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Chamois in France
I was fortunate to recently return from a successful bowhunt for chamois hunt in France... Since I haven't seen too much discussion on the site regarding chamois, I thought it might be an interesting topic. Especially for those looking to hunt species outside of North America. So hope you enjoy some of the photos. Overall, it was an incredible experience... (BTW, one of the first questions was where to post this. Possibly under goat...but since it was practically a sheep hunt, and felt like sheep hunters would most appreciate...I decided to post it here.) So hope you enjoy photos from somewhere new.
We flew in and out of Nice, in southern France. Honestly, there are worst places in the world to hunt! An incredibly beautiful area, that includes the ability to tour some great areas. Like Monaco, Monte Carlo, Cannes, and on and on.... A great trip to bring a wife who enjoys hunting AND drinking wine!
Southern France is known for many small villages. During our hunt, we stayed in this wonderful old village on the side of a mountain..... in a small bed and breakfast. Very hunter friendly to us.
The bed and breakfast was a converted house, hundreds of years old.
One of the totally unexpected experiences was getting to spend time with a bunch of French hunters in an authentic hunters cabin. At the time we were there, they were hunting boar with hounds. Although none of them spoke any English at all, they could not have been nicer to my wife and I. They fed us some amazing meals, and made us feel welcome. It just goes to show that the hunting fraternity is pretty much the same around the world... However, they pretty much thought I was crazy for trying to hunt chamois with a bow. I didn't understand many words, but it was clear they thought I should be using a "carbine".
From inside the cabin... One think I didn't appreciate was the variety of game available in the French mountains. Wild board, red stag, deer, and chamois...
The first area we hunted, in the lower mountains, reminded me a lot of hunting desert bighorns. Like most sheep hunts, we spent a lot of time glassing. The sand was very red, but it was very rugged. We immediately began seeing chamois. The biggest problem we had was a lack of wind. It was very dry, and as you can imagine, very noisy. So our first few stalks were not successful, primarily because there was very little wind to cover the noise.
I'm lucky to have a wife that enjoys going on some of these trips. She does a pretty good job of taking video and pictures.... so it's the least I can do to spend time after the hunt touring some of the sites, (and drinking French wine!) By the end of the first day, we would be in the high mountains at our backs. A totally different terrain from where we began the first day.
After a great lunch at the hunters camp, we went with a new guide into the high country. Sebastian spoke no English, but made it clear that where we were going held a large number of chamois. He also made it clear that he thought taking a chamois with a bow was next to impossible. He brought along his "carbine" in case we saw wolves, but it was pretty clear to me that he was going to try and convince me to shoot with it, rather than my bow. Our hike into the mountains was pretty difficult, as the country is very steep and rock. Much different than what we hunted in the morning. But, true to his word, we were literally seeing chamois everywhere we looked.
I had several opportunities that afternoon. On one occasion, I climbed up a grass and rock ledge, to get above two chamois that were feeding on a hill. By the time I arrived, they were out of range and leaving. But I noticed another chamois in the trees, heading in their direction in a drainage. I crawled to the edge, and saw him crossing. I got a quick range on him at 61 yards, and was about to make the shot when he started running up and around the hill. Rather than trying to range him, I got ready for a possible quick shot. When he stopped for an instant, I shot, but did not have a good range and missed. Sebastian arrived a few seconds later and saw the animal trotting away. When he saw how big he was, he tried to give me the rifle, and kept saying "shoot, shoot." I just responded "non", and motioned no thank you. I came close on two more stalks over the course of another hour and a half, but got busted by the wind. What I finally realized was that this was very doable with a bow. Compared to most of the areas I have sheep hunted, it was actually a bowhunter's paradise. Plenty of rocks, grass, trees, and contours to provide cover for a stalk. Where I started the afternoon a little dejected that this was not going to be doable, I now felt energized that it could be done. We hiked off the mountain, most of it in the dark....but I felt good about the next morning.
We started early the next morning, as it was a long hike to the top of the mountains where the chamois were staying. Sebastian understood that our chances were much better getting above them, rather than coming at them from below. It took an hour and a half climbing to get to the crest, where we were finally beginning our hunt. We also had picked up Alex, a representative of the outfitter, who spoke great English. So for the first time, we could really communicate with the guide. Within minutes of reaching the top, we climbed a small ledge, and my guide motioned for me to get up to the top. A chamois was standing below us on a rocky ledge. I moved on my knees to get away from a tree, then ranged him at 70 yards. I drew, settled the pin, and released. The arrow hit well, and he raced down the mountain. We worked along the ledge to watch for him, and in the short time it took to get to the ledge, we could already see him lying down the mountain. Honestly, neither Sebastian nor Alex could believe we had just taken a chamois with a bow. It was incredibly rewarding to prove to them the efficiency of a well placed arrow.
The mountain where he ran was incredibly steep, but fortunately he did not go far.
I show this photo only because it's the most interesting position I've ever found and animal and an arrow. This was not staged. Instead, this is exactly how I found the chamois and the arrow. After running and stumbling down the extremely steep mountain, he died with the arrow lying on top of him. I have no idea what must have happened for it to get in this position.... Would love to hear your guess as to how it got there.
As I said, I really appreciated the opportunity to prove the effectiveness of archery equipment to the guide and his hunting friends. Archery is just not something they have much experience with. While my chamois was not the biggest on the mountain, I tried to explain through Alex that to me, it was more important "how" I killed it, rather than how big it was. I think Sebastian took away a different understanding of why I wanted to do it this way. And suddenly he was proud to have been a part of a successful bowhunt for chamois. When we arrived back at the hunters camp, I was greeted with "bravo, bravo". It was good to show them as well that it could be done.
Alex was so excited about a successful archery hunt that he was trying to stick the arrow back in the hole for the pictures.... I finally expressed that we could take a picture "with" the arrow...but let's leave it out of the chamois.
I was really fortunate to have my wife along for the adventure. She does an amazing job in the mountains (heck she can go circles around me.) As she says, she doesn't hunt herself, but she understand why I love it so much. And she allows me to experience it. And some great places around the world. For this hunt, the French people could not have been nicer to us, and made us feel more welcome. The chamois is an amazing little animal... a great bowhunting quarry. And then the great part about finishing a hunt so early... we can start drinking wine! Hope you enjoy some of the pictures from an area of the world that we just don't read too much about when it comes to bowhunting opportunities.
very nice, I love seeing these adventures, loved the hunting camp, looks just like many in the UP
Great write up. I did not get a chance to hunt when I lived in Montpellier. Please shoot me a PM with who you were hunting with and where. I need to get back and would love to hunt while there.
Congrats and thanks for posting.
Great trip and hunt,,cool to see you and your wife enjoying the hunt together!,congrats on that crazy lookin little beast!
Very neat hunt. Thanks for sharing and congrats on a nice trophy and a memorable trip.
Very cool hunt. Thanks for posting
A huge congrats on "making it happen!!!"
A great story...thanks for posting up your unique adventure!
See you at WSF!
Congrats. Thanks for posting. This is not something a lot of us get to see here in the US of A.
Congratulations! What a great looking trophy.
That puts you in some rarified air. Not many bowhunters in the chamois cloud.
Thank you for representing American bowhunters to the French hunters and for posting your pics and story on BOWSITE.
Very cool! I remembered how excited I was just to see a Chamois when I was over there in the Navy, went on a ski trip in France and in Italy! Would be way cooler to hunt them I imagine!
Excellent! Way to go, looks like a great time! I am headed to Slovenia in two weeks to hunt Chamois in the Alps, this thread has made me even more excited for that trip. Thanks for sharing and congrats on one heck of an accomplishment!
What a cool trip for you and your Mrs.
Good luck, Robb
Excellent! Thank you for sharing
Congrats. Great story and pics. I got an itch now. lol
Congratulations on a spectacular adventure and awesome that your wife was there to enjoy it with you. Spectacular trophy!
It is really special to get it done on an animal that the locals don't consider to be possible to take with a bow.
Love those mountains! Very beautiful country up there for sure and would love to hunt there someday... Getting one with a longbow up there in that type of cover looks very doable:)
Thanks for posting agreat adventure. Enjoyed it a lot. JimH
Congrats on a great animal and a great adventure.
Great story. Thanks for sharing, & congrats.
Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. Also, you made an excellent shot on a small target in a challenging environment.
You did great, congrats!
Has bow-hunting always been legal in France?
Well done! Nice job of diplomacy, and representing bowhunters!
Cool adventure for you and the Mrs., Congrats!
Best of Luck, Jeff
Since no one else gave a guess- I think the arrow was sticking out the other side and when it fell forward the arrow was pushed back out and happened to land on the body?
Great story! Thanks for taking us along.
See you in Reno in January!
Congratulations... good job.
Well done congratulations and thanks for sharing.
Wow you sir deserve a huge congrats that is outdistanding and gorgeous pictures
Thanks guys, for all your kind words. I really can't stress how much fun this trip was, especially when you throw in trying to blend with a different culture... Mark and Kyle, really looking forward to WSF in January. Be a great time to catch up.
Nick, I can't wait to hear about Slovenia. The more I learn about chamois, the more I realize how cool of an animal they are, and how many different countries and ranges they can be hunted.
And wildwilderness, your guess is about as good as they get. What just doesn't make sense though is that the chamois was facing directly away from me when I shot, down through the back...and the arrow penetrated between his front two legs, under the neck. The way he was screaming down the mountain, and as steep as it was, it was obvious he slid a good ways. So I can't imagine that the arrow just rested there while he slid. I'm guessing it's possible that it had come out, and was bounding and sliding just like he was, and then landed there. I guess we'll really never know...but in 35 years of bowhunting, I've never seen that before where it looked like someone just laid it there to balance.
By the way, if anyone is interested..... I booked a "back-up" hunt for Chamois in France in late October of 2018. It's with a different outfitter....actually the "go to" bowhunting guide for chamois in France. The dates are locked down. As much as I'd like to go back, it probably makes more sense for me not to go after a second Alpine chamois. If anyone is interested in taking over that hunt (it's a 4 day hunt), then PM me. I can get you the details. I've mentioned it to several people who are considering it, but just wanted to throw it out there. Alan
Chamois? More like chamwow
Great story! I've been to Nice and my wife has been telling me that we need to return so I can hunt . . . and she can drink wine. She speaks french fluently so I just may take her up on that offer after seeing this story. Thanks for sharing and congratuations!
Thanks for sharing. That is a hunt I would like to try someday.
Got plenty to dry the car with it looks like.....
Thanks much for sharing such a unique adventure. Looks like fun country to hunt and looks like those small villages would be the way to see the country, way better than the big cities. Pretty cool. Congrats!
Great write-up, Alan. What an adventure!! Congrats on an incredible feat and thanks for spending the time to share it with us. You left a significant mark with this outfitter in a significant place in the world, representing bowhunting and bowhunters from far and wide! Great job!!
Cool story, thanks for sharing.
Great story! Grats! They're cool little animals. Sounds like a great vacation for a couple.
Wow! Great hunt and what country! Back in 2000, I had donated a whitetail mount to the Musee de la chasse et de la nature (museum of the hunt and nature) in Paris. A long and interesting story. I was made an honorary member of the Club de la chasse et de la nature (Club of the hunt and nature). My wife and I have been back a few times since then but I have not yet had a chance to hunt there. If any of you are in France I would strongly recommend taking a visit to the Museum of the hunt in Paris. You will not be disappointed. Again , great story and hunt!
Who did you hunt with? Cost?
Ike and Forest - Sent both you guys a PM. And yes, it is a great place for a couple's vacation. The hunt is so short, it leaves plenty of time to see some other stuff. And that is the end of the tourist season over there, so there are no crowds, but the weather is still very nice. Gene - Last time I was in Paris with the family, I thought I had hit every Museum possible. We were all so "museumed out" that I never wanted to see another painting, sculpture, or old thing. But had I known there was a Museum of the Hunt, I would have been all over it! That's one thing my kids would have actually enjoyed seeing too. If I ever get back over there, that will be the first stop. Thanks, Geoff, I really appreciate your kind words. And for designing a great binocular harness system! It worked like a charm.
Just read through this again, how awesome!
I head out in the morning for my first Chamois hunt, cannot wait to be in the Alps looking for these critters.
Great story and congrats on the hunt. I've been fortunate to have the wife along on a few trips myself and she's loved every minute of it.
Good luck Nick and keep us posted.