Chamois hunting with the RWS Short Rifle cartridge

4 years ago

The first and the last

RWS Hunting Blog

It is five in the morning. Karl Hörmann, professional hunter with the Bavarian State Forestry Commission, hooks his arms into his light green backpack. “Off we go, Hannes. Let's see if we can find that chamois I picked for you. She's old and is past the age of minding kids.” Off he marches, accompanied by his Tyrolean hound Bella. The sun lies low in the sky, the clouds shrouding the ridges like a grey veil. Hannes follows in Karl’s footsteps. The hiking trail rises steeply ahead. The lake directly in front of us shimmers grey, and the water has receded from the edges. “It's damn hot this summer”, says Karl. “The lake is usually fuller. And it glows emerald green when the sun shines.”

Karl reaches for his binoculars and carefully scans the slopes. “There's some chamois back there between the mountain pine”, says Hannes, peering through his ZEISS VICTORY RF 10x42. He discovers a group of four lingering between the trees. “Billy goats or nannies, Karl?” “We’ll go take a closer look. With the spotting scope. But first we have to walk across the meadow and then climb a little higher.”

A strenuous climb stalking chamois ...

After a quarter of an hour stalking in the shallow terrain, Karl sets up his spotting scope and Hannes leans back. Blessed with astonishing stamina, the triathlete feels perfectly at home. “It’s odd that the chamois don’t run off. They've definitely seen us.” “Well”, says Karl, “they're used to hikers and besides, it's the beginning of August. The chamois hunting season has only just begun, and the animals are not yet shy of the hunt.” Each animal is mustered using a spotting scope and binoculars. None of the five chamois would be suitable for Hannes. “They are all young and middle-aged billy goats”, says Karl. It’s getting warmer as the sun dispels the clouds and the sky above turns radiant blue. The first hikers cross our path. They pass the chamois, which stand 200 m above them in the grey rocks. “Will the tourists see the game?” asks Hannes. Karl: “No, I don't think so.”

Half an hour later, Karl waggles his mountain stick to show the direction for the stalk. “We’ll climb up towards the rocks, then traverse the fields of mountain pines, go over the ridge at the back and then into the ravine. Perhaps she's hiding there somewhere.” The ground underfoot is rocky, with boulders lurking beneath the meadow and between the mountain pines. Hannes drives his mountain stick into the ground to ease his ascent. He's slowing down, becoming more careful. The triathlete has no problem with endurance, but does need to watch his balance, the lie of the land and keep a lookout for crevices.

Hunter leans against the slope with a mountain stick
Das Gelände ist teilweise so anspruchsvoll, dass sich Hannes auf seinem Bergstock gegen den Hang stützen muss.

Hunting chamois with the RWS Short Rifle!

We spot more than 30 chamois as we proceed to the ridge, but none of them are suitable. Karl: "We will take one more break. You never discover them all at once.” From the top of the hill, Karl and Hannes continue to scan the landscape carefully with their binoculars – but still there is no chamois for Hannes. Hannes nudges me: “I don’t think it will work out today.”

The last stage of our hike is coming up: up to the ravine. Traversing the steep slope through loose scree and slippery grass leaves us panting with exertion. But the diagonal stalk is finally behind us after half an hour. In front of us is the gorge, a huge crater, dotted with white shining rocks. And right at the centre, chamois! Female! Karl has already set up his spotting scope and whispered to Hannes “Get ready!”. Hannes puts the R8 on the backpack and racks the Short Rifle cartridge with the SPEED TIP PROFESSIONAL bullet in calibre .308 Win into the chamber.

A Hunter in a mountainous landscape aims at a chamois lying in the grass
Hannes settles down between grass, gentian and rocks. He already has one of the beta goats in his reticle.

“The goat back there, the one on the big, square stone in the sun: she fits the bill! She’s not the one I picked out for you, but the goat is a bit scrawny – and must be ten years old. Besides, she's not leading a kid.” Two animals are gambolling around up ahead. The goat becomes restless, gets up and moves slowly through the scree. Hannes measured the range some time ago: 212 m. No problem when shooting from a rest. Now a quick adjustment of the reticle. Karl: "If she stops, shoot!” The goat drifts sideways to the right into our crosshairs. The shot sounds like the popping of a champagne cork. The chamois collapses in a heap, dropped in its tracks.

“Now you've shot the last chamois of Mittenwald!” The slim lady in her mid-fifties with short grey hair, sporting green shorts and a pink rain jacket, plants her hands indignantly on her hips. Hannes, weighed down by the chamois in his rucksack, from which the head and the legs prominently poke out, manages to dodge the hiker at the last moment. He’s on the way down, while she’s heading up. The climb is narrow and steep, the gravel slippery like soap. Karl stops, shakes his head, laughs and says: “There are so many chamois up there, shooting one of them is hardly an issue.” “I don't believe you! I've been coming here for ten years and I've never seen any!”

Hannes has since managed to regain control of his rucksack and plants his feet firmly in the gravel path. Then he hands the hiker his binoculars and says: “Look through, up there at the big rock, there are loads of them!” She grabs the binoculars and pans over to the rock. “You’re right. There they are. And there are some little ones, too!” She stands there, her mouth agape, catching flies. Karl grins and then grunts: “Come on, Hannes, the chamois is not getting any lighter!” The hiker gives the binoculars back to Hannes, screws up her eyes, continues to scan the terrain and shakes her head slightly. “I wonder how many times I passed by the chamois without noticing.”

Two hunters in the mountains with their shot chamois
Hannes takes the opportunity, hits the goat between the shoulder blades and drops it to the ground, stone dead.

Hannes carries on downhill, the pebbles crunching under his mountain boots. He takes one last look back, before the steep, narrow path sweeps round in a tight curve to enter the valley. The grey-haired woman is still standing there, gazing up at the rocks, incredulous at her own luck. Just like Hannes, who said two hours ago: “I don’t think it will work out today.”

What are the benefits of hunting chamois with the RWS Short Rifle cartridge?

Easily manageable rifles with short barrels are preferably used to hunt chamois. The trend toward hunting with suppressors also means that hunters are increasingly opting for short barrels of between 42 and 55 cm. RWS developed the Short Rifle cartridge to prevent any loss in performance. It has a specially adapted load with highly flammable powder; besides that, the bullet weight has been adjusted and the primer is extremely powerful. What this means in practice: full performance from short barrels! The Short Rifle cartridge also increases the suppressor’s service life because the powder burns completely in the barrel.

Hunting chamois in the Bavarian State Forests

We hunted in the Bavarian State Forests, Forest Section Bad Tölz, where an innovative and successful three-zone hunting concept is in place: Zone 1 = rigorous focus hunting (protected forest restoration, reforestation), Zone 2 = normal hunting (usually forest) and Zone 3 = moderate, selective hunting (habitat of chamois at and above the forest line). We hunted in Zone 3 with its rich wildlife for our PASSION report.

RWS short rifle cartridge draped in front of RWS cap
Hannes used the RWS Short Rifle cartridge chambered in .308 Winchester to hunt chamois in the Bavarian State Forests.

Information: Chamois hunting with the RWS Short Rifle cartridge

The Short Rifle cartridge is available in .308, .30-06 and .300 Win. Mag. and with two different loads as HIT (lead-free) and as SPEED TIP PROFESSIONAL. Both bullets deliver high shock effect and penetration – even at long ranges. In addition, the 8x57 JS and 9.3x62 are available as Short Rifle cartridges with the 10.4 g HIT bullet.

This hunting story was originally published in PASSION 21/2018.