This article is the first part of the whole article on “Hunting Ibex in Spain” and the mountain hunting technique in Spain. In these two articles we are going to illustrate what actually happens on the field when you go hunting with Vicente Gil, Caza Hispanica´s outfitter for the Spanish hunting species, mainly the Spanish Ibex.
Preparation and equipment when hunting Ibex in Spain
First and foremost we have to be sure that we are physically prepared. Caza Hispanica adapts the difficulty of the hunt to the physical condition of the hunter, but make sure you know your limits and you let the PH know them as well.
As a standard equipment make sure to take a good pair of binoculars and ear plugs for the shooting, and of course, your gun. You can bring your own gun or you can rent it from Caza Hispanica. We use the best optical devices, binoculars and spotting scopes up to 60x.
The hunter who wishes to hunt by getting close to the animal must wear clothes which guarantee a undetectable silent approach: camo clothing or dark green or brown clothing are a great option. The fabric should allow movement but at the same time should protect you from dry and thorny plants. Make sure you wear a good pair of shoes that allow an intense hike and that prevent you from slipping. They should be light, comfortable and with a sole neither rigid nor too flexible. Booths that protect your ankle are a great choice.
First of all, it should be small, in fact, the smaller it is, the better. Big enough to carry your binoculars, camera, knife, a lighter, flashlight(optional), your documents and of course, your bullets. A mountain walking stick is a good ally if you are used to it.
Setting out and moving across the mountain
When hunting Ibex in Spain it is best to set out at dawn, or at least at an early hour, so as to locate the animals that usually gaze at this time, bedding down when the day begins to get hot. Make sure to check your glasses before your departure and, absolutely make sure that the sight of your rifle is well adjusted. Vicente Gil, Caza Hispanica´s PH, pays special attention to this aspect, so you will always be taken to a shooting area to check your gun before shooting at an animal.
Lunch is normally taken care of and the crew from Caza Hispanica will carry picnic-style lunch for everyone. As we will be walking in the mountains all day it is important to maintain yourself hydrated and have a light lunch since digestion is more difficult.
Before setting out, the PH and the guides will organize the walk. Generally the group walks in a line and never altogether. The rifle will be fully loaded but without any bullet in the chamber, always, always with the safety catch on. Vicente will always inform you about details of the walk, the game that we are about to see as we understand that you, as the hunter, will feel far keener when you understand what is going to happen.
Whenever possible, when our hunters come hunting ibex in Spain, we follow used animal tracks so we conserve energy, but from time to time we will be challenged by upwards climbs.
The search, location and qualification of the trophy
Depending on the game and on the density of animal population, the challenge lies in both locating the game and selecting the trophy you are going to find once you find them. In a scarcely populated area, locating a prime male is more complicated than shooting at it, while in a high populated area you will have to choose what animal you want to shoot at.
During our moves across the mountain we must be extremely careful not to let ourselves be seen or heard. Every step must be taken with extreme precaution. From time to time we will have short stops used mainly for observation and rest.
Sighting the game clearly can be difficult. If you are not used to the game in particular, hunting ibex in Spain may be tricky to pick out from the background. Therefore, you should know that in order to search efficiently you should examine the areas in which the game is more likely to be found: In the sun if it´s chilly and out of the wind if the weather is windy, for example. It is now when looking after signs or tracks left by wild animals comes in handy.
Once the animal or the herd has been located, the PH and the local guides will qualify it through the glasses and determine whether it is a trophy worth pursuing or not. If the animal or the hers are at a good distance away, Vicente proceeds to set up the spotting scope. In this way the local guides and himself will assess the horns, waiting for the animal to let see its horns in as many positions as possible so as to make a better evaluation of the length, curve and thickness.
Stay tuned and don´t miss the second part of this article where we will talk about: The approach and the stalk, the preparation and the shot and the collection of the trophy.
If you have any questions or would like to book a hunt with Caza Hispanica write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiry.