Hunting Chamois in New Zealand

Some hunters rate chamois trophies as superior to red stag and tahr. These beautiful mounts have tan-brown summer skin, and a jet black winter coat, and sport striking facial markings. However, these graceful animals are also very smart. The graceful chamois' eyesight is nine times better than that of the human eye, and they move at electric speed. However, their unpredictable nature makes for a challenging hunt.

A mature chamois weighs approximately 110 lbs and measures approximately 2,5 feet in height. Herds are made up of female chamois and their kids, while males typically live in solitude until the rut season rolls in during May.  Mothers use soft vocalizations to communicate with their kids.

Both sexes of the chamois have slender black hook-like horns that rise vertically from the animal's graceful forehead and sharply curve backwards at the top. The horns can reach 12.8 inches in length.

Chamois tend to frequent rocky, rugged terrain and combined with their speed, their climbing abilities surpass that of the Alpine Ibex. They tend to live in the open, but you can also find them below the bush line around grassy slips and along the scrubby strips along streams.
 

New Zealand Chamois tend to weigh about 20% less than European individuals of the same age

 

Chamois Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Rupicapra rupicapra
Male Weight: 30 - 60kg
Female Weight: 25 - 45kg
Gestation period: 170 days
Height: 70 - 80 cm
Length: 107 - 137 cm

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Hunting Considerations

The walk and stalk method works well when it comes to hunting chamois in New Zealand. Your best chance at success is to approach from the same level or above.

Keep an eye out for the lookout chamois, which will typically be an older female, who will position herself slightly apart and slightly above the rest of the herd. She will be the first animal you approach, so take care to make the first shot count.

When disturbed, chamois will utter a hiss-like whistling sound before they start moving fast. They will take a long time to settle down again.

During an early morning hunt, you may find chamois in a valley head or a bluff system and you may successfully hunt them from below when the wind is still tending down hill. Provided the chamois don't scent you, they may not escape even if they see you first.

The average chamois trophy horn length ranges from 8 1/2 to 11 inches and has a 3-4 inch base.

Chamois are typically hunted at distances of 200-300 feet, and locals prefer 6mm or 6.5mm rifles, which have less of a bullet drop over such distances. A 7x46 or Berger 168 Vlds is another good option.

You would also need a suitable scope. Some hunters believe the Z5 3.5-18 is the perfect option.
 

Shot Placement

When hunting chamois, you want to make the first shot the kill shot. They move fast, and you don't want to lose an injured quarry in the mountains.

Ideal shot placement is right in the heart, directly above the spot where the foreleg meets the body. Alternatively, the lung area behind the shoulder will also put down the animal right away.

 

Chamois Shot Placement

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Chamois Shot Placement

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