Anterless deer hunting with a supressor and RWS HIT Short Rifle ammunition
In the Tyrolean mountains where I hunt, the hunting of red deer, especially those without antlers, is one of the greatest challenges. In a forest district where there are sufficient areas of retreat with dense cover, the intelligent red deer masterfully elude intruding hunters. A single shot at the wrong time or in the wrong place can lead to enormous problems for the future hunting of antlerless deer. In many cases the game then becomes "invisible", since it retreats into regions where your chances as a hunter are very low – areas where the terrain gets very steep or the forest provides plenty of cover.
My experience has taught me: Important factors for hunting success are not only my own behavior and the weather and wind conditions but also the hunting of other species of game in the habitat of red deer, which always causes additional hunting pressure. We hunters are therefore always looking for ways and means of making the hunting of antlerless deer as efficient as possible. But at the same time I try as hard as I can not to disturb the game or put it under hunting pressure.
Choosing the right Supressor
The use of suppressors when hunting has only been permitted in Tyrol for about a year, namely since July 2019. Much earlier, however, conversations with friends who hunt – mainly in countries where suppressors have been allowed for a long time – had made me eagerly anticipate using them. After all, everyone was enthusiastic about the effect and benefits of suppressors – also with regard to antlerless deer hunting. So the decision was clear to me immediately: I needed to have a thread cut on my .300 Win Mag and .308 Win manual repeating rifles and purchase two suppressors.
My choice fell on two suppressors from the manufacturer HAUSKEN – the HAUSKEN JD 224 XTRM and the HAUSKEN JD 184 XTRM – since the company has specialized for more than 25 years in the development and production of high-quality suppressors. I would describe the HAUSKEN JD 184 XTRM as a compact suppressor with maximum damping power, designed for standard calibers such as .308 Win or 8×57 IS and representing an ideal compromise between damping power, length, and weight. For my .300 Win Mag rifle my choice fell on its big brother, the slightly longer and heavier HAUSKEN JD 224 XTRM, which is somewhat better suited for larger calibers. The woven stainless-steel web integrated in the manufacturer’s XTRM models enables the damping effect achieved with the normal JD 184 and JD 224 models to be increased still further.
The first test with suppressors on the shooting range
With the new suppressors in my hands, the first step was to test-fire the guns on the nearby shooting range. Before my first shots with the two suppressors, my expectation was that the gunshot would be practically inaudible to me – as I know it only too well from Hollywood movies. With my first test shots, however, I noticed that the bang was still "relatively loud" in terms of volume. But all in all it was a distinctly muffled and different sounding crack than I usually knew from my firearms. I also noticed immediately that the usual recoil from the gun, which sometimes has an unpleasant effect when I am target shooting, was now much lower – especially in the case of my .300 Win Mag manual repeating rifle.
To sum up, I was impressed by the effect of the suppressors right from the start: Reduced gunshot noise and thus a lower risk of hearing damage and also a lower recoil immediately made me a great deal more sympathetic towards my firearms.
The guns, now test-fired with the suppressors, then became my daily companion when hunting antlerless deer. And it didn’t take long before I was finally able to test and experience the effect of suppressors when used in hunting.
Practical test: hunting antlerless deer with the new suppressor
The first opportunity arose on a clear morning in July with a hind which, about 200 meters away on a red deer crossing known to me, advanced in my direction. It was on the move together with an adult animal and a calf – there were no other red deer in sight. I fired the RWS HIT short rifle bullet from my .308 Win manual repeating rifle and after fleeing for an instant the hind lay motionless before me.
To my surprise, the bang of the gun was much quieter than it had recently been on the shooting range. But what surprised me even more: The adult animal and the calf, which both stood not far from the hind at the moment of the shot, looked somewhat confused but did not recognize the danger the way deer normally do when a shot is fired. I also noticed immediately that the adult animal had no idea where the shot came from. So shortly afterwards the deer did not flee but walked further along the crossing with slow steps. I would even have had a good chance of bagging the adult deer and the calf, but I decided against this because in Tyrol the hunting of calves does not yet take place in July.
While I waited in the raised blind for a few minutes, I reflected on the situation once again: Not only is hunting with a suppressor much more enjoyable for me but it also apparently causes much less stress for the game. Furthermore, after a shot has been fired the readiness for renewed firing can be quickly established. This means that at all events one’s shooting efficiency can also be increased at a later time of the year. In autumn several adult-calf duplicates then followed.
The perfect combination: suppressor & RWS SHORT RIFLE cartridge
What I only noticed after a few shots was the fact that – since I have been hunting with a suppressor – I can determine much better whether and how the game reacts. On the one hand, this is due to the significantly reduced recoil, which is particularly advantageous for steep shots (keyword: half-moon on the forehead). On the other hand, by using the suppressor in combination with the RWS short rifle cartridge, the muzzle flash is greatly reduced by the offensively burning powder, so that I can immediately see every reaction of the game immediately after the shot. Under certain circumstances, it would also be possible to fire a further shot in this case. In addition, the reduced muzzle blast significantly increases perception of the bullet impact. As a markswoman I could hear the ball impact in most cases, which was practically impossible before.
Moreover, in the Tyrolean mountain areas long-distance shots of 300 meters and more, including those aimed at antlerless deer, are the order of the day due to the topographic conditions predominating there. So I was curious as to whether and how the trajectory of the HIT bullet in the RWS short rifle line would change through the use of a suppressor. With the ballistic turret set to 300 meters, I fired off the bullets on the 300-meter firing range and noticed that through the combination of short barrels, the use of RWS short rifle ammunition and the suppressor, accuracy at long range was increased even further compared to my previous set-up. This is due to the special features of the short rifle cartridges as well as the technical effect of the HAUSKEN suppressor on the trajectory of the bullet.
Elena's conclusion about antlerless deer hunting with a suppressor and the RWS .308 Win HIT SHORT RIFLE
In summary I can say: The hunting of antlerless deer is more than an obligation. It requires high hunting skill and should be executed very carefully. My chosen combination of a short-barrel rifle, the RWS HIT short rifle .308 cartridge specially designed for short barrels and a high-quality suppressor made antlerless deer hunting a whole lot easier for me!
Although the gunshot is not silent, it is much quieter and therefore less disturbing for the sensitive red deer. Moreover, because of the hardly noticeable recoil I get even more enjoyment from using my .300 Win Mag rifle. The suppressor has already become an indispensable hunting tool for me. In combination with the right ammunition, I will certainly not neglect to use it.
Want to learn more about Elena's hunting experiences? Click here to go directly to her Instagram profile: Alpenjaegerin