Hunting in Germany is not only for recreation, but also for management of invasive species and predator populations as part of the larger ecosystem
This episode is the continuation of the discussion we started last time with German hunter and hunting instructor, Nadja Niesner. Before we get into the conversation, though, we address a listener question regarding the colors of hunting dogs. A simple question of “why do German hunting breeds tend to be darker and English breeds tend to have a white base” sent us down a long rabbit hole about the theories and origins of the variety of colors and patterns that our dogs can be.
The overarching theme seems to be that selective breeding always involves the bias of the person doing the selecting, so personal preferences and ideas about camouflage or visibility influenced which dogs were selected for breeding. Color is also influenced by superstition, with black dogs sometimes having an association with evil or doom.
When selective dog breeding began but prior to a scientific understanding of color genetics, the nature of dominant versus recessive genes often caused questions about the “purity” of a litter. This often led to the breeding of recessive colors, since two brown dogs would produce a litter of all brown dogs, as opposed to the dominant black gene which was capable of producing a variety of colors in the offspring.
Moving on to the continuation of our interview with Nadja, we picked up with a discussion about conservation and forestry management in Germany. We discuss how, for example, training with live ducks is limited to a certain number of ducks used over a dog’s lifetime. This reflects a level of federal oversight that seeks to strike a balance between developing hunting dogs but also preserving the limited resources of animals available for dog training.
We also discuss how dogs are used to hunt various predators and invasive species such as raccoons, raccoon dogs, foxes, and nutria. The German hunting culture is focused on a holistic approach to wildlife management, which not only involves the taking of game but also the control of predator populations to maintain a suitable equilibrium.
Finally, we discuss the changing demographics of hunting in Germany. As a hunting instructor, Nadja has a front row seat to the incoming hunter population and seeks to understand who is joining the community and why they were drawn to hunting. Just like in North America, most new hunters cite an interest in nature as well as a growing interest in knowing where their food comes from.
As always, we thank you for listening and invite you to submit feedback or questions to us at HDC@northwoodscollective.com. We would love to feature your questions in an upcoming episode! Record a voice memo and email it to us to be featured on the show and to have your question answered.
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Jennifer Wapenski is the managing editor of Hunting Dog Confidential Magazine and co-host of the Hunting Dog Confidential podcast. She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, dogs, and wildlife; as an adult, she discovered that upland bird and waterfowl hunting were natural extensions of these pursuits. Jennifer lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two Deutsch Langhaars.