Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nils Bell ~ First Days in Deutschland, Germany

Hallo from Germany! My internship hear in the forest near Phillipsburg has gotten off to a quick start. Herr Brecht, my employer is to the point and practical, a classic German. He had me out early in the morning and working 5 days ahead of schedule. The number one task at the moment is managing the exploding wild boar population. Their numbers have increased at an unprecedented rate despite the Jaegers (hunter) best efforts. A typical litter is around 7 Frischlinge (new born litter) and all of these pigs can and often do produce their own litter during the same year. Recent years have seen a 200% increase in wild boar in Germany.

These pictures were taken in a German Naturgehege (Nature Park).
The German Wildsau (wild boar) weighs around 150 to 200 kg when grown up, but have even been recorded in the 300 kg range! The Wildsau is an omnivore and eats absolutely everything on the forest floor. This and the lack of large predators have allowed their population to flourish. Wolves have made a comeback in Germany though and it is the hope of Landjagdpaechters (forest land owners) like my boss, Herr Brecht, that this will someday soon help keep the wild boar population manageable.
So far I have been assisting Herr Brecht and his group of hunters to lay down corn in strategic areas with Hochsitze (high seats), to help lure the pigs into that area so the hunters can do their thing. Though I have hunted in the states and Namibia I am not allowed to partake in these culling efforts. The hunting culture in Germany is very different in than in America, and acquiring a license over here is a long and difficult process that can take anywhere from a few month to half a year.

Feed is distributed out in heavily traversed areas which can be easily spotted by the muddy overturned earth the pigs leave in their wake. The Wildsau enjoys the lower lying areas of the forest that are have more moisture and can be described as swamp-like. The pigs role in these muddy spots, cooling their bodies from the hot sun and getting rid of pesky parasites. In these areas we make small holes in the ground and scoop a few handfuls of corn into them. Feed is only allowed to be put into a certain number of locations depending on the size of the forest being hunted on. The forest area I am working on is approximately 250 acres and German hunting laws permits us to put out corn in up to 5 areas.

Well, I have just started work but I can already see its going to be a busy, interesting summer. More in a few days. Talk to you later Unity.

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