Jagd & Hund 2014

February 9, 2014

Dortmund-SLIDERWherever fieldsports are practiced, they’re celebrated with fairs, shows and exhibitions. These out of season attractions are a terrific place to compare and purchase kit, discover new venues, and meet new and old companions in the field. When an invitation to Jagd & Hund was extended, I jumped on a plane to Dortmund, Germany to explore what’s billed as Europe’s largest hunting show.

J&H isn’t a new affair: 2014 marked its 33rd year, and the show displays all of the confidence attendant with such maturity. Located in Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle, the week-long show (February 4-9 2014) is attended by 75,000 people each paying €16 entry. Given the cheap cost of budget travel, free transport from the airport and more than 700 exhibitors, I thought this was pretty reasonable.

Organised in themes (not unlike the CLA’s villages and rows) for ease of navigation and shopping comparison, the show attracts exhibitors and visitors from 30+ countries. Running alongside the main title theme (Hunting & Dogs) is the new Fisch & Angle (Fish & Angling) show which was free with a ticket to Jagd & Hund.

For those of you intrigued by the Aladdin’s cave collected in the Westfalenhalle, the 34th Jagd & Hund runs from January 27th to February 1st 2015.

Shows are a chance for companies to tempt us with the latest and greatest gadgets, toys and must-have, life-changing bits of kit, and Dortmund didn’t disappoint. As the globe’s military communities improve their kit, we see the benefits in new generations of night vision equipment. Gone are the days of monocular style, hand-held scopes: the latest advance is helmet mounted, binocular kit on a moveable mount so one swivel leaves your eye clear for the rifle sight. Pricey, and
infinitely more difficult to explain to the police as part and parcel of vermin shooting or deer stalking, it was tempting nonetheless (although too big to fit in my hand luggage).
Traditional German hunting equipment abounds, from hunting horns to high seats and lederhosen. I was tempted by attractive wallaby skin trousers, but couldn’t think of a British sporting scenario in which they would constitute appropriate apparel. No. 2 is disappointed, although she did veto a charming pair of short lederhosen when I sent her this picture for approval. Apparently exposed knees and wellies isn’t a look.

In common with the CLA, J&H hosts a series of championships. I missed the deer calling championships, so will spend another year wondering exactly how prowess in deer calling is measured in a exhibition hall. I do have the feeling that the 2012 and 2013 champion Tasso Wolzenburg (below) may have been odds on favourite.

While there was plenty of amazingly different, there were many exhibitors and bits of kit common to British shooting shows. In addition to dreilings (3 barrel gun), double rifles and of course handguns, there were some fantastic ideas for highseats that we don’t see despite Dortmund being as close to the south coast as the Scottish highlands. I arrived home with a selection of German meat products for No.2, plans for highseat renovation and a renewed respect for the diversity of fieldsport practices.