WIESBADEN, Germany - Traditions, camaraderie and environmental protection play major roles in hunting and fishing programs in Germany. For Wiesbaden Outdoor Recreation’s Hunting, Fishing and Sports Shooting Program Coordinator Al Klaver, sharing those elements with program participants is all in a day’s work.
“I like my job,” said Klaver, who has managed Wiesbaden’s program since 2016. “Where else can you go out hunting and get paid to help others pass the U.S. Forces German Hunting and Fishing Courses to get their licenses and go out and hunt and fish in Germany? I feel like a proud daddy when they accomplish that.”
The 20-year Air Force veteran from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, said he grew up enjoying the great outdoors.
“I’ve been hunting and fishing since I was a little kid,” said Klaver, crediting his uncle and great-uncle for sharing their love of the sport with him.
Since taking over the program for Outdoor Recreation, Klaver has expanded services and classes. “When I took over there was no inventory of ammo and we only had a few firearms,” he said, adding that more sports shooting, hunting and fishing courses have also been offered on an annual basis. … We’re the model for IMCOM (Installation Management Command-Europe).
“There is so much demand. … We’re also getting more people certified in Range Safety Officer classes to work at the ranges,” Klaver said.
“In the States you just go out and shoot an animal,” he said, describing the various traditions that enrich hunting in Germany such as being recognized as Jungjaeger (new hunters) in a knighting ceremony, the blowing of hunting horns and other aspects. “That’s something you don’t get in the States.”
German and American hunters in Germany also play a role in culling weak and sick animals, building high seats and maintaining the forest. “You’re helping German foresters and farmers maintain the land, in clearing shooting lanes, keeping track of sick animals and anyone who shouldn’t be there. … We’ve even helped harvest potatoes and removed young animals to protect them during harvests.”
Among the benefits of hunting in Germany, besides making new friends and enjoying the various traditions, is also being able to purchase meat at a reduced price for game shot.
“Mr. Klaver brings countless years of hunting and fishing experience and knowledge both as a passionate outdoorsman and certified instructor,” said Outdoor Recreation Director Joseph Harris. “He makes every possible effort to constantly expand the Hunting, Fishing and Sport Shooting courses, certifications and opportunities for the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden community and beyond. His dedication and commitment to the success of the overall program is evident in the quality of customer service provided to patrons of Outdoor Recreation.”
The 50-year-old father of three children said he is also proud of the various trips and tours he has helped plan for Outdoor Recreation, including trips to hunting, fishing and dog exhibitions, to traditional Christmas markets, Bavarian castles and more.
“I enjoy helping people,” he said, adding, “We’re always open to new ideas from program participants – especially if it will possibly help the community or bring in more participants.”