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Doug Koenig: What I've Learned From Hunting in Europe


Editor’s Note: Doug Koenig has hunted all of his life, has been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for 10 years and a professional competitive shooter. He shoots 3-gun tournaments and Sportsman's Team Challenge. He's a handgun world champion and national champion. He's won the Bianchi Cup, the most-prestigious handgun competition in the word, 15 times. He also has a TV show – “Doug Koenig’s Championship Season” that airs on the Pursuit Channel. The show features shooting competitions and big-game hunting. Koenig’s favorite two Mossy Oak patterns are Treestand and Break-Up. But he quickly admits, “I believe I have every pattern that Mossy Oak makes. I use just about every one of them each year, depending on what and where I’m hunting.”

DougKoenig5_llEarly in my hunting and shooting career I never had an opportunity to hunt outside the U.S. and Canada. But over the last 5 or 6 years, I've gone overseas for shooting competitions. I like to experience different cultures and various shooting opportunities. So, now when I go overseas to compete, I like to add 1-3 days to my schedule to go hunting. For me, I really enjoy hunting in Germany. The German hunter’s traditions go back 800 or 900 years. For them, the outdoors is a lifestyle. To pass Germany’s hunter’s safety course requires 6 months of training. So, you really have to be serious, and you really have to want to become a hunter to give up that much time to learn the sport. Their course is as much an outdoor survival course and a nature course as it is a hunting course. 

I’ve found out that hunters around the world don’t all hunt just like we do. Their hunting usually involves a lot more tradition and has much more history behind it than ours does in this country. So, when I go to a competition, being able to stay longer and go hunting allows me to double down with my favorite two activities.  

One of the things I admire about the German hunters is, when they take an animal, they go through a well-defined ceremony to show respect to the animal they’ve just harvested. They're very serious about the ceremony, and I really love that type of hunting tradition. I’ve brought that tradition back to the states with me, and I'm teaching it to my boys. I teach them that you don’t just go out and take animals. Hunting is more about the hunt than it is about the harvest. For me, it’s far more than the hunt and the taking of game. It’s a much deeper, almost-spiritual experience that has to do with who we are, and the traditions we hold so sacred. 

Right now, I'm still filming for shows that will be on this year. This fall, I have some elk hunts with both rifles and archery. I have three or four whitetail hunts and a mule deer hunt. In September, I'm going to Scotland to hunt red stag. In August, I’m going to Maine to hunt bears. Also, I have the Sportsman’s Team Challenge, the Bianchi Cup, and other shooting events that we’ll be filming. 

Doug Koenig: Handguns, Air Guns and .22s

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