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Caucasian Chamois Hunting in Russia

Sergei Shushunov Caucasian chamois hunt in Russia

The Caucasian chamois is continuously distributed throughout the Caucasus mountain range in Russia, Abkhazia and Azerbaijan at elevations from 800 to 2500 m. (2,500-7300 ft.) and higher. The total population is estimated at 15,000. During the summer months, chamois lives on alpine meadows above 1,800 m. (6,000 ft.). As winter approaches they descend to altitudes below 1,100 m. (3,600 ft.), where the chamois may enter forests while still remaining near steep cliffs.

Caucasian chamois is a little smaller than alpine chamois, having smooth tawny or reddish-brown summer coat, which becomes a chocolate brown in winter, with hair measuring 10-20 cm. (4-8 in.) long, covering wooly undercoat. The under parts are pale. The legs are usually darker, and there is a small mane on the throat. The slender, black horns are found in both sexes. Rising vertically from the forehead, they are sharply curved backwards on their top third like hooks, and can reach a length of 32 cm (12.8 in.) and sometimes more. This very agile animal, when alarmed, will run to the most inaccessible places, making leaps as high as 2 m. (6.6 ft.) and spanning as much as 6 m. (20 ft.), reaching speed of up to 50 km/hr (30 mph) over steep and uneven ground.

Hunting is offered from August through November in Karachaevo-Cherkessia Kabardin-Balkaria and Norhtern Ossetia regions of Russia. Hunters usually reach base camps on horseback or in jeeps and hunt from spike camps on foot. Hunting in Russia is usually more difficult than in Azerbaijan due to more precipitous mountains, not infrequent rains and usually higher elevations.

Hunting can be combined with any type of Caucasian tur. Additional trophies may include red stag, wild boar, brown bear as well as with upland birds, mainly woodcock and stone (red legged) partridge.

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Sergei Shushunov

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