Longbow Hunting Ibex in Madrid: Missing the Shot
Posted on June 26, 2013
In a recent post you read all about longbow hunting in the mountains of Madrid and how to prepare for unknown territory. Then you found about stalking mountain game. Now find out what to do when you miss the shot:
The arrow flashed by him, very slightly creasing his hip, and off he went in a hurry. I was stunned, as I’m a pretty good shot, and at a range of between 20 and 25 yards, this should have been a slam dunk. Then it came to me. As I was packing for this trip, wedged between a Colorado mountain goat and a Nebraska whitetail hunt, I had somehow been unable to locate my well-worn shooting glove and arm guard. I’d hurriedly grabbed a back-up, but even though I had shot it a few times, it was still very stiff, and I believe my unfamiliarity with it had caused the shot to fly wide. Oh well, excuses are like…well, we know what they’re like. Bottom line…I MISSED!
Needless to say, whatever the reason for the miss, I was disgusted with myself. Many years on the football field, though, taught me that if you screw up and draw a penalty flag, you put it out of your mind immediately, or you’re likely to screw up on the next play, too. So, that last shot already stored in the “history” file, my thoughts turned instantly to how I could salvage the situation?
After very nearly buying the farm, the billy ran to the right, through a shallow draw, across a small bench, and then turned downhill as he encountered a rock buttress. I ran, tripped, crawled and rolled after him, probably looking like a $15,000 winner on America’s Funniest Home Videos! But instead of following him down along the face of the rocks, which I figured he would try to go underneath, I ran uphill and out onto the top of the rocky outcropping, hoping I might somehow get a shot down on him as he traversed below the buttress.
When I arrived at the point of the rocks, breathing heavily from my mad dash, I looked straight down about 60 feet into a very thick tangle of brush. Almost instantly I heard and sensed movement below and to my right. And in just seconds, the huge horns and black back of the Gredos ibex were twisting and turning below me, tight to the rocks, negotiating a path through the maze of foliage.
Without thinking about it, an arrow was on my string, and I was drawing on the billy that was directly below me now and moving from my right to left. He veered slightly to his right as he reached another turn in the trail, and suddenly my arrow was on its way. The ultra-sharp Zwickey Delta took the goat in the top of the back, slightly behind the left shoulder, and just two inches to the left of the spine. The Easton Legacy shaft drove the deadly broadhead directly into the top of the heart, and in seconds the magnificent big billy lay still on the mountainside.
As I knelt next to him, the entire experience seemed a little surreal. I realized I was half a world away from the mountains of my home in southwest Colorado, and these mountains felt very different. I had just arrowed a beast as I’d done so very many times before, but the animal seemed foreign to me as I studied him. I was amongst a group of men, as I’ve been on many hunting adventures before, but they spoke a language I barely understood.
So, at the same time the entire experience was familiar and strangely unfamiliar. And yet, the grins on their faces and the sparkle in their eyes communicated the age-old joy unique to hunters down the ages. To me it was as unmistakable as if they spoke perfect English. Nevertheless, I asked Giuseppe for an exact interpretation of what they were talking about. His response was quite simple. They’re saying, “What a fantastic hunt, but we never thought he’d get one with that bent stick!” I’d known all along that they hadn’t thought we’d be successful, as even lots of veteran bowhunters are skeptical about traditional bows. On the other hand, I never had any doubt.
By Lew Webb