My Swiss ibex adventure
As a Swiss hunter, the opportunity to hunt an ibex is quite a privilege. This hunt is not included in the annual license you buy each year so you need to get into a selection process. Therefore the process behind this hunt is so precise that it deserves its own article. Let me share my adventure with you.
The very first step between you and the ibex is the selection process.
Here is the list of what you need to do to get selected:
- You need to be registered in a Diana (which is like a local hunting club).
- As a Diana member, you have the possibility to register for the annual draw.
- If you are selected, you’ll receive a letter with all the information you need for the hunt and specific ibex is attributed to you (for me, it was a male from 1 to 2 years). This detail is one of the most important because if you hunt the wrong ibex, you will have to pay a fine for your mistake.
- You’ll be invited to take a class to learn about the ibex situation in Switzerland how to analyze the animal and determine its age. This class isn’t mandatory but it’s only a few hours and is highly recommended. This will also allow you to go on the hunt alone (you can ask for the help of the game warden).
Every hunter agrees that knowing the area where you are going to hunt is a huge advantage. This is where I got lucky as the area is the same as where I hunt during the season (the area is also attributed to you). With the help of my friends who hunt with me during the season, I collected all the information to focus my observation on a specific spot in the attributed area.
This saved me a lot of time which is important because, to be honest, the stress behind this hunt is quite high. You only have a window of 10 days in September and 10 days in October to get the animal. If you don’t get it during this attributed period, you’ll need to wait years to be able to register again (or you can pay, but it’s expensive).
This context motivated me a lot to take time to observe wildlife and identify the ibex in advance. I tried to observe the animal on four different occasions without seeing it, so I decided to go to the spot without my car (to not scare wildlife). That means you start from the bottom of the resort with one-two hours of walking to get to the top ( which you’d normally do with a ski lift). After this intense walk, I finally arrived at the observing spot, and guess what? Nothing at all. I was so frustrated that I took my phone to write a message to my friend. This was when it appeared. A one-year-old male. I only saw it for six seconds but that was enough for me; I had the proof that the ibex was there.
The risk of incorrectly determining the age of the ibex is a huge stress factor when you have a precise hunt to do; even moreso when you are as excited as if it was Christmas! Guessing the age of an ibex through binoculars is not a simple task which is why I asked the game warden to assist me, and it was the best thing to do. I accept the fact that as a young hunter, I don’t have enough experience to go alone for that kind of hunt.
The night before, I didn’t sleep a lot as I was trying to imagine the hunt. The good thing was that I knew exactly where and when to go to the hunting spot.
I’m pretty sure you know that feeling when you are at the spot and an “entire zoo” passes in front of you. We saw maybe fifteen animals from chamois to ibexes. But not a one-year-old male. After two hours of in one spot and freezing like crazy, we saw not one, but three males from 1 to 2 years old.
My arms and my hands were like ice cubes but adrenaline kicked in so that I was able to line up the shot. I needed to wait for the perfect moment to be sure that the animal wouldn’t suffer. Half an hour later, one of them decided to climb a tree (don’t ask me why) like the goats you can see in Morocco.
The shot was clean and precise, even the game warden saw the animal down.
The meat preparation
After the hunt we went to my friend’s restaurant the 14 cors in Bluche to celebrate, but the work was not finished: I had to prepare the meat.
I asked my father, who is a retired butcher, to help me which was easier than the year before when I did the job by myself. Thanks to him the meat is now well prepared and ready to be cooked.
What will be my first ibex meal?
A lot of people think that mountain goat meat or ibex is too strong. Mine was young so the meat is tender and has a soft taste.
After some research, I took the decision to keep it as “traditional” as possible. I searched for “mountain goat” recipes and found the perfect one: Country Goat Curry from Nigel Marimuthu.
When I said “traditional” I was not speaking about the “Swiss traditional” but more about the “mountain goat traditional” 🙂
Want to see pictures of the hunt, the meat preparation, and the cooking? Check our Instagram: huntandeatwell
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