CAPRA NEAGRA

ROMANIA 🇷🇴 DAY 1 🇷🇴 

We start very early in the morning, at a pretty low altitude (1100m) and start hiking straight up. A couple hours later, we finally get above tree line. Hoping to see animals at this level, we are surprised to see them way above snow line, and our local guide quickly confirms that we are only half way. 

As we hike up the clouds start to come in, and pretty quick the rain follows. Steep slippery country isn’t the problem, but the visibility, which is not more than 50 meters.

Weather conditions get worse as we progress higher and higher. Frustrated by the view, we keep pushing higher in hopes to get above the clouds.

After an exhausting hike fighting the elements, we arrive to the top with over 1400 meters (4600ft) of altitude gain. Conditions up here are as down below, but just way colder! 

With nothing we could do in this weather but froze to death, we decide to start hiking down. As we head back down we spot a chamois in a fog opening, but the weather quickly comes back in and I don’t have time to even setup my spotting scope. We wait for an opening… an opening that never arrived.

After a not very useful day because of the weather it was time to head back down. Terrain here is steep and broken, and in many times more than hiking you need to climb, something very typical in chamois country. A chain came very handy to cross a very dangerous spot. No need to use the rope on my backpack, that I carry lately after a few bad experiences.

Tomorrow will be another day.

ROMANIA 🇷🇴 DAY 2 🇷🇴 

We start the day with high hopes, the mountain in front of us is overwhelming, but we tackle the day full of energy, since it looks like the weather is going to give us a window.

After a couple hours, we finally located the first carpathian chamois, a group of half dozen individuals, with at least one male in the group. We set the spotting scope for a better look, and despite it doesn’t look mature, with no other chamois on sight, and with bad weather coming in, my cousin @guille.castellanos decides to get closer for better inspection while we keep hiking up.

On our way up we cross some huge bear tracks. Romania has a large population of brown bears, but currently since a couple years it’s hunting is forbidden. Their population has increased so much that it’s interfering with the local people, and attacks are happening more and more often. There are special permits for conflictive bears who are causing trouble, and hopefully bear hunting will open again in the near future.

As we make it to the top, weather starts rolling in and things start to get crazy again… It is time to put on the rain gear and gloves.. 

Weather in the mountains changes really quick and suddenly we can barely search other and snow starts falling hard. Nothing like a great team to still have fun even when hunting conditions are not helping. It is a pleasure to share this trip with my sousing Guillermo, with the Liñan brothers from Hunter_ers who organized the trip, and with Jack from Slotsmedia which was documenting the whole adventure.

We only have one more day, so now we can only pray for good weather tomorrow.

ROMANIA 🇷🇴 DAY 3 🇷🇴 

Last day of the hunt and after two hours and a half hiking in the dark we get above treeline as the day starts to awake from a cold night. We are ready to make the most out of the day in front of us.

Today we are hunting on a very steep terrain covered in snow and ice, there is no room for mistakes, every step needs to be solid.

After so much ground covered these last three days, when this buck appeared on the skyline we couldn’t believe our eyes. Sure enough, a few seconds later, the fog came back in vanishing what we had came here for…

As the fog starts to clear, I set up the rifle in hopes that the chamois is still there. 350yds on a very steep angle plus a face to face shot. There is no way to find a rock or put enough backpacks to get the rifle high enough for the shot, shooting from the knees is not posible specially at that distance on such a small target. Luckily I have the Swaro tripod which on the heavy side but super stable, combined with the Spartan Javelin bipod davros head to make an incredible shooting platform that can get me any angle I want. With the elbow on the ground, I feel confident that I can make this shot…

We were ready when there was an opening in the fog. At 350 yds the chamois dropped on its tracks never knewing what happened. We circle around and drop down a face to recover this gorgeous carpathian chamois. This is the largest chamois subspecies in the world, and are truly a magnificent animal. Couldn’t be more thankful for these three days of hard work that made this moment even more special. I have travelled all over the world chasing chamois and I think I will never get tired of doing it, love chasing them.

After some photos to never forget this moment, it was time to get the meat out and start to head down since we had a long ways to the car. Operating with thick gloves is not easy, but in these temperatures it was hard to keep the hands out for a few minutes. 🥶(In the town 1300meter below us it was -13C) On the photos, the mountain scalpel cerakote from Kestrel Knives with interchangeable blades.

Hiking down is always harder than hiking up, and with the chamois load and tired legs, we stopped to secure the things and put the crampons. Temperatures are wayyyy below zero, and every single rock is covered on ice and snow. Stupid mistakes or falls can lead to serious trouble, and the confidence a good solid grip on the ground that a crampon provides is awesome.

Time to say goodbye to Romania. What a view!! There are a few things more relaxing than a mountain in winter.

Photos: Slots Media

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