Chamois hunting in the Picos de Europa: a high-altitude chamois
Spain is home to two species of chamois, the Pyrenean or "sarrio" (Rupicapra pyrenaica), found in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border between Spain and France, and the Cantabrian chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva), found in the Cantabrian Mountains in the northwest of Spain. Both species are located in the most rugged environments, posing a challenge for mountain hunting enthusiasts.
I had great excitement and had been wanting to hunt in the breathtaking Picos de Europa, one of Spain's natural treasures, for a long time. I managed to obtain a chamois hunting permit in the Riaño Regional Hunting Reserve, located in León, specifically in the Picos sector. This area, which is part of the Picos de Europa National Park along with Oseja de Sajambre and Posada de Valdeón, is the habitat of these admirable animals. Unfortunately, hunting in this area has been prohibited due to the National Parks' moratorium This situation has had environmental and socio-economic repercussions due to the loss of hunting tourism in the area. I was one of the fortunate individuals who got to hunt in these sectors before they closed!
For this chamois hunt, I prepared physically, as the peaks of this mountain range are not very high but extremely rugged. The ascent to the Central Massif of the Picos de Europa was a real challenge, with rocky terrain and steep trails. Right from the start, I spotted young chamois, which filled me with optimism. Upon reaching the summit, I beheld the impressive Vega de Liordes, an immense depression created by the dissolution of limestone rock with extensive green meadows. There, we began the search for a selective female chamois, although initially, we only spotted males, demonstrating how unpredictable hunting can be.
We continued exploring, enjoying the awe-inspiring surroundings and the steep slopes of the limestone formation. Despite the difficulty, I found a selective female chamois with close-set horns, indicative of an animal that would never become a good trophy. After a careful approach, I achieved a clean shot at 224 meters, thus completing my personal challenge. The .270 win 140-grain Tipstrike bullet did a great job, as the animal dropped on the spot. The bullet's long-distance accuracy and controlled expansion ensured effective energy transfer, guaranteeing that the projectile reached the vital organs for a quick death.
Taking down this specimen was a very special achievement, as the Cantabrian chamois is a unique species in Spain and exclusively inhabits the Cantabrian Mountains. My experience in the Picos de Europa was unforgettable, a testimony to the beauty of nature and the passion for high-altitude hunting.
NORMA Ambassador, Pilar Escribano, Spain