ALTHOUGH A SMALL ANIMAL, THE CHAMOIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BEASTS TO CHASE IN EUROPE. ITS AGILITY AND NATURAL INTELLIGENCE, AND THE HIGH AND DIFFICULT MOUNTAINS IN WHICH IT LIVES RENDER IT ONE OF THE FINEST QUARRIES OF THE TRUE HUNTER. ORIGINALLY THOUGHT TO BE A FOREST DWELLER HE HAS SINCE MOVED TO ALPINE ENVIRONMENTS GENERALLY BEING SPOTTED AMONGST THE MOST INACCESSABLE ROCKS. THEY CAN BE FOUND IN MOST OF THE HIGH RANGES IN CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN EUROPE, THEIR RANGE EXTENDING FROM THE PYRENEES TO THE CAUCASUS AND FROM THE SOUTHERN CARPATHIANS TO ALBANIA.THE COLOUR OF THE CHAMOIS IN SUMMER IS A GREYISH DUN, WITH BLACK MARKINGS ON THEIR FACE, BUT IN WINTER THEIR HAIR GROWS LONG AND BECOMES ALMOST BLACK. HOWEVER MANY VARIETIES OCCUR, INCLUDING ALBINO AND MENALISTIC HOWEVER THESE ARE NOW RARE. CHAMOIS ARE GREGARIOUS AND FOUND IN SMALL HERDS. THEY ARE VERY WATCHFUL FOR THEIR SAFETY AND NORMALLY POST A SENTINEL TO GUARD AGAINST SURPRISE. AS A RULE OLD MALES PREFER A SOLITARY EXISTENCE FOR MUCH OF THE YEAR, JOINING THE FEMALES DURING THE RUT. THE GESTATION PERIOD FOR CHAMOIS IS TWENTY WEEKS AND THE FEMALE NORMALLY PRODUCES ONE, RARELY TWO KIDS.

LIKE ALL CAPRA, DURING THE WINTER MONTHS THE CHAMOIS WILL COME DOWN FROM THE ROCKY PEAKS PREFERRING LOWER LYING AND SHELTERED ROCKY WOODLAND. A HUNT FOR CHAMOIS AT ANY TIME OF YEAR IS A CHALLENGE AND A HIGH LEVEL OF FITNESS IS REQUIRED, HE HAS NOT MADE THE REAL BIG 5 CAPRA JUST BECAUSE HE IS PRETTY!

France is host to Europe’s two most significant Mountain chains, the Alps to her east and the Pyrenees to her South.  The Continent’s highest peak Mont Blanc, can also be found here. Apart from Wild Boar, France’s most significant game species is the Chamois. Like neighbouring Germany and Austria the country is embedded with a deep history of pursuing these fine and sporting beasts.