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Fine for first Rhineland wolf kill since 1879
Photo: DPA

Fine for first Rhineland wolf kill since 1879

Published: 17 Jan 2013 15:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Jan 2013 15:21 GMT+01:00

A 72-year-old hunter who shot the first wolf seen in the Rhineland since 1879 - claiming he thought it was a dog - has been fined €3,500 after genetic tests confirmed it had indeed been a protected species.

He shot the wolf last April on land in the Westerwald forest which he leases for hunting. The pensioner remorsefully turned himself in to police saying he had shot what he had taken for a stray dog after his deer.

The court ordered him to pay €3,500 - an estimate of 70 days of his income - for contravening the Animal Welfare Act. The court ruled the wolf had not been hunting the man's deer when it was killed and so the man had not been justified in shooting it.

The defence, which were pushing for all charges to be dropped, relied on the testimony of a behavioural biologist which threw doubt on whether the animal had really been a wolf.

Click here to see pictures of wolves around Germany

However, the court ruled instead in favour of conclusive testimony from experts of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, who said genetic tests on the body had proved it was a wolf originating from the Italian Alps.

However, the court said that although he should not have shot the wolf, the man had not broken Federal Conservation Act, because having never personally come across a wolf in the forest, he could not have known what it was.

The accused told the court that he had heard rumours of a wolf prowling around his part of the forest but had thought it so unlikely in that region that he had soon forgotten all about it, said the regional Rhein Zeitung on Thursday.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:08 January 17, 2013 by Bulldawg82
That is pretty rough on the old man. How in the world are people supposed to tell a dog from a wolf when they have never seen a wolf before? A decision made by his peers would have better suited the man instead of the cold dead letter of the law. I think the judges have forgotten the intent of the law which was to protect the wolf from willful killing, not accidental.
19:43 January 17, 2013 by raandy
Are you kidding, this guy shot this as a wolf or someones family pet , he should have paid more. people like him should never have a firearm.
19:55 January 17, 2013 by Bulldawg82
Or a wild dog hunting the deer. My point is that one is a legal killing (but I understand that many don't want any dog shot) and the other is not. Unless, you have actually seen wolves, how are you supposed to tell them apart? If his intent was to actually kill a wolf, then he wouldn't have turned himself in. Not a very good encouragment to show people that they should turn themselves in when they realised they broke a law.
20:51 January 17, 2013 by Steve1949
He should have been fined much more than what he was. Yes, I am one that doesn't believe in shooting dogs. This old fart I think just doesn't like animals. The law was in no way rough on this guy.
21:15 January 17, 2013 by MaKo
Just out of curiousity... would he have been allowed to just shoot a dog? Because that's not a very nice thing to do, either.
21:27 January 17, 2013 by Harry Grouse
Any one can pull a trigger young or old killing an animal does not make you a man. I´m ashamed of this so called man why not copy the ignorance of the american and canadian can you not set a proper example I have been waiting for this. So much for welcoming the Wolf. So why can a person nor hubt a hunter why is that not wrong. Wolves are friends of people who care for nature and animals so why is it you can kill our friends and hide behind the law. May you know the rath of man and animal!
23:57 January 17, 2013 by Dalmation
Mix it with the horsemeat and lets make burgers. (Bad Joke)
06:45 January 18, 2013 by MattyB
I want some of you bleeding hearts to go up and snuggle the next wild dog you find. I've seen your average pet dog viciously rip apart a deer caught in its backyard, wonder what a wild one would do?

He should have been fined, but drop the outrage. He did, after all, turn himself in.
08:14 January 18, 2013 by Lawdog20636
You guys are killing me. I know some of you eat meat. Where do you think it comes from? Just because you buy it from the grocery store doesn¦#39;t mean someone else didn¦#39;t kill it for you. This man made a mistake in recognizing the difference between a wild dog and a wolf that was chasing a deer. It took DNA testing to confirm identification of this animal. Easy to judge when you¦#39;re reading an article posted online.

I would like to sit down with this 72 year old man and eat a meat dinner while drinking a beer with the 86 year old that escaped last week for a beer on his birthday. It doesn¦#39;t get any better than eating meet, drinking beer, and storytelling from older individuals.
09:56 January 18, 2013 by raandy
MattyB This article appeared a while back, after it happened. He turned himself in because he owned or rented the land that the wolf was shot on and they were going to check the ballistics of his firearms and those at the shooting club in his area, so not points there.

He shot it because he could,with no regard for whether it was wild or domestic,left it there where it fell (dumb mistake).

This nimrod gives all those that are responsible hunters and gun owners a bad name,
10:02 January 18, 2013 by BR549
I'm a long-time hunter (Jäger) in Germany, and would like to share a little information with the folks making comments here. Firstly, the hunter that shot the wolf is a "Pächter" which means he pays for a certain amount of land (Revier) for hunting. It is his responsibility to manage and protect the leased land / wildlife as a conservationist and hunter working with Foresters and land management.

In his Revier, foresters provide him a plan of which animals must be harvested and which not. It is simply not a "shooting spree". He is also responsible for the habitat and well being of the animals and fauna in his Revier. It is a BIG responsibility!

Now, for those bashing hunters in Germany - People letting their dogs run through the forest off the leash is a big problem and yes, there are wild dogs in the forest as well. I have personally seen several animals, more specially Roe Deer, mauled by both wild and dogs off the leash.

Secondly, people are going deeper into the forests for recreation. Mountain bikers are creating illegal trails through areas where animals such as European Red Stags, bed down. They do not do well being disturbed and it stresses them.

People are throwing more and more trash into fields and forests, and yes, it is the Jägers picking it up.

As a Pächter, he is supposed to protect the Revier and yes, he did make a mistake based on never having seen a Wolf or not expecting one. Yes, he turned himself in and I am certain he feels badly about it. Give the guy a break here, folks. The vast majority of hunters in this country love nature and understand the dynamics much better than most folks. especially those who can't distinguish a Teddy Bear from a Polar Bear and end up getting eaten at the zoo.

The training and requirements to get a right to become a Jäger is hard, time consuming and expensive. IF you make the grade, you are a part of a social class with standards and expectations, not a "Bubba" buying a $10.00 license and a rifle at Walmart.
11:02 January 18, 2013 by raandy
BR549 this was obviously a lone animal, so shoot first and check later?

I also hunt but I know my target and beyond and if Iam not sure of what I am shooting at ,,I don't and anyone that does is irresponsible.
11:12 January 18, 2013 by The-ex-pat
@10:02 January 18, 2013 by BR549

You make very valid points, but as you say, "The training and requirements to get a right to become a Jäger is hard, time consuming and expensive. IF you make the grade, you are a part of a social class with standards and expectations, not a "Bubba" buying a $10.00 license and a rifle at Walmart."

However I seem to remember when I did my Jagdschein some 20 years ago, animal identification was a HUGE part of the course and involved identifying silhouettes at large distances with binoculars, and a walk in the woods with the Miester identifying plants, birds and animals. One of the things that was stressed was the gait of similar animals to aid identification. Now I admit I have not hunted in 10 years, but the way a wolf moves and the way a dog moves are quite different. That saying I was not their, but knowing how some German hunters think, I suspect he thought that it was a hunting chance not to be missed, took the shot smiled to himself and was quite confident he would get away with it. However, bullet fragment analysis today is not what it was yesterday. Remorsefully handing himself in was just a$$ covering.
12:20 January 18, 2013 by BR549
@ raandy & ex-pat - You both have also made very valid points. Personally, I would not have shot nor left it there. Two things I wonder could have been factors, the time of day and his eyesight or overall health. I was reading in a Hunting Magazine that an elderly hunter shot a horse thinking it was a Doe Red Deer. He lost his license of course, but you know how it is here...hunting (as long as you re-new) and driver licenses are yours forever until something happens. I do think an eye test be mandatory every 3 years the hunting license is renewed.
16:40 January 19, 2013 by raandy
BR549 true story. A party of three hunters wanted to hunt on an elderly mans land, The spokesperson for the group knocked on the mans door and asked permission to hunt on his land. The old man explained to the hunter that his daughters old horse was in the pasture on the other side of the road and he would appreciate it if he would shoot the horse for him as he could not. The guy agreed and got back into the auto ,swearing about the old man and saying he would fix him for refusing, The guy drives doen the tote rd. to where the horse is laughs loads his gun and shoots the horse, his buddies wanting to get in on it jumped out and shot two of the mans cows.Cost them 7000 $s. :-)
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