Friendly warning: There will be at least one photo of the "Strecke" near the end of this post, which is the deceased animals laid out on pine branches to honor them and the hunters who shot them.
If I understood correctly, there were 75 Schützen (hunter-shooters), who were taken to their assigned Hochsitze to spend 2.5 hours sitting in the rainy cold hoping that we Treiber would drive a wild boar, Reh (roe deer) or fox past them. I don't know how many Treiber there were, but I think there were ten groups, and we were six in our group.
(Not all are enclosed with a roof)
*JM, if you read this, Waidmannsheil!!
The day after our first Treibjagd, we each ordered a new set of outdoor clothes: hardy orange hunting pants and hunter-orange jackets that were at least water resistant. I missed a great opportunity to have our neighbor take a photo of us suited up for tromping through the forest in our as-yet unused hunting gear and bright orange baseball caps. Damn.
We packed up our gear last night, and having learned from our last experience the entire car was loaded full with an extra set of clean, dry clothes and socks, towels, hand and foot warmers, two extra jackets, a spare set of boots, and Snickers bars. The weather forecast claimed the rain would stop around 6:00am and it would be warmer than it had been the past few days (around 10 °C). Liar.
The temperature was fine, actually. Ok we got cold standing around before the hunt actually began, but that's to be expected. But I don't think it ever stopped raining. It only changed from annoying to light to misty to steady rain. However, the fact that I made it to the end (2.5 hours later) with mostly dry feet means it was a damn sight better than last time.
And as a bonus, I also didn't lose my eyesight from the branches slapping me in the face, I didn't break an ankle tripping over moss-covered rocks, I didn't fall down the steep hill I had to walk along sideways, and I didn't get permanently stuck trying to fight my way through blackberry patches. All of those things almost happened, but didn't. I cursed like a drunken sailor again, using all the expletives I'm familiar with, but that was mostly near the end when I was getting tired.
|Jagdleiter Rudi is welcoming and giving instructions to the|
hunters and Treiber. It is his Revier, and this Treibjagd should help him
meet his quota of Reh and Wildschweine for the year.
The job of the Treiber is to tromp through the forest making enough noise to convince the wild game to abandon their cozy shelter from the rain and dash away from the stupid noisy human. The Schützen need to be on alert with all their senses, being ready to shoot a sow or deer passing by but watching out for - and not shooting - the hunting dogs and the Treiber. They listen for the Treiber shouting out their location, the animals running or strolling through the forest, the dogs barking to indicate they've flushed something out... And their noses can tell them if a rauschiger Keiler (boar lookin' for love) is anywhere near.
staying warm before the hunt
*I had to ask the handler for this breed because I didn't recognize it and it's not on my list to study for the Jägerprüfung. They had the look and coloring of Brandlbracken (black-and-tan hounds) but were too small and yet clearly not puppies.
Shortly before 10:00 our group set off from the shelter of Rudi's Jagdhütte and headed toward the forest. The terrain here was much more challenging than that of our first Treibjagd, being very hilly and full of blackberry patches. Treiben is a great (volunteer) job for people who like being out in nature. You're not restricted to paths - in fact you're really supposed to avoid the paths and stick to the rough, and you might get to see some wild animals. I only saw three dashing Reh, but M also saw a few foxes as well as a Wildschwein (wild boar).
We fought our way through thick forest undergrowth, up steep hillsides, down into valleys, and over ditches. The blackberry branches bit through our pants but couldn't tear them, the tree branches did their best to poke out our eyes, and everything on the forest floor gave its best effort to trip us and throw us on our asses. But in the end we prevailed - we made it out unbroken and unshot, as did everyone else.
After the hunt the organizers provided us all with delicious and warm Gulaschsuppe, good German bread, tea, coffee, or Glühwein, beer and water. There were two firepits burning to help us thaw the cold bits, and three Metzger (butchers) were on hand to do the Aufbrechen (gutting). One of the Metzger had a crowd around him and didn't just gut the boar - he talked about what he was doing, teaching how it's done and what to look out for (abnormalities in the organs). Several of us were clearly students who will have to identify internal organs for our test, and he showed us each of the important steps and parts.
I'll spare you those photos, but I have them and was not the only one taking pictures. All in the name of learning!
The traditional Strecke legen followed, where the animals are laid on pine branches to be counted and also honored along with the hunters who shot them. Rudi's wife thanked everyone for the good and safe hunt and called up each hunter who'd shot an animal (or three in one case!). Following custom she took a pine branch, stroked it against the animal the hunter had killed, and handed it to her or him to put in the band of his (or her - there were at least two women who were successful hunters today) hat with a "Waidmannsheil!"
|12 Sauen, 22 Rehe, 9 Fuchse|
This brought the hunt to its official end. The Metzger still had a lot of work to do, but the Treiber und hunter-shooters could slowly make their way to the pub/restaurant where Rudi said they are welcome to celebrate "bis zum Erbrechen."
One of my many questions was answered when I heard one hunter say he was going to drive his "Kanone" (gun) home and then come back to the pub. I've always wondered what a hunter does between a Treibjagd and the Schüsseltrieb afterwards - the social celebration. In Germany if one is caught in possession of a gun AND has more than 0.0% blood-alcohol level, he faces stiff penalties including likely the loss of his hunting license and gun license. I know what the hunter is supposed to do - not drink any alcohol as long as he still has his gun with him, or drive her gun home, lock it in her Waffenschrank (gun cabinet), and return to the party. A relative can't just come, pick up the gun and take it home because one is not allowed to transport a gun without a gun license.
Anyway, I was glad to hear this hunter's answer to the situation, which reflects the law.
This was our last planned Treibjagd for the season, and after I hit "publish" on this post I'm going to drag my tired Kadaver to the sofa for an evening nap. But we will very likely do this again next year. After all, we now have the proper outdoor clothing, so it would be a shame to just let it hang in a closet.
To all of today's successful hunters: Waidmannsheil!!