Mar 29, 2009

German/English hunting terminology

Since our Wire-haired Vizsla, Quodians Aristos, joined the family a bit over a year ago, I've developed a growing interest in hunting dogs and hunting. A Deutsch Drahthaar will most likely be joining Aristos in the household in the next few weeks or months, and later this year I'll start studying for my German hunting license. This isn't something I had anticipated doing before; hunting is not part of my family tradition, and I'm the sort who is more likely to try to save whales and hug trees. At the same time, I have seen the unfortunate effects of hunting bans from California to Berlin, where the efforts of well-meaning animal protection advocates lead to cougars munching small children and joggers and dangerous wild boar wandering around in city traffic.

The German approach to hunting licensure has a very healthy part of intelligent wildlife and habitat management in it. And dogs represent a vital part of the efforts to ensure a humane hunt as well as track animals injured on the roads, for example.

Because of my new interest, I've been doing a lot of reading of German texts on hunting and kynology. Despite being reasonably fluent in German, I have encountered a lot of new terms which I have to look up or ask others to explain. There are also some interesting translation projects under discussion which will require a good mastery of Waidmannssprache. So with that in mind, I've done a bit of research on possible online and offline terminology resources, which is listed below for the benefit of anyone with similar interests or needs.

Hardcopy dictionaries:

Elsevier's Dictionary of Nature and Hunting in English, French, Russian, German and Latin.

Elsevier's Dictionary of the World's Game and Wildlife in English, Latin, French, German, Dutch and Spanish With Equivalents in Afrikaans and Kiswahi.

Wörterbuch der Weidmannssprache für Jagd- und Sprachfreunde - A monolingual German book explaining hunters' terminology

Wörterbuch der Weidmannssprache - Another monolingual German book explaining hunters' terminology

Online glossaries:

Jagdwörterbuch - a nice little lookup tool that shows "normal" German, the English term and the special German hunting terminology.

Waidmanssprache - A monolingual German reference explaining hunters' language.

WebTerm hunting dog terms
- A fairly sophisticated taxonomy of terms in German and English. I think it uses MultiTerm Online, and it doesn't work very well with the Firefox, though all functions seem to be OK with Internet Explorer.

Jagd und Wild Wörterbuch - Sloppy but possibly useful. There are serious problems with the English spelling and capitalization in the octolingual glossary. The sorting function is nice. This looks like another one where Internet Explorer may be necessary; I looked at it in a Firefox tab too, and the scroll bar wasn't visible and sorting didn't work.

The other resources I found were too awful to list. If anyone else knows of good terminology resources for German in this area, I'd like to hear about them.


  1. Addendum: after receiving a question from a local film producer about terminology for German hunting weapons, I discovered a very nice bilingual site (DE-EN) from Adamy Bros., makers of fine German hunting weapons. If you've ever wondered what the heck a "Drilling" is, you can find detailed information here!

  2. Kevin, Good luck on your quest for a Jagdschein! I take it you are currently in Germany. I spent decades in and still have family there. I am a volunteer Conservation Officer at the Air Base here on Guam, and a lifetime hunter. I studied for my Brief while stationed at Bitburg, and managed to get my hunting license. It is a treasured and recognized license the world over. I found your site just from being somewhat homesick and wanted to brush up on Waidmannsprache, which you need to pass the Test, as well as get along and be credible with German hunters. Thanks for the references, and hope to great you with a congratulatory Waidmannsheil. Nash Camacho

  3. Delighted to find your post; however, the two links I was banking on appear to be dead.

    Shame... was hoping for some tips on how to write about "eine spannende Nachsuche" and describe humorous "Einträge im Jagdhüttenbuch" after an afternoon spent "mit den Jagd-Kamaraden beim Aufstellen einer Kanzel" in somewhat authentic-sounding English.

    In any case, wishing you a "kräftigen Waidmannsheil" from my new home in Bavaria!


Notice to spammers: your locations are being traced and fed to the recreational target list for my new line of chemical weapon drones :-)