WIESBADEN, Germany - It was the night for hunters. Several German JAfA$ger in personalized hunting attire mingled in and around Kloster Eberbach Nov. 7 in celebration of their holiest of days - the celebration of Saint Hubertus, patron saint of hunters. Some sipped on mulled wine, others swapped hunting stories.
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The German Rheingau hunting club had decided this year to combine Saint Hubertus with another sacred hunting tradition - the JAfA$gerschlag knighting ceremony, when new hunters join the ranks. Standing among the newest German hunters for the first time were eight Americans.
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Michael Boehme, program manager for the Hunting, Fishing and Sports Shooting Program at the Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation Center, worked with the Rheingau hunting club to include his newest graduates in the hunting celebration. The ceremony began with traditional horn music by Jagdhorn players. Each JungjAfA$ger then stepped forward as his or her name was called, where they were knighted and given a certificate.
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The American hunters began their journey with an extensive 10-week course designed to teach 55 class hours of instruction to German standards. Safety is woven into every fabric of the course.
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"It's comprehensive," said Boehme, explaining that it is so comprehensive it takes some German hunters nearly a year to get through it. "It's a lot to know. That's a lot in 10 weeks."
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Extensive course
Michell Carvan, one of the eight knighted at the ceremony, said she was initially surprised with the amount of instruction they received.
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"America has nothing on this course," Carvan said. "When I took this course in the States, it was only two days."
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Lori King, a graduate of the spring course who attended the graduation ceremony to show support to her fellow hunters, said she had some understanding of the course before going into it.
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"The course is a lot about the animals and the culture, which is right up my alley," said King, who has a bachelor's degree in animal science.
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The culmination of the 10-week course is a six-part examination on everything from biology and environmental laws to the use of hunting equipment and dogs. Spread throughout the entire course is time devoted to weapon marksmanship. Boehme said this is because a clean, swift kill is also important in Germany.
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"You have to know what's expected; how the Germans do things. You also have to know enough German to read signs and follow signals from the German hunters - they kind of have their own language," Boehme said. "You can't really hunt with the right rifle or caliber of bullet it if you don't know what you're hunting, and you can't get out there to hunt if you don't know the rules."
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Boehme said the course is only the beginning for the new hunters: "The real course begins after you graduate. That's when you have to get out there and be and know and do."
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For more information on hunting and fishing opportunities in Wiesbaden and Baumholder call your local Outdoor Recreation Office.

Page last updated Tue November 23rd, 2010 at 06:58