Shopping Cart


Posted by PointsSouth on

First Lite logo header

Chamois are one of my favourite animals to hunt.  They are curious, super intelligent and have the best eyesight of any game animal I know.  Found virtually throughout the south island from Fiorldland to Nelson but in generally higher numbers around the Westland glaciers, these animals you can hunt almost year round as the capes can look great in both their summer and winters phases.

Here’s 10 quick tips designed to help those somewhat new to alpine hunting to get the drop on these super smart critters

young chamois buck

 Young buck, image @PointsSouth

1-Eye Sight

Eyesight is one of the Chamois best defences and they known for spotting movement out as far as 800+ meters.  Use any available cover and take your time, often it’s a case of getting into the right country then glassing from a good vantage point during the “prime time”.

Chamois Shaun Monk

Image @ Shaun Monk

2-Time of Day

Chamois like most of our game spending the day time mostly parked up chewing cud.  You are far less likely to pick them up in your bino’s when they are bedded down. The first and last couple of hours of the day is where you should be focussing.

Chamois Hugh Bagley

Image @ Hugh Bagley

3- Glassing  

Get the best binoculars that you can afford because you’re going to spend a lot of time using them.  Use your legs to get you into the right country and then let your eye’s do the walking.  Spend a huge amount of your time glassing and don’t just glass over a likely area the one time.

Chamois Sam Manson

Image @ Sam Manson


Chamois have a tendency to always be looking downhill for approaching danger.  Use this to your advantage if the terrain allows and get above them.

Young chamois buck

Image @ PointsSouth

5- Wind

Like just about all of our game animals Chamois have a very keen sense of smell.  Hunt into the wind or pretty much just come back another day.

chamois buck hugh bagley

Hugh Bagley, Image @ Luke Potts


Chamois live in a variety of country but usually favour the steeper stuff.  Everything from Westland creeks at sea level to broken country well above the bush line.  Look at maps, talk to an experienced hunter and do the leg work. 

chamois family group

Image @ Hugh Bagley

7- Fitness

99% of the time you’re going to have to gain some vert to get into chamois country.  If you’re not already hill fit then chasing Cham is going to get you fit.  Know your limitations with fitness and the type of terrain you’re comfortable in.  Luke here at PointsSouth thinks nothing of climbing up and down 1000m of vert for an evening hunt,  fitness is important but you don’t need to go to that extend.  Pick your objectives wisely and carry an epirb as well as the basics for an unexpected night out.

chamois buck

Deep hooks and 10 inches of length 

8-Animal Groups

Mature bucks are more than often by themselves apart from the rut, so if you’re looking at a lone animal there’s a good chance it’s a buck.  Females and juveniles tend to hang out in small groups and will often stay living in the same general vicinity, so if your finding family groups then perhaps this is a good spot to come back to in the rut (May/June).

chamois richie williams

Image @ Richie Williams

9- Curiosity

Chamois are really inquisitive animals and curiosity has been the downfall of many a chamois.  A fleeing buck will often stop for a quick look back, be ready. Bucks especially during the rut sometimes can’t help themselves and will actually come an investigate something out of place.  I’ve hidden behind a rock and waved my hat and had bucks come in close, and the dog is usually another major curiosity for them.  It’s often the young bucks that do this so pack your camera.

Big chamois buck

Joseph Peter with a 10 inch+ buck

10- Trophy Potential

Chamois are notoriously hard to gauge as their horn shape can vary a lot, it takes a lot of experience to get good at this.  Generally speaking if a bucks horns appear to be 2-3 inches above its ears,  then you are looking possibly a 9-10 inch buck.  It’s the hooks that make the difference, smaller “tighter” hooks won’t measure as long as deeper wider ones.  Always look at the hooks. In some areas that grow good horns a 3 year old buck can have 9 inch horns and 10 inches at 5 years, imagine what these could become at 10 years.

Even experienced guys can sometimes have trouble identifying the does from the bucks, looking at the body mass and the hooks is usually the giveaway.

10 inch chamois buck NZ

10 inch buck with heavy bases @ PointsSouth/Joseph Peter/Luke Manson

First Lite mountain hunting advert new zealand

Older Post Newer Post