Although came to a point of extinction over most of its range around late 19th century, Alpine ibex today can be found throughout the Swiss, French, Austrian, German and Italian Alps. All these current populations originate from reintroductions of less than 100 ibex taken from Gran Paradiso park in northern Italy after it became extinct or nearly extinct in their former range countries. Reintroduction operations are still undertaken even though the total population in these countries exceeds 47.000. Although Alpine ibex are indigenous to Alps of Europe only, some populations were also introduced to Slovenia and Bulgaria where they can be found in sustainable numbers and are hunted by limited numbers.
Of all the countries Alpine ibex inhabits, Switzerland and Austria are the most prominent destinations for this highly sought after trophy animal. Both Alpine ibex and Alpine chamois are widely distributed with consistent populations in either country and can be hunted in their free ranging habitat. Austria also offers the option of hunting on fenced private properties. Ibex in these fenced enclosures usually support bigger horns than those of free-ranging but it may lack the hunting experience one can get out of an ibex hunt.
There can be an ample difference at elevations the Alpine ibex can be found and hunted due to seasonal migrations. Their summer and winter ranges can vary between 6000-11500 feet (1800-3500m) depending on the time of year. Season starts by early August ends by the end of November. Best time for an Alpine ibex hunt can be a debatable matter. While earlier periods offer enjoyable hunting in a beautiful surroundings, later periods in November when the rut occurs, is more likely the produce exceptional trophies.
Hunters are accommodated in the best available hotel near the hunting areas. These are usually small but clean and cozy local hotels with all the modern amenities. Hunting method is usually a combination of riding around in four wheel drive trucks and/or hunting on foot once the car is left behind.
Horns of fully mature male Alpine ibex normally reach to a horn length of 85-95 cm (33-37”), exceeding the 100cm (39,5”) mark very rarely. As with most European countries that has a long hunting history and tradition, both Switzerland and Austria adopted the CIC system and follow it to record trophies. The CIC scoring method for ibex is a complex system that takes a number of objective and subjective assessments into account other than merely length and circumference. Judging the trophies by CIC, any head over 150 points should be considered an outstanding trophy.