A mountain hunter must have the best physical preparation and pay attention to details, to face the challenge of high altitude.
It’s a different hunting activity from the others. This is because the high altitude, the peaks between the clouds that are the home of wonderful wildlife such as chamois, roe deer, deer and capercaillie, put even the most experienced mountain hunter to the test.
In general, the mountain hunter, whether hunting with shotguns or bolt action rifles, is required a first-class athletic and mental preparation, not being a hunting specialty that can be defined as “relaxing”.
In high-altitude ungulates hunting, such as chamois hunting, the most used firearm is the bolt action rifle, due to its intrinsic shooting precision. While for the typical Alpine the over and under shotgun is certainly the choice of many hunters.
Here are some tips for those who approach this fascinating type of hunting.
Mountain hunter: eye at height and feet firm
The first, perhaps essential, thing to hunt in the mountains is not to be afraid of height.
In addition to not suffering from dizziness, it is important to have some precautions, which also apply to mountaineering in general.
It may seem trivial, but in the mountains nothing can be left to chance. It is therefore essential to be careful where you stand and never rest both on the same stone, unless you have made sure that it is stable.
Mountain hunter: getting to know the trail
First of all, before every hunting trip in the mountains it is important to always communicate to someone where you will be: so, times and places of the daily hunting program.
When you walk a path for the first time, it is a good habit to find landmarks, not more than five meters away from the track. In this way, even in the event of fog, it will be possible to find the way back.
If you do not know the hunting site well, it is advisable to rely on a local guide who knows the trails and certainly… who knows much more than we do!
If, on the other hand, you walk on a white ground of fresh snow and proceed in single file, you must try to put your feet in the trace already created by the person ahead, to avoid the risk of putting a foot in the holes that form between the boulders covered by the snowy mantle.
Clothing tips for mountain hunter
Starting from the must of every mountain hunter, that is the boots, the advice is to privilege where possible footwear with a rigid sole, which avoid stressing the ankles causing annoying “twists”.
This type of boot will offer greater grip and adherence, making us more stable, especially in the crossbars on grassy bands.
Technical mountaineering dresses are preferable, especially if of harmonious colors with the surrounding nature. Light and warm clothes at the same time, which allow good breathability and are waterproof.
The fatigue of climbing is one of the most challenging aspects of the mountain, when the legs and lungs burn and the boots wear out.
Therefore, although it is better to avoid excessive weights in the backpack, it is still advisable to post a replacement (sweaters, underwear and socks), as well as at least 30 meters of rope and flammable liquid to light the fire.
The mountain hunter backpack
The equipment that each mountain hunter takes with him can make a difference during a day of hunting.
An energy-rich backpack is almost as useful as the rifle itself.
In addition to water, which is necessary to always maintain proper hydration, there can be no shortage of food that provides the correct immediate replenishment of energy.
During the climb, honey and fructose are to be preferred, better than sugar or chocolate which instead can trigger an insulin reaction under stress; the latter, however, are to be consumed during downhill.
A very important precaution to adopt if you walk along narrow paths, exposed and carved into the rock face, is to wear the backpack on the front, resting on your chest instead of on your back, to prevent this from making us lose our balance by touching the rock wall.
In addition, the mountain hunter’s precious backpack must be spacious and waterproof inside. In fact, in addition to water, food and a change of clothes, it must also contain the hunted animal.
Mountain hunter best practice: how to behave in the mountains?
Once you have chosen the right clothing and equipment, the most valuable tips are about how to behave when hunting.
Among the most fascinating hunting activities there is certainly the chamois hunt, the prey of choice for alpine hunting.
Also, in this case being accompanied by an expert guide can be a key element to live intense hunting experiences.
Immediately after the sighting of the chamois, it is advisable to stand in a raised position, which can allow a better vision and a longer time for the good placement of the bolt action rifle.
In fact, the chamois is a wild that hardly bends its head upwards and is instead more likely to scrutinize downwards or in a horizontal line.
As for the binoculars to be used, this should not have more than eight enlargements, because otherwise it could tire the eye with prolonged use, while the use of a spektive will allow a precise evaluation of the head.
Before shooting, it is a rule of “ethical hunting” to always consider whether the place where the wild is located allows or not the recovery of the bare, which will be carried in the backpack or on the shoulder… it will never be dragged!
Once in position and ready to fire, it is advisable to try to start the shot when the wild is put “on postcard”, then sideways, so that the bullet passes through the two shoulders and makes it fall into place.
The biped can be part of the equipment for hunting in the mountains. If this is not the case, it is still necessary to find a stable support to make a precise and clean shot.
Firearms for a mountain hunter
The most used firearms by a mountain hunter are the manual bolt rifle and the tilting shotgun. While the second type is more agile and transportable, the rifle is safer and more efficient in longer range shots.
Mountain hunter: what is the best firearm for chamois hunting?
Bolt action rifles are very popular in this type of hunting, perfect for precision, sturdiness and weight.
All Horizon rifles are easy to handle and light – less than 3 kg in almost all calibers – and therefore excellent for long walks in the mountains. They are all delivered with a 1 M.O.A. accuracy certificate on three shots fired.
Among the best calibers for chamois hunting we find the the .243 Winchester, the .270 Winchester and all 6.5.
There are those who call hunting in the mountains a “fever”, a sweet condition that manifests itself every year when autumn arrives.
It is that strength that brings you again and again to wake up at dawn, ready to challenge cold and fatigue, for the simple joy of being among those great and beautiful peaks.
It is the freedom that fills your eyes and heart when you are up there and the call you feel as a distant echo as soon as you descend into the valley.