Skip to content

Ongoing dispute: Will the amendment fail because of the wolf?

Should wolves be allowed to be hunted? This is the sticking point that threatens to derail the new hunting law in the governing coalition. All three partners have different views.

A European wolf (Canis lupus lupus) sits in the forest at Schorfheide Wildlife Park.
A European wolf (Canis lupus lupus) sits in the forest at Schorfheide Wildlife Park.

Hunting law - Ongoing dispute: Will the amendment fail because of the wolf?

Despite a long struggle, the planned reform of the hunting law by Brandenburg's Agriculture and Environment Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) still has a difficult time in the governing coalition. It is unclear whether the bill will make it through the state parliament before the state elections in September. The sticking point seems to be the wolf, which is strictly protected in Germany.

In response to an inquiry, the ministry in Potsdam stated: "The amendment to the hunting law is currently in the cabinet process. It can be assumed that the inclusion of the wolf in the Hunting Act will be discussed in the parliamentary procedure when the draft bill is submitted to the state parliament." Vogel rejects this.

The wolf is currently subject to nature conservation law in Germany and is not considered a huntable species. Up to now, the handling of wolves has been regulated in an ordinance.

Wolfgang Roick, environmental policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, told dpa that the coalition partners SPD and CDU are in favor of including the wolf in hunting law. This is already the case in Saxony, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. "I think it would be good if the hunting law were still to come", said Roick. However, he fears that this will not happen in this legislative period if Minister Vogel refuses to include the wolf in hunting law.

CDU member of state parliament Ingo Senftleben took a slightly different stance. He said he regretted that the amendment to the hunting law was so closely linked to the inclusion of the wolf. "It's about much more than the wolf issue." The hunting law reform should not be put on the back burner. "The government has been blocking itself for two years," said Senftleben. "It will be more difficult to find a solution in the election year."

The State Hunting Association has long been calling for wolves to be included in hunting legislation in order to curb an increase in the population. In July 2023, however, Minister Vogel said that the coalition agreement did not provide for the inclusion of wolves in hunting law. SPD parliamentarian Roick now said: "That was four years ago - since then the population has risen sharply."

In future, it should be possible to shoot individual wolves that prey on livestock within a certain radius more quickly. The federal states are working on new regulations for this. This does not involve active and more general hunting of wolves.

However, the European Commission wants to relax the strict protection rules for wolves. In December 2023, the Brussels authority announced that it was proposing to lower the status of wolves from "strictly protected" to "protected". This would allow wolves to be hunted if this does not jeopardize the conservation of populations.

After long disputes with coalition partners SPD and CDU over a new hunting law, the Green Minister of Agriculture and Forestry presented a compromise proposal in the summer. Among other things, the hunting law reform provides for more obligations for hunters and more influence for small forest owners. The aim remains to reduce tree damage caused by game browsing in order to promote forest conversion with mixed forests. More animals are to be shot.

Read also: