These Chamois Hunts Are A Real Discovery


Published: April - 2002

Chamois are the antelope of the alpine environment, graced with skills that allow them to bounce across, up and down perpendicular bluffs. They are also graced with a natural alertness that makes them tough to approach. These qualities, coupled with a striking winter appearance, make them one of the world's great trophies. Most New Zealand hunters place a good chamois buck at the top of the trophy tree, higher even than a burly tahr, as they are much harder to find and stalk. And the chamois' love of tough terrain only adds to this species mystique.

Not surprisingly, a good free-range chamois block (animal range) is considered a goldmine in New Zealand. It's something outfitters seek out almost desperately. One lucky outfitter in that regard is James Gray. He has one of the best blocks in New Zealand. It is exclusive to him and has good numbers of animals, plus it is blessed with vehicle tracks that allow him to tansport clients up high and drop down on animals from above.

The really good news here is that Gray does not charge a trophy fee for his chamois hunts, and he hires his services at $450 (US) a day. Guided chamois hunting doesn't get any cheaper in this country, especially when you consider that this fee includes not just guiding service, but accommodation, transport and food. You can reach James Gray at Flaxmere Downs.

Last year, Gray had a 100 percent success rate, with seven clients taking seven animals. These were trophy animals, too, with the best approaching the 11-inch mark. A nine-inch-plus animal is considered the benchmark for a good, representative chamois trophy. Gray recommends clients schedule five to seven days for their chamois hunt, as alpine weather, extensive binocular glassing, the elusive nature of chamois in general and selection of a trophy all suck up time.

So how many animals does Gray have on his block? The best tally seen in a single day was 30. The average kiwi hunter would be lucky if he........(continued)

 
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