Hunting in Germany: What you need to know

Hunting is a popular sport and profession in Germany with strict but fair legislation established with respect for the environment and wildlife.

There are over 300,000 square kilometers of huntable area in the country, with almost 350,000 recorded hunters from a population of almost 90 million. The main authorities overseeing hunting and hunters are:

  • The Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
  • The Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety
  • The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
  • The German Hunting Association (in German only)

Hunting Licenses

Hunting is allowed throughout Germany provided certain conditions are met. First, a hunting license is required; then a hunting permit is needed for a specific type of hunting, or a set period. A hunting license issued outside Germany may be sufficient to obtain a hunting permit. If this is not the case, the full German license is needed.

The national hunting examination must be taken and passed to qualify for a hunting license. The exam includes a written and an oral test as well as a shooting test. The main areas covered are: Knowledge of different
species of game, basic animal biology, game damage prevention, farming and forestry, firearms laws and techniques, hygienic inspection and treatment of game, determination of game meat for human consumption, wildlife, nature and landscape conservation laws.

Note: Hunting and falconer examinations, organized by the Hunting Authority, are held once a year in Berlin. Applicants must be over 18-years-old and should apply through the Office of the State Criminal Police (LKA).

Gun and Hunting Permits; to download the hunting application form, go to

The completed form must be submitted by hand to the local firearms authority/police representative. Additional documents required are: Evidence of participation in firearms training, two passport photos, hunting accident insurance documents. Upon successfully completing the hunting examination, hunting permits can be obtained through the LKA.

Hunting permits

Permits are only issued upon proof of a valid hunting license and a Civil Liability Insurance for Hunting. A General Hunting Accident Insurance is also recommended. The various types of hunting permits include the yearly
permit, daily permit, youth permit, falconer‘s permit, and the foreigner‘s permit.

Permitted Methods of Hunting

Permission is required to hunt in Germany and the rights to hunting always belong to the land-owner. Hunting areas may be privately owned, or part of a hunting co-operative. Hunting rights may also be leased to a third party. Hunting methods fall into three categories in Germany: Shooting, trapping, falconry.

Gun licenses

There are no caliber restrictions for shooting although 12, 16 and 20 bore shot are the norm. Automatic or semi-automatic weapons with space for more than two cartridges in the magazine are not permitted for hunting in Germany.

To download an application form for a gun license in Germany, go to

Hunting Seasons in Germany

Hunting seasons in Germany differ from state to state. Information is best obtained from the respective landowner.

A German hunting license grants its holder the right of hunting within legal ordinances. It is also the precondition to own hunting arms and ammunition. The actual right to exercise hunting in a specific area is entitled to the respective land-owners. The purpose of the hunting license is to ensure that only well trained persons may exercise hunting.
Applicants must fulfill the following

  • Successful graduation of a hunting exam,
  • Certificate of a liability insurance for hunters,
  • Personal trustworthiness (§ 5 German Weapons Act),
  • Applicants must be at least 16 years for a Youth Hunting License,otherwise 18 years,
  • Flawless criminal record.

The hunting exam is a test of expertise with a high failure rate. To pass it, each applicant has to participate in a comprehensive, difficult instruction course which consists largely of the areas shooting (shotgun and rifle),
theory (esp. weaponry, local wildlife and habitat) and practice.

In practice, the German system of examination for deer hunters (stalkers) is very much in line with the English DMQ level DSC2.

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