In search of a representative winter chamois headmount

The rifle recoiled against my shoulder and shortly afterwards I uttered my favourite expletive-twice! Pulling the bolt back carefully I cupped the prized empty Lapua case and slid it into the pocket of my Ridgeline jacket and then rammed home cartridge no.2. The buck raced headlong into the gut and out of view his four does did likewise. One remaining animal loitered at the head of the gut staring intently downward. The range was 330 meters. I knew for sure for  I had just ranged the buck at a similar distance some minutes earlier. I lined her up and squeezed the trigger and she folded and rolled down the slope and out of sight. Briefly there was a pause in the action and I had enough time for me to think maybe I had hit the buck afterall and it was his last run of desperation that I had witnessed. Just then two animals exploded out of the gut a doe and kid they angled away to my left. I really only wanted another two to emerge out of there for there was five and counting the buck six in total. Another blur of bodies one, two oh no! -I groan inwardly- a third and it is the buck all three making strong strides directly away from my position the two doe’s carry on and the buck veers away to the left……

Now at 450meters he pauses briefly and I have rotated the cds to the same number but pass on the shot and then he is gone out of sight.

I make the trip over to inspect the fallen one and find that her horns are small and not worth taking however the skin is prime and so I begin to relieve her of it. With the job done I take the time to walk out to where I last saw the buck and scout around for any sign of a hit but draw a blank. I had spent a long time on these animals observing and filming them for well over an hour and it was only when the suns effect on the landscape began to tip the balance of power away from me and change the direction of the slight breeze toward the noses of the animals that I had decided to take the shot. Otherwise I would have waited and felt sure the mob would have fed on up to me eventually. So it was the long road back to camp finally arriving home at 5pm. It has been a long day so I waste no time in making dinner and hitting the sack.

The previous day I had walked in to my camp deliberately leaving it late in the afternoon so that I could hunt a little area I was fond of in the hope of securing some fresh meat for the trip. I was not to be disappointed and picked up a mature 6 point stag.

It was a little after 5 a.m. on day 3 and my watch interrupts my sleep pattern. A short time after that I am following the beam of my headlamp into untracked bush and climbing for the tops. It is a lonely world in which you live when you travel by the light of your head torch that radius of light at the end of your beam is where your full attention focuses and anything outside of that simply does not exist.

The early rise is all worth it though when the sky lightens and you at long last can switch off the artificial light and the shapes and contours of the surrounding landscape begin to make sense. Good too to see that the open country is at hand as well.

Not long after edging slowly out of the bush and scanning the open vistas carefully ahead with my Leica 8×20’s I became aware of a slightly uncomfortable feeling-I was being stared at. I slowly swivelled to my right and was confronted with the presence of two red deer- a mother and daughter at a range of 70-80 meters. I muttered a silent prayer as I eased off my day pack and rummaged for my camera. I was able to take this picture and also some video footage before the pair decided to head for the bush.




After some hesitation they finally moved off and into the cover of the bush.


Not long afterwards I was at the foot of a rocky gut that steeply rose up to what looked like the ideal elevation for me to be able to scan most of the surrounding country. I picked my way carefully over that rough scree. Around twenty minutes later I had topped out and found myself waist deep in alpine scrub and found forward travel was not at all easy. It was then I spied movement above and in front of me and it turned out to be the necks and heads of two hinds that had tumbled my presence and were making huge bounds into an adjacent gulley and eventually the bush edge.

I pushed on and eventually made the tussock topped ridge the same time as the rising sun. I followed the ridge along and ever upward pausing often to glass all around me. Finally I reached the head of the gulley and parked myself up and started to seriously poke around with the compacts.

The Movement way below materialised into two chamois one of which was the buck and he was making a nuisance of himself by trying to coerce his would be partner into some play that if was successful would result in them parenting a sibling next spring. She however was having none of it and was climbing quickly to put some ground between the two. He would catch up only to find her put the pressure on once again. I was busy filming them and quietly saying goodbye to my head-skin for the second day in a row -for they were climbing away and ever higher.  I noticed she would reach the snow line any minute now. It was about then when the doe had put a good 2oo meter gap between the two and at the same time disappeared behind a prominent ridge that the buck paused uncertain. He was 650 meters away and looked as though he had misplaced her totally. The bins revealed him looking intently my way. I wasted no time leaving the camera where it was and I picked up pack and rifle and at a crouch made around a 60meter climb before again parking myself up. Leica told me he was scrutinizing my position and I didn’t move a muscle. After some minutes he dropped my side of the ridge he was on and started down climbing toward me. I made an ambush nest with pack in front of me and dancan screwed on.

He was often out of sight as he negotiated the precarious looking mountainside but one thing was for certain – he was coming my way. After what seemed like an eternity he emerged above me and around 300 meters away. I tracked him all the way through the Vari x3  1-5 Leupold scope. I was waiting for a side on shot.  It wasn’t until he reached the 220 meter range when after my shrill whistle he finally put the handbrake on. The quiet report of the rifle was drowned out by smack of the 130grn Barnes projectile hitting shoulder bone and the result was he tumbled end for end down the scree slope almost into my lap. I had my head-skin!


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