Spanish Ibex-Part II
Posted on February 25, 2014
To read PART I, click here!
With long, backward sweeping horns, and sure-footed as any mountain goat comes, the ibex of Spain offer a tremendous bowhunting trophy worth pursuing.
By Denny Sturgis Jr.
That afternoon we spotted a ram with some females just west of where I’d stalked in the morning. I cut a big circle to stay out of sight and get the wind while Juanjo and Emilio watched from the road again with a local farmer. There was an old path that led to the area where the Ibex grazed. Waist high, old terrace walls lined both sides of the path and by bending at the waist, I quickly covered 80 yards before starting to crawl keeping a wary eye ahead. This paid off when the ram jumped into the middle of the path and I was ready immediately freezing flat before he looked in my direction. The ram jumped over the other wall after less than a minute. I also climbed over and used some high grass and shrubs to crawl closer as he grazed by himself now.
The wind had picked up and helped cover any noise I made as I crept closer. I was ranging the Ibex and a shrub that I wanted to crawl to before shooting when the Ibex spotted me. I couldn’t believe it. I had rose up just enough to get a clear reading over the grass but he’d picked it up. The ram was broadside at 42 yards. When it turned its head I rolled to my knees and shot. The arrow hit a little low, but I thought it caught heart.
When the Ibex ran out of sight, I knew I hadn’t hit the heart and felt sick. I hiked back to the road. Juanjo said not to worry and called Miguel who owned the dog, Txusca. We drove into the mostly abandoned village and had a cup of coffee at the bar which was still open while we waited. Miguel arrived shortly and put Txusca on the scent. She bayed the Ibex quickly in a super steep rocky, wooded canyon. We raced up a trail notched into one side above the creek in the bottom of the canyon while the barking grew louder. Txusca had the ram bayed in a long crevice that quartered away from the main canyon we were in. The sounds of hooves on stone, rolling rocks and barking echoed off the rocky walls. We still couldn’t see Txusca or the ram, but could tell they were very close by the sounds they made.
Txusca suddenly ran down out of the crevice with the ram pursuing head lowered. Txusca swapped ends and chased the ram back out of sight. This occurred several times less than ten steps away. I was ready but couldn’t shoot without endangering Txusca. Finally there was a safe opportunity and my arrow flew true. The Ibex ran back up the chute and out of sight. Rocks started falling above us and we backed into a concave area in the rock face. Seconds later, the Ibex fell past us and landed with a thud on a flat place by the creek below.
Eyes wide, I looked at the guys and said, “Wow!”
Emilio, Miguel and Juanjo were euphoric over getting the Ibex. Even Txusca seemed to be smiling as I scratched her back, but we both knew who the real hero was.
MY PARTNERS SCORE
When we arrived back at the hunting house we learned Tom had taken a second ram. During our midday breaks Tom had been running to the top of the mountain on a trail behind the house. He’d noticed fresh sign and had seen a couple Ibex in one area. He suggested hunting this area to his guide Sorin, so they walked up to check it out. A cold front with 20 to 30 mile per hour winds and an icy fog rolled in as they topped out on a high plateau. They spotted a ram and dropped back down and circled halfway around to get the wind. When they topped out again the Ibex was nowhere in sight. Tom eased forward in the area they had last seen the ram. He spotted it a minute later and made a perfect shot at 35 yards.
Randy returned after dark. He’d been on a long hike, but didn’t get a chance to stalk. We had to leave for Barcelona the next day, but Salva said Randy could hunt the next morning until 9:00. The next day the guides were glassing and spotted four rams. Rand and Juanjo started the stalk from around four hundred yards. The Ibex were feeding along a terrace and Randy and Juanjo angled their approach to end up at some ruins ahead of the rams. They crawled the last 60 yards into a position behind an old stone wall on the terrace edge forty yards in front of the approaching rams.
After waiting around ten minutes an Ibex fed into twenty yards slightly quartering below. Randy drew, anchored and released. The shaft hit home and the ram only covered 30 yards before expiring. The time was 9:15; truly a last minute success.
When Randy returned triumphant we celebrated by posing all the rams into position for a group photo. It was the perfect ending to an epic hunt in a beautiful country with the best of friends—both old and new.
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