Best Hunting Clothes for Germany – As a Driver
The German hunter has adopted a practical attire because of the controlled nature of the hunt and long-standing customs. The coloring of German hunting clothing provides maximum camouflage and maintains a semblance of uniformity throughout the hunting fraternity. Green is the predominant shade worn by German hunters, although varying shades and combinations of green, brown, and gray are common.
The formal dress is composed of green suit (or Trachtenanzug) white shirt and green tie or bolo tie. When attending another hunter’s funeral, all hunters are expected to wear a black tie.
More recently, German hunters have begun to modernize their clothing. Today you will see many hunters wearing surplus military clothing, as well as modern orange jackets. Camouflage suits or jackets like Real Tree or Mossy Oak are also popular.
Hunting as a Driver
There are two situations to consider when hunting in Germany. When you first start hunting you will be expected to gain experience by being a driver, in this case you need clothing that not only will protect you from wind and rain but also protect you from the brush and briers you will encounter while pushing game through the woods. And, of course, you must also consider safety since as a driver you will be heading directly towards other hunters and you will want to be easily seen by the hunters that are sitting in their ansitz or sitting at the edge of the forest or fields as you come out.
The jacket in this environment needs to keep you warm. It has to be insulated well enough to keep the heat in and the cold out. It should also keep the wind out, in other words be windproof. On the other hand, it should also allow for heat to escape when on the move. Driving animals can get pretty hot as you are moving through tall grass, mud, bushes, and up and down hills. You can see what it is like to be a drive on a hunt in my [2016 Drive Hunt video].
As a driver you are going to want to have a lightweight to medium-weight jacket that is breathable. You will be walking anywhere from one to six hours depending on the area that will be covered in the drive hunt. You will want to have plenty of chest pockets so you can grab a drink of water or have something to eat while on the move.
You are going to want to be wearing hunter orange either on the jacket or as a safety vest over the jacket. In Germany, you are required to have orange safety vests in the car for each passenger plus the driver. So, I just brought out my safety vest from the car and put it over my jacket. You can see it in my About Me picture on the right side. It does not have to be fancy it just needs to help you be seen as you are driving through the terrain towards the seated hunters.
Depending on the temperature you may want to wear thermal underwear as well as pants as a driver. These will help to keep you warm while waiting for the drive to start or when you come to frequent stopping points as the line of drivers even out. Not all drivers can move at the same speed due to the terrain that they encounter so you may be starting and stopping frequently.
As a driver you are going to want to wear pants that are waterproof and can protect you from brush and briers. Plus, when taking a break you may want to sit on a log or rock and it could be wet or covered with wet moss so staying dry is important even if its not raining.
Another factor to consider is that if you are driving wild boar you may want to invest in pants that can protect you from boar tusks. Their tusks are literally razor sharp and when confronted they are not afraid to try to knock you down or go for your legs with their tusks. Last year, 2017, there was a hunter who was killed by a boar during a hunt in Germany. [Hunter dies after wild boar he was trying to shoot gored him] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hunter-wild-boar-gored-death-killed-germany-greifswald-a8092406.html The big disadvantage of cut proof pants is their weight. After driving all day through all different types of terrain, I was totally exhausted and could barely move my legs.
Believe it or not the hat you wear as a driver and hunter in a sitting position is different and important. You will want to wear a hunter orange hat so you are easily seen by the hunters at the end of the drive. And, you will want to wear something that can protect your ears from the cold either as part of the hat or separately. It is better to have something that conforms to your head otherwise it will get easily knocked off when navigating through the brush. You will find yourself continuously reaching down to pick up your hat. The hat is bound to get wet and dirty, as well. A cap with a brim is good for sunny days and rainy days, too. On sunny days it helps to keep the sun out of your eyes as the sun is lower this time of year. On rainy days it will help to keep the rain out of your face and if you wear glasses to keep the rain off of your glasses.
Gloves are very important for a driver because you will be knocking brush clear of your path and you will encounter thorns as well as other sharp objects. You will want the gloves to keep you warm and dry. An attachment for the gloves would be convenient when you need to recycle some of that coffee you had in the morning without having to find a dry place to put your gloves. They can be attached to your coat sleeves or to a belt loop.
For the driver the boots or footwear that you have on could be the most important article of clothing you wear. After all, you are going to spend the entire time standing and walking through water, mud, grass, and brush. You will be going up and down hills, following animal paths and walking along gravel roads.
If you bike a lot you are not going to buy the cheapest tires for you bike, nor are you going to buy the cheapest tires when you drive on the autobahn at 100 miles per hour plus. Why would look for the least expensive pair of boots when you will be dependant on them to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable when walking all day long?
Your footwear needs to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The weight of the boots is also important because you will be lifting them up every step of the way during the drive hunt. If you walk through mud you do not want them to keep all of that mud on the bottom of the boots because that increases the weight dramatically. You may also be walking on wet rocks at times so you do not want them to be slippery on a hard wet surface, either.
Socks can make or break you on a drive hunt. Basically, you are going on a long hike and going to be covering several miles over all sorts of terrain. I have learned to wear two pair of socks on long hikes. By doing this the socks slide on each other and there is no sliding of the sock over your skin continuously, causing a blister. A blister is the last thing you need on a drive hunt because once you have started you go until the finish because that is where the trucks are going to pick you up. Good wool socks are important for keeping your feet dry and warm.
The biggest thing to protect your ears from in this case is the cold. If your hat does not have ear guards, then buying separate ear muffs is a good idea. The other thing to protect your ears from are branches and brush if you get going through some heavy brush. I have sensitive ears so if I am doing any walking at 50 degrees or below I wear my ear muffs. At the least, it prevents me from getting an earache.
As you can see by what we discussed up above there are a lot of things to consider when driving the game to the hunters and what you wear is very important for your comfort. Afterall, a drive hunt could last anywhere from four to ten hours with lunch in between.
In the next post we will talk about what to wear as a hunter in Germany sitting in an Ansitz or at the end of the forest or field waiting for the game to come to him.
Coming soon will be a recommended gear page just for hunting clothes to be used in Germany and wherever else you like to hunt.
In the meantime, what experiences have you had as a driver in Germany? Is what I’ve said accurate? Do you have any further suggestions?
Let me know in the comments below!