Well where do I start??? I could start by saying I hate heights but have always dreamed of hunting Chamois in the Alps good choice eh??
Andy and I have just returned form two hunts which I thought I would never have a chance to take part in.
As you all know from the write ups Iput on here we have made some great friends home and abroad through hunting.
This year Andy and I had several invites off generous friends but unfortunately we have to work and spend some time at home so couldn't do it all this year.
We had planned to go to Austria thisyear after a kind invite by my friend Franz so we decided to make ita longer trip and fly on to Germany after and hunt with our friends Michael and Heini.
Michael had invited me to try and fulfil another of my dreams and try for a Mouflon ram.
We flew from Birmingham to Bratislavato be collected by Franz and a short drive to his house in Austria for some food and a late night with too much beer and whisky.
Next morning we travelled to south west Austria about 10 miles short of the Italian border to our hunting area.
We drove up into the mountains to a beautiful village to be greeted by rain and cloud, fortunately the forecast was better for the next couple of days.
We met our guide Sep and eventually abreak in the weather just before dark they decided to go up the mountain
We had about a 15 minute drive though the village and up a logging road I was travelling with Sep who thought his Suzuki Jimmy was a was a WRC rally car around all the hairpin bends and the logging roads with the shear drops back downthe mountain, luckily he had to wait for Franz who was struggling to keep up in his VW Golf with the crazy Suzuki driver.
We decamped the vehicles at the end ofthe logging road and in the failing light headed up the mountain we walked up a rocky gulley cut into the mountain by a stream. After half an hour it was dark and we were walking with head torches eventually we crested the first hill then headed down into a valley where the cabin was situated.
We arrived at the cabin in about anhour which I'm sure Sep would do in about 30 minutes but made to feel better after he told us his last guest took 3.1/2 hours to do the same.
A bite to eat and a beer which was rationed as we had to carry them up the mountain and it was off to sleep in our snug cabin. Andy and I had a bunk beds Franz was on acamp bed and Sep was lying on the bench around the dining table.
After a good nights sleep and a quickbreakfast we were greeted by our first real view of the mountain WOOOWWW.
It was a beautiful crisp morning with alight fall of snow on the higher ground. Above us way up themountain we could see maybe 50 Chamois grazing on the slopes.
I was looking at them thinking to myself “well there safe up the high, surely we won't be going upthere” Ohh how wrong I was.
HALF WAY UP WITH THE CABIN BELOW
We headed off down a the valley and along the wooded stream and then started to climb after about half an hour we started to see Chamois the first group Sep watched for a few minutes before deciding that there wasn't a “shooter” amongst them.
We eventually made it to a blind wherewe had a good view of the slopes and a gulley below us. Lay in the trees not more than 100m's away there was a nice mature male and feeding between the trees were the group we had seen earlier,unfortunately none of these on our hit list.
Above us on the slopes there were probably another forty to fifty Chamois feeding but unfortunately they were feeding away from us just out of range.
One thing Franz told me about this area which he loved was that the Chamois in this valley never saw hikers so were very wild an switched on to a hunter and seemed to know a safe range.
VIEWS FROM THE BLIND
We moved on up the mountain to a meadowwhich was stunning right below the mountain tops. We lay there for afew hours taking in the very very hot sun and drinking the fantastic fresh, cold spring water.
Sep was watching a group over anothe rravine we stayed put hoping some would feed back down the mountain but they stayed in the tops safe from us.
We headed back down to the cabin whichwas a dot in the distance and had our evening meal supplied and carried up by Franz and knocked up by our man of many talents Sep.
SEP THE COOK
After another of our beer rations, some schnapps and some Jaegermeister it was time for bed again.
Next morning I was told the good news that we were heading up to what I thought was the out of reach meadows directly above the cabin. I must admit I was slightly nervous. I had a wash in the freezing spring outside the cabin to wake myself up and a quick breakfast I was as ready as I would ever be.
We headed off in the dark down across the steam and then started to climb after about 20 minutes I decided I had more layers than I required and stopped in a cloud of steam and remove a couple of layers.
We continued our climb until we got toa blind built on a tree hanging over a ravine “NICE”
There were about fifty Chamois spread out up the slopes, Sep picked out a young male which was what we were after and put the range finder on it 350 yards and every one lookedat me expectantly.
I had a look through the 3-9 scope andthought F*** that looks a long way. I had practised at 300mtrs before coming out but with my own kit and twice as much magnification. 350yards was further than any deer I had ever shot at home.
I took the shot and missed, in hindsight I wish I had turned it down but I felt everyone had worked so hard to get me this opportunity so took it but really I should have listened to my inner thoughts and turned it down. We live and learn at least it was a clean miss just to the front of his chest.
VIEWS FROM THE SECON BLIND
THE CABIN BELOW
Sep decided to try and skirt around the mountain and come over the top and try and get above the Chamois, Imust say that this thought didn't excite me as the route was steeper than anything I had been on it wasn't the climb that I didn't likebut the fact that if you slipped there was f*** all to stop you for along long way.
A LONG WAY DOWN
SEP THE MOUNTAIN GOAT
We started off around the mountain andI was slowly getting more and more out of my comfort zone.
Eventually when we were climbing on allfours due to the near vertical slopes so much so that they weretaking the piss out of my bold head from above and the sight of Sepjumping over a ravine I said that's enough for me sorry guy's.
Call me a wimp but I'm a live one as Isaid to Franz I went to Austria to enjoy myself and at that moment Iwasn't so F*** it.
We headed back down to the blind andSep tried to get above the Chamois to see if they would head down into range but they were way too high even for “Sep the mountaingoat”.
He then took a “short cut” along the top of the mountain and down a near vertical slope back to us. At this point it confirmed my fears and I told him he was a “bloodynutter”
We headed back down to the cabin our hunt done, me thinking about my poor shooting skills and head for heights.
We spent the late afternoon at the cabin with me giving it a hug when I got there.
Later on we walked the hour or so walkback down the mountain to the cars.
Then my already shot to pieces nerves had to suffer Franz playing down the windy mountain roads while saying have you seen the huge drop this side, I think I told him to F*** off.
We spent the evening in the beauty ofthe village in a luxorious guest house, I never thought a shower could feel so good. Then a good meal and a few beers at the local pub before bed.
The next morning we had an early startas we were flying from Klagenfurt airport to Cologne for the next adventure hopefully on flat ground.
Although I was out of my comfort zone afew times and I missed the shot I had one of the most fantastic experiences of my life and lived one of my dreams. So a big thanks to Franz and Sep who I still think is a nutter.
Dream Hunt number 2 in Germany to follow.