Late nights, when most people turn on the TV to escape their daily routine, Matthias Greiner grabs his hunting gear and steals away in the South German moonlight.
His game is Wild boar. A species that is becoming a real problem for farmers all over Europe. They breed like crazy and destroy vast farmlands while digging for food.
Wild boar is a challenging adversary
Many people think of wild boar as vermin. But for Mr Greiner the boar is a challenging adversary that he respects immensely, and has to work hard to outsmart.
“It requires a completely different technique than hunting for deer or elk. The boar are highly intelligent and can hear and smell you coming from a mile away. To make things even more difficult for the hunters, they typically avoid locations where they have been in danger in the past. And they are only active at night, which means that you have to know where to look for them".
A dynamic hunter
Matthias Greiner has been hunting wild boar for 25 years. He knows from experience how to find the boar and silently sneak close enough to get a clean shot with his rifle.
He describes himself as a dynamic hunter, always moving to position himself optimally. He clearly has a systematic approach to boar hunting, which might stem from the fact that he is a leading engineer at a global German innovation company. He lives and goes hunting just north of Stuttgart.
Highly adaptable species
The Wild boars sense of smell is so sensitive that the animal is used for drug detection in Germany. And their hearing is just as delicate.
It is a highly adaptable species that is found in abundance all over the world. They eat just about anything and grownups weigh in at between 60 and 200 kilograms.
Few natural enemies
The wild boar has a genetic mutation that protects it from snake venom. Just about it's only natural enemy in Germany is the grey wolf, and yeah, people like Mr Greiner.
How to hunt wild boar
"You need to come within 30-50 meters. The way I do it is to reconnaissance by day to find their most recent whereabouts. Since they damage the fields and dig up the ground looking for roots, earthworms and insects, they aren't very difficult to find. At night I return to the scene of the crime. I take special care about the direction of the wind - one little breeze from me towards them and they are gone.
Then I listen for them patiently. To hear them is relatively easy when you approach them with the wind in your face. They are constantly communicating to one another, so they make quite some noise, grunting and squeaking.
When I find them I stalk them carefully, silently sneaking closer and closer until I have a clean shot".
The main challenge of wild boar hunting
The main challenge facing any wild boar hunter, besides having good wind conditions, is beeing quiet enough not to alarm the boar. According to Matthias Greiner it really comes down to your stalking technique and having clothes that are very silent.
Best weather for boar hunting
Mr Greiner prefers to hunt in half moonlight or in city lights reflected in the clouds, because otherwise you won't be able to see the boar even from close range. And if the moon is full, the wild boars might be able to see your movements. So, the best weather for wild boar hunting is rain and wind. Those circumstances give you a kind of audio camouflage, concealing your approach.
You need quiet clothes
"You need clothes that are quiet, wind- and waterproof. That is why Micklagaard is one of my preferred brands when it comes to hunting clothes. There are other hunting brands trying to accomplish this using other fabrics, but loden (vadmal) is the best if you ask me. And Micklagaard has the most wind- and waterproof Loden fabric I've found. And it is very warm".