Originally from Europe, the chamois, a member of antelope-goat subfamily, was introduced to the South Island of New Zealand at the beginning of the 20th century. Males, which weigh up to 130 lbs, are slightly larger than females, which weigh in at up to 100 lbs. Both sexes have hook-shaped horns that, while similar in length, differ in size and weight, with the bucks having heavier horns with more pronounced hooks. Their coats are a rich brown in summer and light grey in colder weather, and their faces are white, save a single dark band on the muzzle, cheeks, and across the eyes. Does and their offspring live in groups of up to 20, while adult bucks are solitary creatures outside of mating season.
Like tahr hunting, chamois hunting of both sexes is legal and unrestricted year-round, as the animals are considered pests due to their negative impact on local vegetation. The chamois’ prized coat is at its best in the colder months, however, making the winter the best time to take a trophy. Chamois are very fast, graceful animals with exceptional jumping ability, keen eyesight, and a highly developed sense of smell, so be prepared for a hunt that’s physically and mentally demanding, with lots of glassing followed by long stalks through cold weather and rugged, steep alpine terrain. Because chamois generally look out for danger below them, you’ll have the best luck closing in on your target from above. Prep with plenty of long-range target practice with a caliber of .222 or above. Chamois hunts are often combined with tahr hunts.
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