This fleet, sure-footed animal is said to be the only branch of the Antelope family found in Western Europe. Its home is among the steep Alpine heights. During the summer months, it ascends to the limits of perpetual snow; but in the winter, it descends to the woods of the glacier regions. Here only can the hardy hunter be successful in capturing it.

It is very shy, with the senses of sight and smell exceedingly acute. The herd never feeds without first taking the precaution to post a sentinel on some prominent point. No sooner does he see some danger than he gives the signal of alarm by stamping with his forefeet on the ground, and uttering a peculiarly shrill whistle. On hearing it, the whole herd is off like the wind.

The hoofs of the chamois are admirably adapted for climbing, the outer edges being higher than the soles, so that he can find footing on the rough rocks where it would be impossible for almost any other animal to climb. He is covered with a thick coat of long, chestnut-brown hair, underneath which is another covering of short, thick, grayish wool. His horns are from six to eight inches long, slender, striated, and hooked at the end. With these formidable weapons it does valiant battle in protecting its young from the fierce eagles that swoop down to carry them off.

The skin of the chamois is very soft and for this reason, highly prized. The flesh is considered excellent.

Chamois-hunting is always attended with considerable danger; and perhaps for this reason the bold mountaineers all the more eagerly hunt for it. In addition to its great shyness, it can climb the most dangerous places; and it makes surprising leaps, often, when closely pursued, plunging down the perpendicular face of the rock for twenty or thirty feet.

The chamois has been so eagerly sought after that it is now comparatively rare, and the hunters in some portions of the country are not allowed to shoot it except in the fall of the year.



W. E. L.