and fellowship between new and seasoned Jaegers and their guests.
This Jaegerschlag marks the graduation of the German Hunting Course, which is offered in English by Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation and taught by volunteers from the Wiesbaden Hunting, Fishing, and Sport Shooting Program. Over the last ten weeks, students have spent more than 100 hours in classes, in the field and on ranges learning about a myriad of topics including German hunting history, tradition, wildlife biology, firearms familiarization and hunting safety. In addition to academics, students were required to spend hours at the shooting range each week, honing their skills in four shooting disciplines in preparation for the final day of exams.
For most Jungjaeger, this is just the first step in the learning process. Once a hunter has a Jagdschein (hunting license) he or she is free to be fully immersed in the German hunting culture and heritage dating back over a thousand years. This culture is bound by tradition, which can be witnessed during rituals in the field and heard in the calls of the horn, each with its own meaning. Being a part of the tight-knit German hunting community means American Jungjaegers are afforded a unique opportunity to develop relationships with our host-nation counterparts, and experience Germany as few do. New hunters have ample opportunities to pursue their quarry as current members of the community often take new hunters under their wings to show them the ropes as they pursue their passion in Germany.
To all the new hunters, congratulations and Waidmannsheil! (Good Luck to the Hunter!)
The next German Hunting Course will begin on Aug. 1. For more information or to sign up, contact Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation.