Chamois & Ibex
Our Chamois and Ibex hunting takes place in Alpine and Eastern Europe, as well as parts of Spain.
Chamois (Rupicapra.) and Ibex (Capra.) are the ballet dancers of the mountain cliff edges, passing up mountain slopes that look inaccessible, leaping from ledge to precipice, balancing on the tiniest of ridges - living their lives in alpine and sub-alpine meadows habitats above the timberline, wintering on steep slopes or flatter forested terrain where snow does not accumulate.
Chamois and Ibex are herbivores; they only eat vegetation, such as shrubs, bushes and grasses. Grazing accounts for a significant part of their eating habits. The low nutritional value of their diet means they must spend much of the day eating.
Hunting Chamois and Ibex requires a hunter to be in good physical condition, often stalking in from above, at altitudes of 400-1800 metres above sea level - through high alpine scree for the Alpine Ibex or through Mediterranean forest and karst topography, the favoured habitat of the Balkan Chamois.
Hunting in these areas is a great experience, with fantastic views of the mountain landscapes or the Adriatic Sea and the islands.
The Alpine Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra) are widely distributed in the central European Alps, with increasing sustainable populations from France to Slovenia.
The Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is larger than the Chamois Alpine, and can be found in large numbers in mountains of the Adriatic coast.
There are two Iberian Chamois in Spain; the Pyrenean Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is larger, more robust with heftier horn, than its Iberian sister, the Cantabrian Chamois, but slightly smaller than its Alpine cousin. Its hide is yellowish in the summer and darker in winter, with a buff-coloured throat and a black tail.
The Cantabrian Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva) is the smallest chamois in the world. Its coat is reddish in the summer and tending to light grey in the winter, with a brownie-red tail.
The Chamois hunting season varies across the countries of Europe, and often by region but generally the season runs from September to December.
The rut, the breeding season, begins in November, and is one of the best times to hunt Chamois.
The Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex), also known as the Steinbock or Bouquetin, was once restricted only to the Italian and French Alps, until reintroductions at the turn of the 20th century into Switzerland. Today, there are increasing sustainable populations through the European Alpine regions of France to Slovenia.
There are two Iberian Ibex sub-species, generally known as “Macho Montes“; Gredos Ibex (Capra pyrenaica victoriae) or Western Spanish ibex, and the Beceite Ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) or South-eastern Spanish ibex.
The Gredos Ibex is slightly larger than the Beceite Ibex, with lyre-shaped horns that have a pronounced curve and spiral turn. Hunting can be challenging in the winter, with the cold, rocky high-altitude terrain of the Sierra de Gredos mountains.
Different to the Gredos Ibex, the Beceite Ibex, of the Beceite and Maestrazgo mountain regions, have horns that expand to sides like airplane wings.
The Ibex hunting season varies across the countries of Europe, and often by region but generally the Alpine Ibex season runs in central Europe from September to December, with the Iberian Ibex seasons starting in September (Gredos Ibex - September to April) and finishing in May (Beceite Ibex - November to May).
The rut, the breeding season, for all Ibex starts around late November to December, and typically lasts around six weeks.