A hunting trip to Austria

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
So I flew into Vienna this morning, picked up hire and driven down To Ferlach. I am going to spend tomorrow in Ferlach visiting some of the Gunmakers, and the gunmaking museum. Day after head up to a mountain hut with some German and Austrian friends.

First time to Austria and its stunning. Mind you the signposts read rather like a cold war John Le Carre novel. I had a four hour drive and it suddenly struck me that as an EU citizen i could drive probably 2,000 km on pretty much all points of the compass. I can go where i please. If i like somewhere i can stay a while, a week or month or a few years or a lifetime. I can get a job or start a business, and provide i obey the laws (which are all pretty much the same), pay my taxes i am not going summarily arrested, put in jail, have to go through lots of checks or pay lots of bribes. I certainly cant do that in Africa, Asia, Latin America or even North America.

Every country is different, but provided you have an EU passport it doesnt really matter.

And as a hunter with an EFP i can take my rifle with me.

So why the **** are we throwing this freedom away? And throwing it away for our children and grandchildren.

Instead we want to give absolute power to the likes of Boris, Trump or Corbyn.

But not going let it get me down. I am going to enjoy this trip and will report accordingly b
 

Mick9abf

Well-Known Member
Are you hunting Gamswild?
So I flew into Vienna this morning, picked up hire and driven down To Ferlach. I am going to spend tomorrow in Ferlach visiting some of the Gunmakers, and the gunmaking museum. Day after head up to a mountain hut with some German and Austrian friends.

First time to Austria and its stunning. Mind you the signposts read rather like a cold war John Le Carre novel. I had a four hour drive and it suddenly struck me that as an EU citizen i could drive probably 2,000 km on pretty much all points of the compass. I can go where i please. If i like somewhere i can stay a while, a week or month or a few years or a lifetime. I can get a job or start a business, and provide i obey the laws (which are all pretty much the same), pay my taxes i am not going summarily arrested, put in jail, have to go through lots of checks or pay lots of bribes. I certainly cant do that in Africa, Asia, Latin America or even North America.

Every country is different, but provided you have an EU passport it doesnt really matter.

And as a hunter with an EFP i can take my rifle with me.

So why the **** are we throwing this freedom away? And throwing it away for our children and grandchildren.

Instead we want to give absolute power to the likes of Boris, Trump or Corbyn.

But not going let it get me down. I am going to enjoy this trip and will report accordingly b
What are you hunting, Gamswild? I’m off there in November!!
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Are you hunting Gamswild?


What are you hunting, Gamswild? I’m off there in November!!
Yup - we drew a couple of tags. I have always admired them and really looking forward to spending time getting close and personal to them. Must admit to being in two minds about squeezing the trigger - definitely after a proper old cull rather than a prime trophy.
 

Mick9abf

Well-Known Member
Yup - we drew a couple of tags. I have always admired them and really looking forward to spending time getting close and personal to them. Must admit to being in two minds about squeezing the trigger - definitely after a proper old cull rather than a prime trophy.
Because of the way they are classed you probably want an old one as a wall hanger but anything about 4/5 years onwards and you’ll be delighted I’m sure.

Waidmannsheil!
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Well have a really wonderful day. I spent last night near Ferlach, and this morning pottered into town. First call was Hambrusch Hunting Weapons - Jagdwaffen Ferlach - Used Guns - Barrels - Gebrauchtwaffen. My combination gun was built by them and have spoken with them over the years. Peter Hambrusch kindly gave me an hour of his time showing me lots of their work. It’s a small factory with lots of old hand tools and very happy group of craftsmen. The only bit they don’t make in house are optics and the walnut blanks. Everything else including barrels is hand forged and hand machined and filed.

Quality of work and finish was just amazing. He should several rifles including a 700 NE Falling Block, a double 8 Bore Rifle, a 375 left handed Double as well as numerous kipplaufs. Most of his work is for Austrian clients.

I then spent a couple of hours at Büchsen- und Jagdmuseum im Schloss Ferlach. A really interesting museum on all matters gunmaking. Ferlach has been a centre of steel and gunmaking since the late 1500’s. The local school teaches gunmaking as a subject and many go onto the gunmaking college in the middle of town. There were many many gunmakers in the town. Sadly numbers have declined. Biggest is Glock with 800, then Fanzoj and then still several lke Hambrush with 10 or so craftsmen. Birmingham should have a museum like this, so should Scotland and London.

The rang the door of Peter Hofer - what an absolute treat. The one gunsmith who speaks English showed me some of their work.


The worlds smallest double - less than 1kg in 22 or 17 Hornet. And it handles like a proper rifle and fits my 6ft frame. He also showed me a set of guns all built with a common theme from 410 side by side and over and under, to 12 bore side by side, and over and under trap plus double and bolt action rifles of various calibres. All have a mix of game scene engraving in both Germanic chiseled and bullino styles.

God alone knows how much any one of these pieces of art would be. But long may there be individuals who are willing this type of work.

I took a few photos, but they asked me to keep them private. Have a look at their websites though.

I then drove west parallel to the Austrian/ slivenian / italian border for about 100km.

A good walk up into the forests, followed by a big diner of sauerkraut and roasted meats and an early night.

Tomorrow I am meeting the others early and heading up an Alp. I think this is where we are heading.
 

Attachments

Pine Marten

Well-Known Member
Good luck! Getting up at 4.30am to go up the mountain is somehow a lot easier than doing the same at home.

I just full length resized and primed some RWS 7x65R cases. They're a hell of a lot stiffer than Remington ones!

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

Olaf

Well-Known Member
Well have a really wonderful day. I spent last night near Ferlach, and this morning pottered into town. First call was Hambrusch Hunting Weapons - Jagdwaffen Ferlach - Used Guns - Barrels - Gebrauchtwaffen. My combination gun was built by them and have spoken with them over the years. Peter Hambrusch kindly gave me an hour of his time showing me lots of their work. It’s a small factory with lots of old hand tools and very happy group of craftsmen. The only bit they don’t make in house are optics and the walnut blanks. Everything else including barrels is hand forged and hand machined and filed.

Quality of work and finish was just amazing. He should several rifles including a 700 NE Falling Block, a double 8 Bore Rifle, a 375 left handed Double as well as numerous kipplaufs. Most of his work is for Austrian clients.

I then spent a couple of hours at Büchsen- und Jagdmuseum im Schloss Ferlach. A really interesting museum on all matters gunmaking. Ferlach has been a centre of steel and gunmaking since the late 1500’s. The local school teaches gunmaking as a subject and many go onto the gunmaking college in the middle of town. There were many many gunmakers in the town. Sadly numbers have declined. Biggest is Glock with 800, then Fanzoj and then still several lke Hambrush with 10 or so craftsmen. Birmingham should have a museum like this, so should Scotland and London.

The rang the door of Peter Hofer - what an absolute treat. The one gunsmith who speaks English showed me some of their work.


The worlds smallest double - less than 1kg in 22 or 17 Hornet. And it handles like a proper rifle and fits my 6ft frame. He also showed me a set of guns all built with a common theme from 410 side by side and over and under, to 12 bore side by side, and over and under trap plus double and bolt action rifles of various calibres. All have a mix of game scene engraving in both Germanic chiseled and bullino styles.

God alone knows how much any one of these pieces of art would be. But long may there be individuals who are willing this type of work.

I took a few photos, but they asked me to keep them private. Have a look at their websites though.

I then drove west parallel to the Austrian/ slivenian / italian border for about 100km.

A good walk up into the forests, followed by a big diner of sauerkraut and roasted meats and an early night.

Tomorrow I am meeting the others early and heading up an Alp. I think this is where we are heading.
Really fantastic, lovely to hear about your trip. Please keep on posting a report every day!
Kindest regards, Olaf
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Will keep the posts coming, but hopefully out of comms for a few days.

PM - yup i find RWS brass also hard to resize, but it lasts and lasts. I anneal after four or five loads. Use plenty of lubricant as well. Before loading check they chamber - sometimes you dont quite get the shoulder back enough. Just run them through the die again. If you have already primed just take out the decaper.
 

BryanDC

Well-Known Member
Please keep the posts coming. We spent our summer holiday this year driving from Denmark, down through Germany (stopping to visit Colditz) into eastern Austria and then all the way to Feldkirch in the west before coming back up through the black forest. Fantastic scenery and I often thought about the hunting opportunities.
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
You are a tease Paddy boy, get tot the part where it goes Bang! :). It all sounds great,

John
 

Bavarianbrit

Well-Known Member
Weidmannsheil on the gamsjagd,
My pal here in Germany has a small gunshop and his two sons are presently in the Ferlach school doing the Meister gunmaking course.
Seems there are all sorts of strange things being built off campus.
You have whet my appetite, now I must go to visit the area.
It was my dream when I was 30 to go and do that course but in those days my german was not up to it.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
So am back after a number of days in the mountains and no comms contact - wonderful. A very intense few days, but I am not going to spoil the story. I am not going to mention names or the exact position cos that would betray trust, so I will just use initials.

F rang me and can you pick up S in the morning and he will show you the way up. My two German friends who arranged it had been delayed and would be arriving first thing on Friday. S will bring you up to the hut - but no rush.

After a good walk on Wednesday evening, a good plateful of Sauerkraut and Roasted meets and a litre of local cider, I slept reasonably well but was wide awake at 7. Got up had some breakfast, sorted hunting gear into my pack and all the rest into my duffel bag. Squeezed it all into the Pram - a Fiat 500 Cabriolet Hire Car - quite fun and handles quite well - and then drove it hard up over the mountain pass. Mind you it's all noise and a cyclist could climb faster than it. Followed my sat nav and picked up S. Just a lad, about 14, but with good English and just about to start at the Ferlach gunsmithing school. Over the coming few days was very impressed with both him and his older brother.IMG_4909.JPG

Drove along the valley - through a couple of little towns - lots of little industries - every from high tech to saw mills etc. And then turned right. After about 10km of zigzagging up through alpine pastures, past little ski lifts and villages we came to the end of the tarmac. Park here - so parked next to an old beaten up Susuki Jeep. Loaded all my gear, plus food into the back.

I drive and S drove me up the mountain through lots of mature pine forests. 20 km later of forest roads we came to a littel cluster of three old Alpine Farm houses - we are here. Summer grazing for cattle with the farmhouses being the summer houses for the farmers.

On the way in we meet a lady with a Hanovarian Hound - we are off to look for a Roe Buck.

Met F - he is mid 40's, family has owned the land for centuries - its about 1,500 ha going from 1,000m up to 2,250m. Very like Glencoe, Glen Etive sort of terrain, but with old mature pine forest, rather than plantation forestry. Clearly the forests have been worked and managed for centuries, with mature trees being taken out and natural regeneration (well I am married to a Forester so I notice these things. The forest goes a third of the way up the hills.

We go out later - want a beer or coffee?

So we sit down in the sun on a big trestle table and just chat and get to know each other, whilst constantly glassing the hills.

There's a chamois, says I

No its not, Its a Gams

Whats the difference

Chamois live in France

Gams live in Austria

I rather suspect that the full answer was more along the lines of Chamois live in france, eat garlic, drink red wine and go the the wrong way round the mountain, whereas Gams drink beer, speak Austrian and go the correct way round.

We get the telescope out - he is a nice 5 or 6 year old buck and we watch him as he climbs into a shady ledge on a cliff and goes to sleep.

All the Gams now sleeping - says F

So we go and have a look at the rifles - a choice of a Blaser R8 in 300 Rem Ultra Mag with a big Swarovski Scope and Freyr and Drevic mod, or a K95 with long heavy barrel in 300 Win Mag, with Swar 2.5-15x44. and muzzle break

We shoot long distance - we dial in clicks and just hold on centre of shoulder.

I dry fire the the R8 a few times. It has a very light trigger, and too light for me to really control. I try the K95 - the trigger is light, but much better.

They are shooting 110 grain bullets as fast as they can and most shots seem to me over 200, and typically 300m. My first impression is that is a quite a long way, but then later come to understand why. Range finder binoculars also used, and from what I can gather, are set to give the horizontal distance so that correct dial-in is achieved.

The outdoor fire is lit - this has a large stone slab, takes about an hour to heat up. Other friends of F's walk in - more beer is drunk, about 2pm the lady, who turns out to be F's girlfriend comes back down with another hunter and C who will become the star of the story.

IMG_4919.JPG

and we have a leisurely lunch of Fleish - marinated pork steaks, with grilled peppers and tomatoes plus home grown salad and potatoes. Wonderful. We keep glassing the hills, F brings out a thermal camera and this really helps to pick out the resting Gams. They don't seem to like the sun or the heat at all, so during the day they rest up in amongst the rocks pretty much hidden.

Get you kit, we go hunting says F in mid afternoon. Everything goes from leisurely to full on. Grab my Rucksack - through out half of what's in there - big camera etc. Its hot and humid and big clouds building.

F, S, C and I jump into the Jeep - pretty squeezed - we drive another 3 or 4kms up the track and then get out. And we set off up through the woods.

I am glad I went for several runs and fast walks up Arthurs Seat and the Pentlands, and regret not getting myself up into the bigger hills. I am quickly blowing hard and sweating, don't even try to keep up, just go steady at your own pace I keep reminding myself. After about 20 minutes it starts to thunder hard, and five minutes later we a hiding under overhanging trees to keep out of the rain. Thanks to the rain I recover IMG_4922.JPG.

20 minutes later we set off again and quickly up the side of the valley - IMG_4924.JPG

Its steep but just keep plodding. Every few moments F stops a scans with the thermal. Nothing - so carries on. I come to hate the thermal. At least with binoculars he would have to scan to glass for a few minutes, giving me the chance to catch up and catch my breath and recover from the heart attack, and somebody has stolen all the oxygen cos this is no harder than the Pentlands really, but then remember we are much higher, and bloody hell F is off again with S carrying the rifle just behind him, so just grit my teeth and keep putting one foot well above the other.

40 minutes later we are on the shoulder of a big Corrie. Now we wait.

Its getting towards 6pm - we have a couple of hours till 6pm. Take off soaking wet T-shirt, put on a fleece and windproof and we hunker down and start glassing.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Day job got in the way,

So where was I - sitting on a hillside thinking it looked pretty much like Scotland and then as if by magic Gams start appearing on some of the Rocky outcrops. Now they hadn't walked there - we would have seen them. They are hiding up in caves and cracks it is explained. They are not like deer - not svelt and lythe like a Roe Deer. When undisturbed they are almost Chameleon or prehistoric like in the movements. Everything is very deliberate and slow. I suppose when level of nutrition is low, the air is thin, and one false move can mean a fall to your death then I would be cautious and slow.

We just sit and glass - lost of Gams appear on the mountainsides opposite, and closer to us on our side of the valley are several all somewhat a good distance away, and nothing particularly shootable. We have a chat about what I am looking for. I am not after a huge and expensive trophy - ie a medal type animal. Ideally I would like something reasonable and memorable, but that needs shooting as its doing so well / would never be one of the prime animals. They tend to shoot either poor doing youngsters, or leave until they are 8 or 9.

IMG_4929.JPG

How do you tell the age? - mostly down to the markings on the face. I think (as it was explained to me in a mix of German and English) that on young Gams the black markings are very much more triangular, but get greyer and more like stripes as they get older. Both Bucks and Does have horns - Bucks have much more of a hook and tend to be thinker, whereas females to be longer and thinner.

Not a lot of true wind, so all the breeze is a result of thermal activity - when the sun comes out it heats rocks, which heat the air, and as this warms it runs up along the spines of the ridges and dribbles off the high points. As once explained to me by a very good paraglider pilot - take one of those 3D plastic maps of the mountains, cover it in oil and turn it over - the oil, just like thermals will run up to to then dribble off the high pointy bits. And as the warm air rises, so cold air falls in behind. And there will be a column of rising air up to the clouds and descending air all around. I have a lot of time in and around mountains with paraglider over the years and this movement of air is important. And when hunting Gams even more so. Provided you keep still they are fine, put a quick smell of you and the are off. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Techniques: Finding, tracking and flying thermals in mountains - Cross Country Magazine – In the Core since 1988 - gives more for those who are interested.

The wind is definitely fickle, suspect as once the sun goes down it will turn Catabatic. Warm air down in the valleys will rise and cold air from high up will take its place so airflow is generally down the mountainside during the late evening and early morning, but then then generally towards the large Rocky sun facing lumps and upwards during the day.

We lie low - there is a good shootable Gams along with another two or three working towards us - these might have been the ones I saw earlier as we walked in, but nevertheless they are slowly working towards us. I am all for dropping down behind the hump we are on, moving forwards into dead ground and trying to sneek up on them. F - just wait they will come in. We watch them for a while and they are closing the distance - they will soon be under 300m and thus in range. Frankly I am not too bothered either way - I don't really want to shoot one on my first outing, I am just loving being here.

They are getting closer, we carry on looking elsewhere. Then b...... they have turned tail and are off. The zephyr of breeze was on the back of my neck rather than in my face aaarrrghhhh.

But there are NO MIDGES. Oh what pleasure. And there are plenty of blae berries. The hillsides are covered in them, and over the next couple of days we ate a lot of them. Half a dozen steps, pause for breath, pick and handful, eat and repeat.

And suddenly the sun is below the mountain and its getting dark - time for beer.

We make our way back down the steep bit and then walk back down the river. We stop at a mountain hut - here there is retired ski instructor who spends the summers up there looking after the cattle. He has good English, is very well read - was reading a book on the Highland clearances - and we have beer and schnapps. He spends his summers there, in the past used to spend the winters being a ski instructor, now spends them going on adventures into the high arctic on skis. Walk back down to the car to house.

S older brother A has arrived. He is about 20. F tells me A will take me up the mountain tomorrow and that between you both you have enough English and German to muddle through. Oh and you want out the door by 3.30am because you need to be on the top of Corrie well before first light. So go to bed.......

Have a shower, sort my kit and read for a while - the latest John Gresham novel that I had picked up at the airport - central to the plot is the Bataan Death March Bataan Death March - Wikipedia - and it takes a while to fall asleep.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
I am well awake at 3am - snooze for another few moments and dressed and down in the kitchen with my Kit boiling the kettle for tea. 3.30 comes and goes. These guys are taking the **** methinks. Fill my flask and start thinking about crawling back to bed. At that point A, comes in - we go.

We load up his Fiat Panda 4x4 - cracking little machine and drive up the valley just on sidelights - good job the farmer's use white tape type electric fences cos I cannot see where we are going. We get to the track end - take this and A shoves a six foot long Alpine Stick in my hand. This is a good hazle stick with a sharp steel point on the end. Longer than a typical shepherds crook / stalking stick and no rubber bottom.

The night is very black - no moon at all. A takes his torch, I don't bother - I am normally pretty good night vision and anyway he can show me the way. We set off. I have learnt long and hard, that the best way to start off with a long day in the mountains is to start slowly, indeed start slowly that it feels slow. I am already a bit tired not having slept particularly well, so I just start plodding. And the stick really helps keep your balance over the rough ground. A takes off - he is young, brought up in the mountains and I was 30 when he was born. I am not even to try and keep up. I look up he is already few metres ahead. We are going the same way as yesterday.

After about 20 minutes of stumbling in the dark, A stops and takes off his pack. I catch up. Its warm and muggy so we strip down just a tea shirt. I get my head torch out. Another 20 minutes or so brings us above the tree line, still following the river. Yesterday we turned up to the corie a few hundred metres earlier - we are going to go the far end. We keep following the river. And then we cross. We stop to catch our breath - drink - we drink from the mountain river - you could bottle this and sell for a fortune. Eat a cereal bar. Its still not 5am.

We go up, and keep light to a minimum. We both carry our torches with our hands only letting out a sliver of light. There is a little light in the sky. Its a steep haul, but firm and solid underfoot, - not lots of rocks, nor knee length bilberry bushes.

As we go A, scans with the thermal - I can see the benefit of this - we don't want to bump any Gams or Red deer. We get to the shoulder and stop. Whilst we are hot, its still pretty cool, so off with sweaty t-shirt and on with a fleece and Bergans smock. We scan - still dark - 4 gams to our right about 300m and a bigger group of mothers and young 500m up to our left. We wait quietly as they light starts to develop. The ones to our right just disappear, so we keep climbing towards the others. With wind is still coming downhill. We get to probably 250 metres of the other group, we are on a knoll and we wait.

The light develops and we start glassing. Those aren't Gams, they are Red hinds and calves and they have us pinned down. So we wait for them to settle. There is a big patch of dead ground ahead of us.

Stay here

A moves around the knoll to our left about 30 to 40m. He freezes. After a few moments he comes back.

Two Gams are just over the hump about 200m away. One is a good one that we want to leave, the ideal for me.

Here we go - we crawl forwards till we get to a hump. We look round the hump - there are two good beasts. We study through the telescope. Perfect one for for me to take. But they are on rocks and the shootable one is in front of the one we want to leave. There is no shot from this angle as chances are the bullet would ricochet into the other one. We leave our packs and move quickly 50m up and to our right so as to open the angles.

And the sun has just popped over the horizon, and the downhill wind lessens, and just we are getting into position to take a shot, the first thermal runs up the hill taking our sent straight to them. There is a whistle / snort and they are off.
 

opticron1

Well-Known Member
Funny what you said about the Panda 4X4, bumped into a chef from the western Isles years ago driving one and he swore by it for a go anywhere vehicle. Next instalment keenly awaited!:)
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Come on get up, there are four good gams up on the side of the hill. We can see from outside. Only a 30 min climb into them.

I was fast asleep. After loosing the two this morning we did follow for a bit, but a combination, altitude, thirst, lack of food and general tiredness meant we had trudged back to our packs, drunk tea and ate fruit cake and salami. And refilled water bottles from a stream. Mid morning and sun really coming out. We moved up and across the mountain side so we opposite a large rock face in shade. We chilled out for a couple of hours waiting for a gams to appear. We saw and heard a few marmots or mammules as they call them here. Indeed watch a large male for a while. We thought about staying up there for the day, but at about 1pm the clouds came in and it started drizzling.

So we took the straight way down back to the house. My German friends had arrived after an overnight drive. How you feeling asks F - fancy another walk or do you want to hunt from a seat. I felt strong but tired and needed sleep. Would prefer to walk, but probably a high seat would be more sensible.

Had a quick bite of lunch and got my head down - only to be rudely awaken 20 min later.

Stumbled out and looked through the scope. Sure enough plenty of gams up on the hillside above a nice patch just above the tree line. There was a clear route up to the tree line and then an obvious route in. And we could see the wind was in our favour.

Boots back on, pack and rifle on my back and just a tea shirt. And A and I set off from the house.

Easy enough covering the flat pasture to the bottom of the slope and then we started climbing. It was 50 degrees, reason for gap was it was route of old avalanches. With knee length grass and scrubby bushes. Plant the alpine stick above you. Kick, kick as you kick ti steps and straighten your legs. Plant stick, kick and kick and straighten and repeat and repeat. It was hard work. Who needs a gym or a fitness trainer when you have got this. And you always pretty precarious.

Every few steps you have to pause for breath. Pick a handful of blaeberries and carry on. I suppose 45 minutes later and a few kgs lighter from sweating out lots of shite from the system we were close to treeline.

We pause for a few minutes to recover. In radio comms with F who was watching through the scope. There are some shootable gams ahead. We crawl up to the last tree. Get the rifle out and bipod onto a rock. A is looking through his telescope and a group of gams c250 to 300m ahead of us. They starting up and to the left. Take the left one, which left one - they keep moving, take the middle one on the rock, cross hair above shoulder and b..... me the muzzle blast. I had felt steady but the trigger pull much lighter than i was used to and a clean miss over the top. A muzzle braked 300win has no recoil, but the muzzle blast is horrible. Also shooting off a bipod causes it to bounce.

I was cross and irritated and under pressure and now i had missed. At least cleanly over the top. A had been watching it through scope and saw bullet strike well high above the gams. Not how i wanted to do things, but at least a clean miss.

And them remembered that I had held on its spine as it was about 300m and rifle was sighted at 200. But A had adjusted the turret to dial in 300... aaaaagghhhh.

I was all for just calling it a day at that point. But at A’s incistance we carried on across the face. After about 1/2km we spotted another Gams. We crawled forward through long grass. There was a large rock table 100m ahead. We crawled slowly and got to that rock. We eased our way up onto it. Rifle on its bipod. We double checked the range. Double checked the clicks on the turret. As everything was calm and unhurried I used a jacket to go under the butt of the K95. I was shooting off a benchrest. The Gams was clear in a V of two pines ahead of us. A was looking at through his scope, yes shootable. And it lay down. And just sees its eyes and horns.

Oh well we will just have to wait. I would prefer to be closer. No chance says A - look at those others up there. There were two big Gams on the rocks watching us. If we move everything goes. He will get up soon.

Half an hour later we are still sitting when from stage left shuffles in another make Gams. A has a good look at it. Can you see it? Yes. Shoot it!

Its just slightly quartering away. Remembering to aim dead on, the cross settles in the crease of the shoulder and would take out the opposite shoulder. Taking my time I squeeze the rifle inti my shoulder and the trigger breaks.

Shot feels really good and see bullet strike where I had aimed and the beast falls and rolls down the hill, but goes out of sight.

I am happy, but dont get too excited till we find him.

I make sure we have a clear line between a V on the skyline the tall pine ahead of me and rock - on which we leave our packs and the orange of my reversible fleece.

We head for the shot site, but my heart starts to sink as we get close. We are over large rocky rubble covered in knee length bushes. This is going to be hard going.

By lining things up and reverse ranging we are within a few metres of where it was shot, but find nothing. It rolled down hill, so we searched and searched. After an hour we were loosing the light.

One of three things had happened

1) it had fallen into a cleft in the rocks and then been covered by bushes

2) i had gone a bit high, grazed its back and it had dropped stunned and then recovered and run off

3) i had gone low, hit brisket or leg and it had fallen and run off.

We could nt find any blood trail. A reckoned i had missed it again. I was confident i had it it. BA09B5B8-AC0E-4218-A7C1-3D140230A70F.jpeg

With a very heavy heart i trudged back down the hill. I was cross with myself. A comedy of errors. I was tired - dont be on the hill, i had taken a shot further than comfortable with, with a borrowed rifle. And done that twice. Yes i know that its very accurate etc etc but .........,, i was not happy was a bit of an understatement.

Lots of discussion when got back. But J, my german friend had watched it in his scope. He said he clearly saw and heard the bullet strike, and Gams tumbled and disappeared and definately not got got up again.

Lots of water, a shower and couple of glasses if wine and a kg of meat from the griddle - a whole collection of bits of pig, gams and cow started feeling a bit more human. The app on my iPhone showed I had done over 18.5 km and climbed over 323 stories - each story is c10ft.

F a plan. J, A and I would go back up first with C, the Hanovarian Hound and see if we could find my Gams. If we couldnt find it nor any sign of it being hit then we go and find something else. If we did find it then J wanted to try and get a Marmot.

My head hit the pillow, next thing its 4.30am.
 
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Heym SR20

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Well we found him. We walked back up in the dark. Nice and slowly as well. Given that slope was 45 degrees A and the Hanovarian started working at the bottom as we had thought it might have fallen quite a way.

Half an hour later no sign of it but close to where it had been shot by my reckoning. The hanovarian starts getting excited and pretty much dissapears into a bush. A goes in after and pulls out the Gams. I could just see one foot under the bush.

We had both been with a metre or two of this spot yesterday. I look at my Gams, shot placement perfect. It had gone straight down into the hole.

My main emotion was one of relief. I had n’t missed, nor was there a wounded animal. We take some photos and just take a moment.

Then I look a bit more closely - its got what looks like cream cheese on some of its fur. It also doesn’t smell to good. It has some large abcesses on its neck and on the back bone. Thinking back to the day before, it did n’t look particularly sprightly.

A takes of the head - the glands are full. We leave the meat. It had been 6 to 8° overnight - meat might have been recovered, but with the abscesses definitely not.

Still it was a sick beast and a really good one to take from the herd. Exactly what I was looking for.
 

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