The story behind our Hunting report for Gold Beceite Ibex
A few months ago we have had our first Canadian Hunter, Thomas Smith and he has visited us with his lovely wife, Tori. You can read their testimonial in our References section. What you don´t see there is that he recommended us to Kyle, the star hunter of this week.
Kyle has booked a Hunting and touring trip to Spain for the Beceite Ibex and added some extra time for tourism. He has also brought his lovely girlfriend, Heidi, a fantastic and experienced bow hunter that promised to come back and use her bow and arrows to harvest a Spanish Ibex.
Before we start our Hunting report for Gold Beceite Ibex we must mention one more thing: we are talking about December and that means something important for the Spanish Ibex: Middle of the Rut season
Kyle and Heidi arrived to Valencia, Spain, on December 11th with all the homework done: gun permit from the Spanish Consulate in Canada, transit permit for the Stop in Amsterdam, intense training for the Spanish mountains and lots of enthusiasm for what was about to be their first guided hunt and at the same time the first hunting trip outside Canada.
We went to Gun´s Registration office to receive the Special authorization for the use of fire-guns in Spain and as Heidi did not see her luggage on the belt we encountered our first challenge: one missing luggage. Some phone calls, some signed documents and the next place we were at was a store buying mountain walking boots. Who would have expected a shopping session so early in the trip?
One hour later we took off and started our drive towards the hunting area. A quick dinner stop on the way where Kyle and Heidi had their first fresh beer in Spain and realized that there is no “small portion” in Spain.
Part one of the hunting report for Gold Beceite Ibex
1st Hunting Day
At 8 am we were ready to leave the house. A great breakfast with bacon omelette, toast, fresh crashed tomatoes with olive oil and what they think is the best coffee they´ve ever had gave us the energy for our first hunting trip.
The weather was on our side, mild temperatures, no wind and lots of energy. After sighting in the gun we started our mission. In the meantime Kyle jokingly sais that he wants to have a Beceite Ibex one inch bigger than his friend, Thomas´s, which was a high Bronze Beceite Ibex. The next thing you know, we were determined to go after a gold Beceite Ibex.
Many animals were seen, but the golds have heard that The Canadian wanted one of them so the rams played hard to get. After a short lunch pause while being observed by a silver Beceite Ibex we continued our quest until sunset.
We returned to the village with joy and after a couple of drinks we were determined that the next day we were certainly going to shoot a gold ibex. The rich dinner where we had soup, goat cheese salad, rabbit, stuffed chicken and delicious yogurt mousse was accompanied by the first taste of an authentic Spanish Red Wine.
2nd Hunting day
By 8 am we were ready for breakfast. Today the Spanish Tortilla made with eggs, onion and potatoes received the well deserved praise. One delicious coffee and we started our second hunting day.
In the morning we saw lots of does and young males. From time to time we could spot bigger animals but none good enough. The weather was warm, too warm even, and all the ibex were in the shady hillside, bedded down between the pine trees. In the afternoon we spotted a nice group across the valley. They were big, still not good golds, but we had the opportunity of seeing two of them fighting while almost throwing each other over the cliffs. What a treat for us!
After lunch and a short siesta in the mountains Vicente put on what he calls his lucky hat and we were determined that we were not going to go at home empty handed. Immediately after putting on the hat we found out that Heidi´s luggage was already in Valencia and we were going to receive it soon. We started walking again and split into 3 groups to cover more terrain. While we waited for some does to move and see if the big males will allow us to see them we found a black truffle in the ground. Heidi decided it´s not her favorite smell, but everyone that has tasted it knows how exquisite its taste is and how expensive it can get.
While we were standing there our guide spotted a group of 8 or 9 ibex, females, young males and 3 big rams. We decided to get our group together and decide which one we should shoot at. While the group was getting together a huge ram came out from the woods. There was no doubt that it was a gold, and not a low one. Vicente´s hat was doing its job just right. But then the worst thing happened: while we were getting ready to shoot the ibex climbed down the mountain with its excellent goat skills and was nowhere to be found. We waited for him to show up from behind any shrubs, wall or rocks, but the sun was already behind the mountains when we admitted that our chance was gone.
The first drinks at night had a bitter feeling behind them, but after a while we got positive. “Hunting is like this“, that´s what we, hunters, always say but never want to happen to us. Another exquisite dinner, another bottle of Spanish Red Wine and by when we were having the almond creme brulee we were grateful for our chances, for our day and for this new friendship that was bonding us.
Last hunting day
This was going to be the day, no excuses allowed. We got up a lot earlier, had a way quicker breakfast and by when we arrived up in the mountains the sun was still only one third above the peaks. We went back to where we spotted the big ram. And we waited. We sent a guide across the valley to watch from different angles, but the big ibex was nowhere to be found. One guide saw one big ram on the following mountain, we almost ran through the trees, up and down, breathing heavily and quietly at the same time. We arrived there and after seeing ibex moving around in all directions we saw a big one, maybe a High Silver or a Low Gold, but not as big as the one from last night. Everyone was getting anxious, so we changed the area. Just bellow the mountain road we heard steps running in the mountain. We stalked them and spotted a few nice rams walking down in the valley. Nice ones, but not impressive.
When we got back to the car Kyle remembered that we had some sweets from breakfast filled with sweet pumpkin and after each of us having one, and after a quick prayer to his grandfather of which we were about to hear of a few hours later, our guide saw a huge Ibex on the mountain in front of us on the other side of the valley. It was almost at noon and we could see from 800 yards that he bedded down in the skyline. We all rushed into the car and after drifting on the mountainous roads we arrived on the other side as quick as we could, but apparently not quick enough. We walked the last hundred yards by foot, hiding behind the trees of the high plateau and in complete silence, but the Ibex was not there anymore.
Lunch was quiet, the wind was getting more intense and our faces were colored. One last afternoon, that was all that we had left. The air was still filled with oranges scent when Vicente stood up and went over the cliff to look down. It was a late lunch and we were about to have a couple of hours of daylight.
And then it happened. Vicente turned back at us excited and glowing. We took all the equipment and the gun and ran towards him, and there it was: the darkest Beceite Ibex, almost completely black, with some gray shades on his sides.
We got quickly into the car and drove a few hundred yards lower. Left the car with all doors open and approached the end of the cliff crawling. There it was: quiet, serene and waiting for us. Kyle got comfortable in his shooting position and a few moments later the one and only shot crossed the old ram. 50 yards, that´s all he could run, and then he stopped at the base of one tree, still and breathless.
Getting to it was not a quick and uncomplicated quest. We had to drive down towards the furthest place that our car could get to, we climbed down into the valley and then climbed up on the other side. On our way we came across another nice group of rams and does and they let us get really close to them. The danger was gone and they could feel it.
The walk was definitely challenging and we were all breathing heavily, but every 30 seconds somebody would say “grande ibex, grande“, or “big, big big”, or “black, big horns” and between laughter and jokes and uphill climb we found the Ibex 15 minutes later. The Gold 13 years old Beceite Ibex was even more impressive when we saw him so up close. We took pictures with every available camera and mobile phone and by when the guides finished taking the cape out it was really dark.
The dinner was a complete and intense party. All the bar and then the restaurant joined us and the village will remember this night for many years ahead. Everyone that saw the pictures congratulated Kyle and Kyle would look at Vicente from time to time just to give him a hug, have a toast and say thank you. We sang “Que viva España” and “Long live Canada” and went to sleep joyful and thankful.
Part two of the hunting report for Gold Beceite Ibex
Tourism and sightseeing
The last day that Kyle and Heidi spent with us was dedicated to tourism and sightseeing. After a relaxed breakfast, having toast, crushed tomatoes, olive oil and zucchini Spanish tortilla, accompanied by the still praised fresh espresso coffee we headed towards the Castle of Peñíscola. On our way there we were waved goodbye by a small group of Spanish Beceite Ibex at a short distance from the road.
The weather was perfect, a sunny December day resembling Springtime rather than winter. We stopped to take some pictures of 500 years olive tress, and could see heavily loaded orange trees and artichokes on our way towards the seaside.
The view of the Castle was imposing from its first sight. The sea of a light blue and the sandy beaches that surround the castle made one think of summertime. The castle, built by the templar Knights and completed by the Montesianos in the 14th century, later modified by the Papa Luna Pope is a delight for the visitor, no matter how many times you go there.
We had a wonderful lunch by the sea, the best restaurant in Peñíscola, where the fish and seafood is as fresh as it can be. While dining you can see how fishing boats approach the harbor and buyers wait their turn to buy the still alive fish species like monk fish, sea bass, sea bream, hake, prawns, clams, oysters, lobsters… all of them fished the very same day. We had Sangria and white wine and tried the Spanish flavors for ice-cream: Turron and Crema catalana.
Then we headed towards Valencia, stopping in Castellón for a short shopping session and sightseeing of the city downtown. After seeing the impressive sunset from the car we arrived to Valencia and went for dinner. This time we had the Valencia paella in one of the best restaurant in the cities, with traditional paella prepared by the locals and mainly for the locals, with best quality ingredients and exquisite taste, incomparable with the paella that tourist restaurants offer to people from abroad normally.
We hate saying goodbye, especially after such an intense week, after having this amazing hunting experience, successful shot, and new friends for a lifetime. Kyle and Heidi will spend some days in the Canary Islands before heading back to Canada where they will make sure to use a good amount of sunscreen as there are better ways of spending Christmas than being sun burnt, even if it happened on a Spanish Island at 80ºF in December.
We hope you enjoyed this hunting report for gold Beceite Ibex and that you will decide to join us for a hunting trip similar to this one.
Caza Hispanica, Your hunting agency in Spain for the Spanish Ibex and not only.