• Germany's news in English

71-year-old: I shot wolf of the century

Published: 25 Apr 2012 08:51 GMT+02:00

The man showed up at a police station in the small town of Montabaur in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany. Since the wolf is a protected species, he could face five years in prison.

The man, who comes from the neighbouring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, is the leaseholder of the forested land where the wolf's body was found by a rambler on Saturday.

A spokesman for the local hunter's association said the man had thought the wolf was a stray dog which might hunt the wild game on his land. "He is extremely sorry that he shot a wolf," the man said.

The wolf is thought to be the same one that was spotted and photographed in the Westerwald area at the end of February – the first proven sighting of a wolf in the region for 123 years.

German conservationist society NABU had pressed charges against the unknown shooter. "The killing of this wolf is a malicious act," said NABU leader Leif Müller.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:04 April 25, 2012 by starsh3ro
thats why old people shouldnt be allowed to drive or own guns.
09:13 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
If it was the first wolf in 123 years, the hunter can't be expected to know that it was a wolf. If it is illegal to kill a dog on his leased hunting land, then he should be charged with that. Was the rambler breaking the law trespassing on the Hunter's lands?
10:05 April 25, 2012 by royp
So this idiots defence is that he killed this wolf because he beleived it to be a stray dog, so he claims that he would kill a stray family pet dog? if he honestly believed it to be a stray why not just call the police or animal service? I find this worse, then killing a wolf, at least if he believed it to be a wolf he could claim self defence, killing a lost stray dog is just cruelty.

Yes, a landowner should shoot dogs that are in the process of chasing livestock such as sheep, to protect the livestock.

There are no feral dogs in Germany, sometimes there are stray pet dogs, that get lost on walks in the woods with their owners. but these dogs actively look out human contact & rescue. If a landowner comes across a stray pet the normal expectation is that they would rescue the stray not just shoot it, only a sadist would kill a lost dog. Even if we are to take him at his word, he is a cruel sadistic pet killer deserving of prison the same as the idiots who enjoy other blood sports like dog fighting.
10:41 April 25, 2012 by Navigator_B
He probably handed himself in because he knew he would be caught anyway. If he is the leaseholder of the land and was using a licensed weapon, the authorities would have checked it out before too long, specialy when there is so much publicity surrounding the shooting.
10:42 April 25, 2012 by simulator8
I live in the U.S. and I have an uncle who is an avid hunter. This elderly man's story is not implausible. One time my uncle encountered a pack of feral dogs while he was hunting. He said there were about twelve of them. He went up a tree and shot about five or six of them dead. He reported the incident to wildlife authorities, warning them about feral dogs, but nothing was done. A few months or maybe a year later the dogs killed a hiker in the woods. I don't remember what state this was in since I heard the story a long time ago. If there are many feral dogs in that area, I believe the old man's story is credible. German shepherds do look much like wolves, especially from a distance.
10:42 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
'There are no feral dogs in Germany'

What do you call a wolf? And how do you know there are no dogs living in the German woods?

'If a landowner comes across a stray pet the normal expectation is that they would rescue the stray not just shoot it, only a sadist would kill a lost dog.'

Why do you assume that a dog out in the woods would ' actively look out human contact & rescue'? Something tells me this feral dog was not wagging its tail looking for a ride home. In fact, under ORDINARY circumstances, there should be NO feral dogs roaming/hunting the woods, because it is dangerous.

But you go ahead, condemn him to jail for the rest of his natural life for protecting the local wildlife from feral dogs. You shortsighted, cruel and sadistic old man killer. Fact is, the only 'Idiot' here is you. And your equivocation of this poor old man to a dog fighter is laughable.
11:40 April 25, 2012 by royp
It is a scientific fact that domesticated dogs have lost the ability to hunt, and the stray dog packs in the USA in fact survive off discarded food from bins etc, the USA also has native wild dogs such as Carolina dog that can survive by hunting, and some of these wild dog populations interbreed with stray domesticated dogs.

I volunter in a dog rescue group in Germany and Germany does not have a feral dog problem, in fact dog population control is so good in Germany that now most dog rescues are non kill and in fact import dogs from Spain & Italy into Germany for rehoming. nearly every village in Germany has a dog training club, Germany is one of the most pro dog places in the world, you will not see a free roaming dog in Germany like in other countries. In fact it is a law that every dog has to have a dog I.D. disc and also have rabbies vacinations.

Stray dogs in Germany are rare and certainly not feral, and would have been recently strayed from their owners, there are zero feral dog pacts in German woods. Every stray dog is picked up and placed in a dog pound or rescue centre.

This hunter is German and would know that any dog is a lost pet, not a feral dog, he knew this was a wolf and wanted boasting rightsor taking him at his word he would rather kill a lost pet then have the dog chase away wild animals that he wanted to shoot, he was not protecting these wild animals he was there to kill them. If this was a farmer there protecting his livestock then this would be a legitimate reason to shoot a stray dog chasing sheep etc.
12:54 April 25, 2012 by Bushdiver
I agree with many of you here. There was no excuse for shooting and killing this animal. I think he should be at the very minimum fined very heavily and have his weapon license revoked. This guy shouldn't be shown any mercy mearly because he is an old fool.
15:06 April 25, 2012 by JCBearss
Is it a shame that the wolf was killed, sure. However this is a testament to effective conservation programs here in Germany. The return of big predators mean an abundance of other species down the food chain. Additionally, it shows that wild habitat is still being managed well by forestmeisters and people are positively interacting with the environment. Next step is to return the bear to forests throughout the region. Prosecute effectively in this case but don't lose focus on the positive points of this. As stated earlier, the hunter could not be familiar with a species that is genetically similar to a dog so don't throw the book at him.
15:42 April 25, 2012 by DOZ
Looks like all the Ossbergers are climbing from under their rocks. He should have skinned it and made a pair of gloves.
16:05 April 25, 2012 by tbrown17
Sorry to hear about this unfortunate incident. Obviously an accident from what has been written. Anyone know or heard of how or where a single wolf came to be in that location? Does Germany have any federally owned primitive forest areas or national parks, which could accomodate wolves? Yellowstone is about the only place in US which there are wolves and they are always pushing the boundaries in search of new territories and a few tasty sheep.
16:11 April 25, 2012 by Al uk
His age should have no bearing on the crime. Let's hope he is locked up and his firearms destroyed.

Clearly he isn't fit to own weapons!
16:30 April 25, 2012 by Teddy57
Amazing. There are feral dogs in the U.S. Having grown up on a ranch/farm, feral dogs are a problem. I understand how he could have mistaken it for a feral dog. Yes, Virginia, there are feral dogs in Germany. As Germany has the mentality of "You must obey the rules", he will probably get the death sentence. Yet, earlier this week, rapists were awarded hefty cash rewards for bein held longer than originally mandated. Boo Hoo. Rapist like child molesters, have extremely high rates of recidivism. It is not a question of if but when they will rape again. This poor older man, should be given a fine. He will will not do such again. The U.S. is becoming more like Germany. Where intent used to be considered in the commission of some infractions, now it is: "Did you do it or not". Those advocating the harshest penalties, I would guess, have watched too many Disney films.
16:41 April 25, 2012 by raandy
NavigatorB I agree he knew he was going to be caught,and only turned himself in for that reason.

He most likely new it was a wolf as this has been in the news a lot.

His licence to posses a firearm should be revoked and he should be given a healthy fine.

Either way you argue this he is wrong, if he truly thought it was a dog ,he should not have killed it.

He is obviously not the brightest light in the room, I would never have left the carcass for someone to find.
17:21 April 25, 2012 by Bigfoot76
At 71 he might have mistaken his wife for a stray dog. Hmm... maybe I should say "mistaken".
17:29 April 25, 2012 by budpg
Typical behavior from hunters. Shoot first, fail to idenify your target, and they say your sorry after the damage is done. Give him five years and an extra two for being an idiot. I thought these "conservationists" (all laugh here) knew what the animals look like inthe forest? The wolf haters in the US do the same thing withcoyotes. They shoot wolves on purpose and then say "Gee, I thought it was a coyote....."All this proves is that there are "slob hunters" everywhere
17:56 April 25, 2012 by Whipmanager
I see there are two distinct sides here, with varying degrees of support for the side. The PETA people say poor Wolf, and he must go to jail. The Hunter side says ther eare times when we should shoot.

1. I think he is of the old type of German that basically owns the land and is in charge of what goes on on it. It saw an animal, and he had no respect fo rit and used his gun to rule his kingdom. We may find he is from an older family, with seom sort of Land Ownership and soem sort of minor political power position in its history. He seems to be an entitled person.

2. German Hunters are the best trained in the world. To be a Jeager Meister you go to school And you have to know what you are doing. Tey are noble (the majority of them) and take their charge of defending the German forrests and land so that future generations will have something to do.

3. It is a wolf. It is sad. there is a reason there havent been any around for 123 years. They caused problems, they were removed. Humans settled the land and there are now so few wars that more and more of us are around to need mroe land. Sad there isnt enough room for everyone and thing, but what do we do? Kill people so Nature can have the land back? Why not do the China thing and limit everyone on earth to 0-1 kid and bring the size of the herd back down?

4. Slob Hunters? really? He probably doesnt own any dogs and doesnt like animals. Makes yo wonder if he is a well liked person or a recluse....
18:43 April 25, 2012 by Navigator_B
The trigger-happy "conservationists" remind me of the Monty Python character who says "I've been a hunter all my life. I love animals. That's why I like to kill 'em".
18:49 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
@ royp

'It is a scientific fact that domesticated dogs have lost the ability to hunt'

haha. 100% Bullkaka. My domesticated dogs hunt and eat the animals they catch all the time. where I live, there are uninhabited islands where formerly domesticated dogs have been living in the wild for years.
21:16 April 25, 2012 by budpg
"The man thought" the wolf was a stray dog which might have hunted the wild game on his land" He's culturally a redneck- with no tolerance for any species other than his own. He would probably threaten people on his property with violence. I thought the first rule of hunting is that you identify your target.....the man is a liar as well.... There was a guy in his eighties from my state who got some negative press recently when a family driving by saw this ass drowning some kittens. The woman said- give me that kitten what are you crazy......The family of the crusty old degenerate said- "That's how we have always dealt with stray cats...we didn't think there was a problem.....Cultural ignorance and a lack of education is a problem
21:43 April 25, 2012 by raandy
Chango ,whats with the American bashing? seems to be your reason for being. I think Americans are very responsible hunters .Now , could you say that about your ilk??
00:37 April 26, 2012 by budpg
Randy thinks Americans are very responsible hunters. After you take out the thrill killing hound hunters, the canned hunt regulars, the" slob" pigeon shooters, and the you tube rock stars that film themselves blowing away prairie dog and coyote families and then brag about it on monstermuleys, how many hunters are left? Five or six? Right now the Republithugs are pushing a bill to allow "sportsmen" (all laugh here) to hunt wolves and other animals in National Parks. These are the same "stewards of our natural resources" who are trying to block a restriction on lead ammunition which causes millions of mammals and raptors to die a horrible death from ingestion of lead. People are judged by their actions not bumper sticker talking points
01:05 April 26, 2012 by parografik
How's his aim for unicorns and mermaids?
02:22 April 26, 2012 by Yurallridiculous
So now America is to blame for this old fart shooting a wolf? Only would this be the sentiment of The Local readers......ridiculous!

Sure this animal being shot dead is tragic but honestly there are way worse things happening in the world.....oh wait Chango and others I'll save you the time....those are all the fault of evil America too....we should all be hunted down and punished like this wolf.

I think you are all being a touch overly sensitive in this regard...maybe this is why I'm a cat person.
02:34 April 26, 2012 by Shutter
Basically one feral predator armed with a rifle felt his hunting grounds were violated by another feral predator so he killed him.

So many millenia, so little progress.
17:54 April 26, 2012 by justinoliver
this man was not a hunter. hunters do not just walk around in the woods killing random game. they have specific animals that they stalk during specific times of the year. that man is a POACHER and should be charged with the unlawful killing of a protected species.

if he were hunting quail or pheasants and had shot a hawk, he would be considered a POACHER also.
18:13 April 26, 2012 by Whipmanager
What is true is that now, it is the wolf of the century. Forever immortalized. If it had just been let go, and never touched, it would not be remembered fro anything. Now it is the animal ruthlessly murdered by some mean man with a gun.....I'm sure it would approve of the image being bandied about now. Maybe this one act of stupidity by the shooter will rbing more help to tha cause and this one wolf will be responsible fr helping out a great many mroe animals?
19:03 April 26, 2012 by Murkan Mike
Obviously nobody who has made a comment here has a German Hunting Licence. First off, let me say to all of you who think there are no 'feral dogs' in the woods, you obviously don't live near any americans, as they routinely let their pets go when they PCS to the US. I know, not everyone does, but many do. I am an American, and I am a hunting lease holder just like the guy who shot the wolf. It isn't common, but it isn't hard to believe that the guy thought it was a stray dog fending for itself. He not only has a moral obligation to protect wild game from a feral dog, he has a legal oblihgation to do so as well. It's part of your contract and agreement.

But on a more moral note: why in the world would anyone want wolves in a populated area? Maybe we should reintroduce rattlesnakes and scorpions as well. Right on the kindergarten grounds too eh?

I personally can't see any reason to preserve wolves, rats, scorpions, recluse spiders or ratllesnakes and mambas in populated areas like germany.

The man is a Hunter, and has a legal responsibility to maintain a healthy game population.
21:16 April 26, 2012 by raandy
budpg you need to get back on your medication, have you done dallas sweetie?
21:16 April 26, 2012 by AClassicRed
"Yellowstone is about the only place in US which there are wolves and they are always pushing the boundaries in search of new territories and a few tasty sheep."

@tbrown17 You are entirely wrong on many counts, as wolves are throughout some areas of the US and populous, or do you not count Alaska as part of the US?

The boundaries to their territories? HUMANS are the encroachers in the wild places of world, and animals deserve places to live, grow and expand as needed. They are not just "inconveniences" to the humans who want to fence, bottle and box them in because want to roam through the animals former habitats and build homes and businesses that wreck and pollute the environment. What an entirely ignorant statement. @Raandy"Americans are very responsible hunters", again...don't know what this person has been smoking either: there are responsible hunters, but then there are many more dumb hunters who disrespect land, animals, ethics and laws when doing so. They are rampant in some areas. @Murkan Mike is it with people like you who think humans are more important than animals and their natural habitats. Ludicrous. Legal responsibility for a healthy game population? One wolf and this "responsible" Hunter, oh so concerned for others, killed it. Don't make him into a hero with your empty adulation.

For THIS case, it seems like the old man got nervous and acted before he thought it through, for whatever reason. It just seems unexpected and is very unfortunate he decided to shoot and kill. He could very well have gone into the house, call authorities and reported what he'd seen. I'm sure appropriate officials would have taken care of the matter asap as a point of public safety.
23:49 April 26, 2012 by bhess
Why did he think it was a feral dog and not someones lost pet? I've hunted and I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference between a wolf and a domesticated dog. Germany isn't the american west where there are wolves and coyotes.

If you have to kill an animal for food or protectiion that's ok but just shooting it to shoot it is a bad thing. When I was a kid I was plinking some cans and then saw a squirrel came in view started to draw a bead on it, then my dad's voice came from behind me "You shoot it, you eat it.", I shot the can. I've kept to that rule since.
01:39 April 27, 2012 by budpg
Randy is the typical hunter apologist that we have in the US. They blame the activist instead of realizing that the deterioration of hunting ethics will cost hunters their heritage and they will have no one to blame but themselves.....Slob hunter TedNugent is the face of the modern "sportsmen".... Poacher, thrill killer, completely unethical, kills for the sake of killing.....Meanwhile the NRA tries to block a lead shot ban, fights to protect the tradition of pigeon shooting in PA, and wants hunting expanded into National Parks. You must be from Texas Randy.... or maybe Idaho
00:50 April 28, 2012 by Whipmanager
Comment: this is hilarious. AClassicRed (red for Commie?). Hey, if you want to de-populate the earth, and give animals priority, then start by removing yourself from the pool, and your family. Animals were put on earth for man's needs, we were not put here for them. We should not allow these wild animals around human dwellings. Is it humane to just shoot the humans, or hav ethem be allowed 1 child per couple like china? What is your plan to limit man's impact on the animals that are more improtant than us humans? You probably are a vegetarian and plan on eating Soy products but I believe we treat animals with respect, but we develop responsibly and make progress. The idea that Animals have the right to stop civilizatio is ludicrous.
08:54 April 28, 2012 by redchili
Being German living in Germany and married to an active hunter, I find your discussion of this incident both interesting with your very different perspective, but also a little shocking at the same time. Most of the posts either contain wrong information and/or miss the point. The situation in Germany as regards wolves is fundamentally different from the US, and the mandate of hunters in Germany also seems to differ greatly from that of hunters in the US.

The hunter who shot the wolf simply violated several (!) German laws, no matter what ethical side I am on personally.

From the game law (these are not recommendations, these are laws):

- Make sure what it is that you shoot before you shoot and that you are entitled to shoot it. In doubt, do NOT shoot.

- If you shoot a carnivore, bury it very deep or take it to animal cadaver utilisation.

- If you think that a pet dog is hunting, you MAY shoot it, but only if you catch it in the act.

The most serious, though, is from the German law on nature conservation:

- Wolves are a strictly protected species here and may ONLY and under any circumstances whatsoever be killed with a very good reason by a veterinarian with a special state license (Amtstierarzt).

It is the violation of this one law that might bring this man into prison. He will certainly lose his hunting license and gun ownership license, and will be fined a substantial penalty.

As to some other points:

- This wolf "behaved properly" and never posed a threat to humans.

- There are several wolf packs living in Eastern Germany, and the coexistence of wolves and humans works pretty well there, no threats to humans so far and compensations for farmers who lose livestock to the wolves.

- There are no feral dogs in Germany. A few lost pet dogs every now and then, but they usually do not cause problems until they are caught.

- The hikers did not trespass any laws.

- The majority of German hunters is not noble.

As non-Germans, you might find our approach to wolves and these laws funny, strange or even absurd, but that's the way things are in Germany.
14:04 April 28, 2012 by Andredog
@whipmanager... re"Comment: this is hilarious. AClassicRed (red for Commie?). Hey, if you want to de-populate the earth, and give animals priority, then start by removing yourself from the pool, and your family. Animals were put on earth for man's needs, we were not put here for them. We should not allow these wild animals around human dwellings. Is it humane to just shoot the humans, or hav ethem be allowed 1 child per couple like china? What is your plan to limit man's impact on the animals that are more improtant than us humans? You probably are a vegetarian and plan on eating Soy products but I believe we treat animals with respect, but we develop responsibly and make progress. The idea that Animals have the right to stop civilizatio is ludicrous."

why don't you keep your animal hating commentary to yourself and focus on the two things you are an expert in, namely the Military and being married to a prostitute? You presented yourself as being civil in your first two posts but then had to show your true colors here. Go home to your hooker baby and leave your nasty anti-animal commentary off this site.
15:25 April 28, 2012 by Bruno53
Shooting a wolf that wasn't bothering people is a crime for me. Any punishment for killing an harmless animal? And I am no animal rights activist, please.
22:49 April 28, 2012 by css1971
One of our animals was recently savaged by out of control dogs. It survived but only because the dogs were driven off. It could easily have been a child instead.

Shooting them is perfectly fine as far as I'm concerned.

Wolves simply look like big dogs; German shepherds, huskies and malamutes all have similar shape to a wolf and the probability of any particular encounter being a real wolf as opposed to a dog is tiny.

It's a shame but this is what happens when lower predators come in contact with humans.
09:27 May 2, 2012 by redleg50
@Chango Mutney

So you lump all hunters as bad people? You shouldn't talk on things that you don't have even one clue as to what you are talking about.

I am a US citizen that hunts here in Germany. I don't drink beer, I don't shoot to wound game and as a matter of fact, I have never wounded game and have them wander off. And I don't shoot at anything with four legs. I take my time and I know my target before I shoot.

Get an education on hunters and hunting before you start spouting off in an ingorant fashion and embarrassing yourself.
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