Image: Gordon Roberts | ©


Find out about chamois and chamois hunting.


Size: Males are 650-900 mm (shoulder height) and weigh 25-45 kg. Females are smaller at 600-800 mm shoulder height and weighing 19-35 kg.

Colour: Their summer coat varies from grey-brown, tan to honey-gold tone. Their much darker winter coat is dark brown/almost black.

On their face they have a dark brown or black band that goes from the nose, around the eyes to base of horns. Their cheeks and throat are white or pale fawn.

Horns: Both male and females have horns which are black and slender. They arise straight up before curving backwards to form sharp hooks at the ends. Male horns are usually stouter and their hooks more strongly developed than females.

Social behaviour: Mostly feeding during the day, during summer time they feed for 3-4 hours from dawn and again for 3-4 hours before dusk. They rest during the middle of the day. During winter they feed less intensively, mostly at mid morning and mid afternoon.

Outside of mating season, male and female chamois are largely segregated. Females and young form loose, unstable groups, and males are mostly solitary.

Reproduction: Mating season begins in early-mid May, peaking in late May to early June. During this time dominant males will gather available females in a harem, defending them from other males often posturing with imposing displays but rarely resulting in frontal attacks.

Gestation period: Variable 5 1/2 to 6 months.

Birthing: Single young are born from November to February.

Nomenclature: Male chamois are called bucks, females called doe, and their young called kids.

Where to hunt chamois

Chamois are found throughout the high country of the South Island and in some lowland forests, from the Marlborough Sounds in the north to Fiordland in the south.

They are renowned for their ability to occupy a range of mountain habitats, and will spread into lower altitude forest areas especially on the West Coast.

Find a hunting block that has chamois

You can use the hunting block search function to find hunting areas that have chamois.

Search for a hunting block that has chamois.


In the Nelson/Marlborough area moderate to light numbers of chamois can be found, mainly around Nelson Lakes National Park and South Marlborough. They are still colonising North West Nelson and sightings have been reported as far north as the head of the Cobb Valley. For further details, contact:

Whakatū / Nelson Office
Address:   Monro Building
186 Bridge Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042

West Coast

Chamois are found in low numbers throughout most alpine areas of the northern west coast. For further details, contact:

Māwhera / Greymouth Office
Phone:   +64 3 768 0427
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   17 High Street
Greymouth 7805
Postal Address:   PO Box 370
Greymouth 7840

For Hokitika/Whitcombe, Kokatahi/Toaroha, Otira/Deception, Styx/Arahura, Taipo and Taramakau catchments contact:

Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:   +64 3 788 8008
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Russell Street
Westport 7825
Postal Address:   PO Box 357
Westport 7866

For the Wanganui, Whataroa, Waitangitoana to Franz Josef, Saltwater Forest, Omoeroa and Okarito areas contact:

Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:   +64 3 752 0796
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Postal Address:   PO Box 14
Franz Josef Glacier 7856

For the Fox, Cook, Copland, Douglas, Mahitahi, Jacobs contact:

Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:   +64 3 752 0796
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Postal Address:   PO Box 14
Franz Josef Glacier 7856

Chamois occur in moderate numbers in Haast Valley, Landsborough and Clarke with lower numbers in valleys south of Haast being, Okuru, Turnbull, Waiatoto, Arawhata and Cascade. For further details, contact:

Awarua / Haast Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 750 0809
Fax:   -
Address:   Haast Junction
Corner SH6 and Jackson Bay Road
South Westland
Postal Address:   PO Box 50
Haast 7844


There are good numbers of chamois in Mid and North Canterbury but low numbers in South Canterbury due to the expanding range of Tahr. For further details, contact:

Arthurs Pass National Park both east and west sides:

Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 318 9211
Address:   104 West Coast Road
Arthur's Pass
Postal Address:   PO Box 51008
Arthur's Pass 7654

For other areas, contact:

Te Manahuna / Twizel Office
Phone:   +64 3 435 0802
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   15 Wairepo Road
Twizel 7901
Postal Address:   Private Bag 951
Twizel 7944
Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 435 1186
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   1 Larch Grove
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Postal Address:   PO Box 5
Aoraki/Mt Cook 7946
Raukapuka / Geraldine Office
Phone:   +64 3 693 1010
Address:   13 – 15 North Terrace
Geraldine 7930
Postal Address:   PO Box 33
Geraldine 7956
Whakatipu-wai-Māori / Queenstown Office
Phone:   +64 3 442 7933
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Cavells Building
1 Arthurs Point Road
Postal Address:   PO Box 811
Queenstown 9348

Tips for hunting chamois

Characteristics / behaviour

Hunting response

Chamois are small to medium sized animals, which due to terrain encountered in are often hard to get close to undetected.

Flat trajectory calibre .223 for ranges under 200m and .243 or .25 and above for longer ranges.

They have excellent sense of smell and eyesight.

Hunt in an upwind direction taking advantage of vegetation and rock cover.

During the rut (mating season), males join up with the groups of females and young.


The rut is a good time to hunt for bucks as they can be preoccupied with gathering and defending does from other bucks.

In summer they feed from dawn for three to four hours, then rest until three to four hours before dusk, when they feed again. In winter, feeding is confined to mid morning and mid afternoon.

Hunting chamois whilst occupied feeding can be easier to locate and stalk animals as opposed to when lying down resting.

Chamois like to sit on lookout points, spurs or in open headwaters on small outcrops or permanent snow, where they have expansive views to watch for danger.

Glass well ahead remembering that chamois are small when sitting down. Often a giveaway feature is the black stripe on the cream face of the chamois.

Chamois when looking for danger will often concentrate looking down and seldom above.

When hunting, where able approach from above as this often increases the chance of getting in close for a shot undetected.

Chamois will often avoid areas where tahr are feeding.

If hunting chamois specifically, look for feeding areas away from tahr.

Chamois, especially on the West Coast are not restricted to the high country and will occupy low altitude forests.

When travelling to more open country seeking chamois be alert for animals lower down especially on slips, creek beds, rocky outcrops etc.

Hunting seasons and ballots

In New Zealand, there is no seasonal restriction to hunting chamois meaning generally they can be hunted throughout the year. There are however, instances where restrictions apply for specific reasons and periods when hunting is favoured.

Specific restrictions

  • Some areas may be closed during periods of high fire danger.
  • Occasionally an area may be closed on a temporary basis to enable research or other management to be undertaken without being compromised by hunting.

It is important to check for these conditions with the DOC office nearest the hunting area.

Favoured hunting periods

  • The rut (May-June) is a good time to hunt for bucks as they can be preoccupied with gathering and defending does from other bucks.
  • Late summer: Can offer settled weather in beautiful alpine country when chamois have a lovely fawn summer coat following the spring moult and prior to commencing the winter coat growth. Bucks can be found tucked up by themselves high in the headwaters of alpine basins.

International travel with hunting trophies

You may need CITES documentation to enter or leave New Zealand with your hunting trophy.

Check you need documentation

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