View Full Version : German hunting customs and rituals, clarification needed please.

December 13, 2002, 06:44 PM
I talked to a friend who had been stationed in Germany when he was in the Army.

He talked about the legal hoops that hunters there must jump through including having a hunting master on site to show them the shoting lanes and having to hunt in specified places and at specified times. He mentioned the test that hunters had to take, which was long and involved with a great deal of memorized information.

Part of the test he said consisted of proving an understanding of the hunting RITUALS, such as placing a sprig of holly or of cedar on various parts of the anatomy of the dead animals.

Can anyone tell me more about these hunting rituals, their origin and their purpose and their significance? Links to websites, especially anthtopology sites would be appreciated.

December 13, 2002, 07:01 PM
Often you'll see a european hunter in a "trophy" pic. The hunter's prey has a bit of 'garland' in its mouth, and often the hunter's cap is also decorated.

While there were "traditional" boughs of pine etc, often (esp. in African hunting) handy substitutes are found.

The tradition (if I recall right) is to sort of give the animal a "final meal" and remind the hunter (who was often a farmer) about the importance of the land, and the plants and animals that live there.

Also as a hunter's trophy the gardland is not unlike an olive wreath rewarded for winning a chariot race, and in later times, given those tiny sloped jager hats, a jaunty pine bough (or other foliage) could be seen from a long way off.. allowing the village to start your celebration before you got back.

December 14, 2002, 01:04 PM
Well, thank you, that's a start. I didn't know they called them garlands, so will start searching the net using that word. You wouldn't know, would you, if it is a Celtic, Viking, Frankish or Teutonic ritual, whether it involves the pagan pantheons or whether it historically predates the pagan religions?

Any of our Pagans or Wiccans or SCA buffs out there who can help out on this question?

Keith Rogan
December 14, 2002, 03:29 PM
I think the custom of placing some greenery in the mouth also had a practical side. It showed a "found" animal. If you head back to the village to get some assistance in carrying your kill home, anyone else happening on the critter knew to leave it lie.

December 15, 2002, 03:14 PM
I always thought the foliage in the mouth was there to show the animal was taken while unaware, i.e.. while grazing - the mark of a skilled hunter. As opposed to the old traditional European hunting method - the game-drive - where animals were herded in front of the "hunter" to be slaughtered in an unsportsmanlike manner. The sprig of foliage in the animal's mouth proves the hunter has superior skill and ethics. That was my understanding. Let us know what your research finds. -- Kernel