Experiencing Chamois by reaching the Summit

From a very young age, I was always inspired about the conditions were and how Alpine Chamois live at. The experience was incredible, which emerged memories to cherish throughout my lifetime.

After meeting Tomo Svetic, our hunt organizer and good friend at Vienna airport we started our 5-hour journey to the Slovenian Alps, where we planned to hunt the astonishing Alpine Chamois. We arrived late at night, and climbed to an altitude of 1,100 meters on the Julian Alps, bordering with Italy.

We then were told that we need to walk around 400 meters to reach our lodge, a small cabin erected to provide shelter for hunters and guests from all the extreme weather conditions that one could imagine.

We immediately ignited some fire, to warm up the inside of the cabin, where the current temperature was around 1 degrees centigrade. Pitch dark outside, we only could see white snow summits on adjacent mountains, reflecting the light contrast by the moon’s first quarter.

Anxiety and emotions were high, and in the morning at about 4:30, we woke up and I cooked some bacon and fried eggs on the low-emitting heat generated by the stove, for the team to sustain the energy needed for the day ahead.

Got the rifles, my crew loaded the filming equipment and met our local guides. Upon greeting, we moved to lower ground and checked zeroing of our rifles. The rifle accompanying myself was the Sauer 404 Synchro XTC, chambered in 6,5 Creedmoor, while geared up with the Zeiss Victory V8 1.8-14×50. Ranged at 100 meters due to the ASV requirement (Bullet Drop Compensator), the zeroing was perfect, as the 143-grain Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X heads propelled down range and hitting the target at an astonishing muzzle speed of 2,700fps.

The local guide said all seems good with an overwhelming smile. My friend that was accompanying me also checked his sighting, and we were ready to hit the tracks to go up the steep mountains. A northerly force 7 wind was blast freezing our faces, thankfully the continuous movement and tracking helped our bodies to warm up comfortably.

After approximately one hour, one of the guides stopped while glassing with his binoculars the ridge just above where the snow was at approximately 700 meters of distance. He said there are two Chamois, while we were also glassing the ridge, it was indeed an exciting moment seeing the first chamois, and a herd of another eight chamois was observed laying down while taking shelter under rocks from the cold, windy conditions.

After deliberating, the idea was that we would split up and hunt two different part of the mountain. We could not take any chamois, but only mature 6-year old or older male chamois could be taken. From the respective concession, the local hunting association carefully selects 28 chamois as part of their sustainable management plan.

We reached an elevation of 1,800 meters, and a drastic decision had to be taken. We could not get any closer than 360 meters from the herd. While was laying down, I was assessing the ballistic calculations and corrections needed by the Zeiss Hunting App. As I was using the ASV Ring 5, it was easier to address respective range. Time was passing by, the guide was assessing the herd, and at one point, just beyond the peak, we have seen a small avalanche that moved downward were the herd was.

Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 143grains ELD-X

The Chamois got spooked and started moving fast further away from our position, and at that point I said… ‘we lost our chance, and we have to start again from the beginning.’

Mirko the guide said, look two are turning back, and we have seen two chamois moving down the ridge to a rocky spot just were the chamois were taking shelter from the wind. We waited for approximately 20 minutes, just to get a glance of them, and at one point one got on the top of an alpine rock and instantly the other also. Both Chamois were evaluated, and both could be taken in respect to the careful management of the concession.

I range found twice to be sure that I am addressing the correct distance. The Zeiss Victory RF calculated the distance of 189 meters. As per the ASV 13 clicks were needed for 300 meters, I corrected to 11 clicks due to the shot going to have a positive inclination degree. I asked my cameraman if he’s ok, and he said that all is ok. The Chamois was positioned frontal, and with the wind, I was hoping that the animal will turn to its broadside, while continuously rubbing my index finger to my thumb to keep blood circulating and my fingertip warm. As we were laying down for some time, I started losing the feel of the index finger.

At one point, the Chamois turned, I asked my cameraman again if he was ok, my guide said ‘take it,’ took a deep breath, exhaled, and concluded the shot. The moment when time literally freezes, thinking of the journey, organization, and the stalk we did, it was up to me to conclude the whole scenario., An ethical and effective shot was thankfully taken. Relieved I turned on the guide and smiled while trembling with emotions and adrenaline.

“Wildlife must not be just hunted, but equally important is the conservation and understanding the importance of wildlife in nature and based on this, the restraint of one’s passion.”

The hunt was not yet over, we walked further up the summit to retrieve the carcass. Traditional last-bite traditional ritual was celebrated.

At that point we got a call from the other party, confirming that successfully they also had taken another chamois. We started our ways back down the mountain, with a great smile and emotions that fortunately only us hunters can experience, but cannot explain to others.

Ontario Knife Company – Bushcraft Utiliy

We met the other party while going down, and stopped for a light snack prepared locally by the guides, mainly game salami, and local alpine milk cheese while recounting the whole event.

From a very young age, I was always inspired about the conditions were and how Alpine Chamois live at. The experience was incredible, which emerged memories to cherish throughout my lifetime.