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Thread: Chamois and Mouflon in the French Alps

  1. #1

    Chamois and Mouflon in the French Alps

    At the end of September I found myself at Manchester airport en route to Nice in the south of France, after the usual hassle of checking the gun and ammo in I got through to the departure lounge with plenty of time to spare.

    I met my guide Erwan at Nice airport and we headed off to the mountains for the chamois, only he got lost, I pointed out that whilst traversing roads with a drop that can be measured in the 1000's of feet it might be a good idea for me to do the map reading, we eventually arrived at our destination with enough time to check the rifle.

    We were up early the next morning to start the ascent in darkness, I had always envisaged chamois country as being devoid of cover but the mountains were covered in scrub. Just after first light we were checking rock faces and rocky outcrops for chamois. The cloud kept obscuring our vision and we had to wait until it blew over. I saw my very first chamois standing on a tower of rock as the clouds opened up but it was a young male, after glassing several more groups and climbing across rocky outcrops we spied a herd with several good females. We made our way out onto a rocky projection inorder to set up for a shot. The range was only 220 metres and the wind had dropped to a breeze, but the female we were after was at an awkward angle, after much waiting she eventually turned broadside and I placed the shot in her chest. I expected her to drop instantly but her front end was still up, when we approached her she was hanging from a branch by her horns stone dead.
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    We then moved to another location near the Italian border for the mouflon ram, there is no hunting allowed on Thursday or Friday so I had two days to kill, in which I ate and drank rather too much, we had quite a few hikes in the mountains glassing for suitable rams.

    On the Saturday Morning we left in the pitch black to start the ascent, i walked out of my accommodation with the rifle on my shoulder and down the street to the path leading up to the summit, it felt strange walking through the street with my rifle but when in Rome. We were close to the summit just as it started to get light, we could hear the bleating coming from ewes ad young rams. As it got light the guide saw the ram directly below but it was out of sight for me, we made our way down slowly, and the ram began to move out of the cover and up the opposite slope, I quickly got prone and sent a shot into its chest, the ram collapsed at the shot, we waited 5 minutes and made our way down. After a few pictures one of the guides carried the ram down on his back, and we had a celebratory piss up.
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    The Sunday I joined the locals for a driven boar hunt, I never got a shot but still enjoyed the experience it ended up with the customary piss up. Then in the afternoon an old boy took me to see the red rut, the mountains were reverberating with the constant roaring, i felt very privileged to have been able to hear it.

    The hunt was organised through, and I would highly recommend them. Prior to this trip I put a lot of effort into getting into shape by walking in the lakes everyweek, I'm glad I did as I found the walking ok, the chamois hunt was 7 hours of walking, the ground was very steep and included some hairy moments when navigating across rocky outcrops with a back pack and rifle, the Mouflon hunt took 4 hours as we were lucky to get a shot after first light.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Congratulations a fantastic experiece.

    I failed on my firsts attempt at these two. Just booked the flights for another go at the Mouflon with my mate in Germany so fingers crossed.



  4. #4
    Thanks Wayne, good luck with your second attempt and remember to post a report.

  5. #5
    SD Regular johngryphon's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Victoria Australia Sambar country.
    Good hunting,I like the piss up at the end too as no matter what you drink its always tastes so good after a successful hunt.

    Those mountains look good and hard,great hunting for those that dare.
    Dont dither,take the shot!

  6. #6
    that does look stunning scenery i would like to do the chamois in the alps for a comparison to nz. great pictures and she looks a good size . good luck wayne on your next attempt, atb wayne
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by johngryphon View Post
    Good hunting,I like the piss up at the end too as no matter what you drink its always tastes so good after a successful hunt.

    Those mountains look good and hard,great hunting for those that dare.
    John, i could not agree more .


  8. #8
    Great experience and true hunting, well done and many congratulations.
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  9. #9
    Must be the season for it! I had three days in the Gorge of Verdon area and managed to get a Mouflon, a 90 kilo Boar and a Chamois ram, which scraped into the medal class. So, I came home pretty happy!
    Hard going on the first day with slippy limestone everywhere and the top at 1,600 metres, which, without checking, is higher than good old Ben Nevis. We saw quite a lot of animals but, on that particular ground only had a tag for a two year old male which was a tricky thing to achieve. We didn't.
    Day two was easier going for the Mouflon and Boar and we had some great experiences with young Boar only a few yards away wondering what we were. On that ground the Red and Fallow were giving it big licks with the rut so there was a lot of activity. Great views of Ibex too. Some massive beasts but they are protected so we could only look and enjoy. As much enjoyment actually was derived from the multitude of red squirrels scooting around.
    Back to the real hills on the last day for a Chamois. Classic alpine scenery with plenty of animals to see, but, as ever, the challenge is getting the right one. We did and a boy came home from the hills tired but happy. I'll get photos loaded when I learn how to work my new camera.

  10. #10
    Good pics Richard , looks like you had a great trip
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