Hunting Chinese water deer – gold medal buck – Zeiss HT review

It has already been a successful morning. Ralph Nebe and Stefan Buehring from Zeiss Sports Optics have both bagged a muntjac buck in Bedfordshire. But this is a day of success for both the hunters and Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. This little deer is a particular favourite with German hunters.

This visit filmed in November 2011 is extra special. A new range of Zeiss optics are getting their first  outing before their official launch at the Guntrade Show IWA. Ralph has the first scope and binoculars off the production line from the Zeiss Victory HT range. He is confident that this high transmission glass technology will keep the competition in the dark.

The Victory HT is the successor to the FL binocular. HT is a similar idea to the FL and has  high transmission glass inside it, made by German glass specialist  Schott. “It gives 95% light transmission, possibly more,” asserts Ralph.

We have already shown Stefan using the new Conquest HD binoculars. They were launched at the 2012 Shot Show in Las Vegas. It’s not often that a manufacturer offers such a lot of new products in such a short time. It means exciting times for Zeiss’s UK distributor Mark Karn. “It’s all go at the moment,” he says.

Ralph with his Muntjac
Ralph with his Muntjac

After everyone has had a chance to play with a shiny new optics on the range near Zeiss pro stalker Paul Childerley’s stalking ground, we head off with Ralph and Paul to see whether we can get a Chinese buck before dark.

We stalk through a number of areas, working through woodland and open fields.

Several times Paul tells Ralph to get ready on the sticks. A Chinese water deer is in thick cover and successfully avoids the cross hairs. In the denser woodlands we make out shadows, but we want to hold off for a good buck.

Paul brings out the buttolo call to see what it will deliver. It worked like a dream this morning. An inquisitive doe shows herself and stands her ground just 20 yards from us. It really is a wonderful moment when you can stop, keep still and stare.

Working through woodland
Working through woodland

This is all very well, but where is our Chinese water deer buck? Paul suggests settling in a high seat for half an hour, this delivers nothing so with light fading fast it’s back to the open fields which is where Ralph spots a buck. The camera has no chance of picking it up in such poor light, but Ralph takes an excellent shot. Paul is happy with the result.

“This is a gold medal Chinese similar to the one you shot before” explains Paul. “A good shot taken just on the edge of darkness which is ideal really, just to catch him just before he went out of reach. Good shot – well done.”

Gold meadal pleasure
Gold medallist: happy Ralph

Thanks for guiding me” says Ralph.

If you are thinking of buying binos like these, we found these prices for the Zeiss Victory HT range:

Victory HT 10×42
Zeiss Shop: £1815
Amazon: £1539.90
Victory HT 10×54
Zeiss Shop: £1990
Victory HT 8×42
Zeiss Shop: £1770
Amazon: £1,449.99
Victory HT 8×54
Zeiss Shop: £1950