It took Hans the
better part of an hour to tell me about "The Impossible Examination,"
and it may not be impossible for the people of the Federal Republic of Germany,
but it would have been impossible for any hunter I ever knew in the United
States of America.
Hans started off
with, "The severity of the examination has no weaknesses," and syntax
aside, he wasn't kidding. As many as 50% of those taking the examination to
hunt in Germany fail it, and they fail it even after the year of mandatory
apprenticeship to a professional hunter or after taking the minimum 100 hours
of courses, even after their local police provide the required character
reference, which would automatically eliminate most of the hunters I knew.
Impossible Examination" has three parts: the three-hour written exam in
January where you have to get 75 out of 100 right to go on to the second part;
the practical examination of ability to shoot and handle firearms where you
have to be nearly perfect to get to part three; and finally, the three-hour
oral examination. The orals begin in May and the examiners go through the
candidates alphabetically, which means if your name is Zaslofsky you're going
to have a pretty tired examiner.
Taking the written
exam is like taking the final in brain surgery at Johns Hopkins. There are 300
to 400 people in a room in absolute silence. At 9 a.m. a tiny bell rings, and
three hours later, at noon, it rings again, and that's it. No going to the
bathroom, no cigarette break, no questions, just the bell ringing twice. I
asked Hans to write down some of the questions he remembered. See how you'd do.
See whether you'd get 75% right so you could go on to the second part.
1) Cite three
kinds of foods given wild ducks during natural food shortages.
2) Describe the
difference between the male and female mallard during the summer.
3) What is the
dangerous range of 4mm shot?
4) Which among the
following calibers are particularly suited for deer—9.3 x 62, 9.3 x 74R, 7 x
57, 8 x 68, 6.5 x 57?
5) Cite four kinds
of leashes that are indispensable in training dogs.
6) The dog that
retrieves, must he be seated in order to give over the game?