In the hunting year 2020/21, the number of hunting license holders in Germany was 403. In comparison: around the turn of the millennium there were just under 420 people who were in possession of a valid hunting license. The number is steadily increasing, with hunting being extremely popular, especially in the north-east of the country.
According to statistics, in 2016/17 every 124th citizen in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had a hunting license. Especially in rural areas, hunters are often an important contact when it comes to native wild animals.
The hunting test
Obtaining a hunting license is associated with high hurdles. First, an extensive test must be taken, in which prospective hunters have to prove their knowledge of game, forestry, agriculture and many other topics in detail. The prospective young hunters also face the critical looks of the trainers and examiners when it comes to weapons and their safe handling (more information on the topic: which weapons a hunter may own here).
The course of the hunting test and preparation is regulated differently in each federal state. Participation in a preparatory course is compulsory in most countries.
But even if such a course is not a prerequisite for admission to the examination, participation is still more than recommended for those interested. Because the nickname “Green Abitur” is no coincidence. Without the right preparation, in theory and practice, failure is often pre-programmed.
More than just a matter of form
Being a hunter means more than just moving through your own territory with a long gun or shooting wild animals from a hide. Because in every Waidmann there is a piece of nature conservationist, forester, veterinarian, dog handler, wildlife biologist and also lawyer. And also topics such as "game hygiene" and the recognition of questionable characteristics are important facts that the hunter must know.
Passing the exam and getting your hunting license is far from enough. Even if the theoretical knowledge is in place, practice separates the wheat from the chaff. The number of young hunters who have successfully passed the test is high. However, it does not appear in the statistics compiled annually by the hunting association because there is no valid hunting license and the hunt can therefore not be practiced.