Dutch hunter acquitted of shooting German wolf who attacked hunting dogs
A German judge has acquitted a Dutchman who shot a wolf during a hunting trip near Berlin in early 2019. Jan Boomkamp (71) from Enschede said he had to shoot the animal because it attacked some hunting dogs and would not be chased away. According to the Public Prosecution Service (OM), the Dutchman violated the German nature conservation law.
That law labels the wolf as a protected species that can only be shot if it attacks sheep or other livestock. Hunting dogs are not included. Today’s ruling changes that. “According to the judge, shooting a wolf is also justified if it attacks domestic animals such as hunting dogs,” lawyer Friedrich Fülscher told this site after the trial in Potsdam.
In such a case, according to him, there is also an emergency, just like an attack on livestock. According to the Public Prosecution Service, there was no emergency in the case of the Dutchman and he shot ‘intentionally kills a wild wolf despite its protected status, of which he was aware.’ The public prosecutor demanded a fine of 50,000 euros, withdrawal of the hunting license and confiscation of the hunting weapon. The Public Prosecution Service can still appeal against the ruling, but according to Fülscher, it does not intend to.
Boomkamp reacts with relief to the judge’s ruling. “My lawyers said from the start that it would be an acquittal but I had yet to see it all happen. One of the witnesses gave a completely different version of the story than actually happened and put words in my mouth that I never said. For example, I would have asked him to remain silent on the matter, something I would never do. When the prosecutor issued the sentence, I was shocked for a while,” says De Tukker with his brown-burnt face.
Boomkamp, owner of a landscaping company, says he received hundreds of statements of support from people from the Netherlands and from Germany, where his company also has many customers. However, the case also had a dark side. “I’ve also received emails and other messages from people who wished me all kinds of things and who put the name of our company in a bad light.”
As a hunter, the matter did not go unnoticed either. “I’ve been hunting for 52 years, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says, looking back on January 18, 2019. The Dutchman shot the wolf during a hunt with about fifty hunters and dogs in the vast forests of Rädigke in the state of Brandenburg. Boomkamp sat in a so-called high seat, a lookout for hunters. The wolf passed him about ten meters away. “He looked at me and I him. He was not very impressed by my presence. I waved at him and he disappeared,” De Tukker told his lawyer.
After the chance meeting it all happened very quickly. The wolf smelled a few deer away, the hunting dogs a little later too. The wolf immediately turned and attacked some dogs. Boomkamp tried in vain to chase the beast away by clapping his hands, whistling and screaming, followed by a warning shot. Finally he was forced to shoot the wolf.
I had to, I had no other choice”, the Dutchman declared in court. He killed the wolf with one well-aimed shot. “The bullet went in behind it and came out in front of it.” The biggest challenge was not to hit the hunting dogs the wolf was fighting with. “Thanks to my hunting experience I knew how to aim and when to shoot.”
The huntsman informed the police, who drew up an official report. Three hunting dogs were involved in the incident. It concerned a German Wirehaired Pointer, which was ‘open from below’ and had to be treated by a veterinarian, and two German hunting terriers. They belonged to a hunting companion who was too far away to intervene.