SPAIN: Beceite Ibex Hunt In Spain

Darren K

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I just got back from a beceite ibex hunt in the province of Teruel, Spain with Fran Cortina from Corju Hunting and had a fantastic time. I have had my eye on the beceite ibex for about a year now (After reading UKHunter’s review) and as soon as I saw a picture of one for the first time, it immediately made my bucket list. I have been in contact with Fran since the beginning of the year, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t been able to put a hunt together. About a month ago, Fran said that he had a cancellation for an ibex hunt right at the beginning of the season, and the rut, so the animals would be moving and haven’t been pressured. How could I possibly say no? I booked my hunt then and there. Then came the hardest part.. Waiting for my trip to Spain. In between the time that I booked the hunt and the day that I left, Fran was in constant communication with me, answering any questions that I had and helping me with my travel/hotel arrangements to ensure that I had the best possible trip.

The day finally came on 5 November, and after a quick 2-hour flight from Frankfurt, I landed in Barcelona. I decided, being as this would be my first time visiting Spain, that I would make the most of it and spend 2 days prior to my hunt exploring Barcelona. Fran had set me up at the Hotel Catelonia Padrera, a very nice, centrally-located hotel within walking distance of many historic sites and tons of restaurants and bars. My first day there, I did some walking and took in the sights and sounds of the city. Barcelona is a very modern and beautiful city with tons of amazing food. That night, I ate at a tapas bar close to the city and it was one of the best meals I’ve eaten in my life. The morning of my second day in the city was spent taking a bus tour of the city to see as much of it as I could. It was an amazing mix of architectural styles and remnants of the 1992 Olympic Games could still be felt around the city. After the bus tour, I went to the La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. I’ve been to dozens of cathedrals around Europe and this was, by far, the most amazing I’ve ever seen. It is definitely a must-see for anyone traveling to or through Barcelona. Again, I had some amazing food throughout the day and then went back to my hotel to get ready for what I had come to Spain to do. Through my 2 days in Barcelona, Fran was in contact with me to make sure that all my needs were taken care of.
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At 1130 on 7 November, Fran picked me up in front of my hotel and we were off to the hunting grounds. The 3-hour drive through the Spanish countryside went by very quickly as it was filled with great conversation and amazing views of the constantly changing landscape. As we entered Fran’s 43,000 hectare hunting area, we immediately started seeing Ibex. We arrived to the hotel at around 1430 and were greeted by Fran’s partner and fellow guide, Jose, and their head gamekeeper. The hotel itself was way more than I had expected. The hotel was immaculate and I was given the keys to a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment that overlooked the town’s bull fighting ring. The accommodations would have been ideal for groups of hunters or hunters bringing their families along for the trip. After 15 minutes at the hotel to change and grab gear, we were headed out to the hunting grounds.
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During this trip, I borrowed Fran’s Steyr .270 so naturally, the first stop was to make sure the gun was zeroed for me. After 3 shots, Fran and Jose were satisfied with my shooting and we were off to start the hunt. We immediately started seeing animals. As soon as we left the shooting area, we saw a large group of 20 or so females and young males, and shortly after, we spotted a group of males about 400 meters away up on a ridge grazing in a narrow strip of sunlight. I was after a nice representative animal, and after carefully looking at the animals, my guides determined that these were not the size and age that we were after. We also spotted a mature male laying down on another ridge that Fran and Jose estimated to be a Bronze or Silver medal animal. Absolutely beautiful beasts. A little way further up the road, we came upon a group of 3 males just off the road and before we knew it, they were up and over the ridge. With 43,000 hectares to cover, we did a lot of driving and stopping to glass the hillsides. Just before dark, we spotted a very nice 8-9 year old representative billy that was just what we were looking for. We got out of the car to make a stalk and by the time we got into shooting position, he had made it up to the ridge turned around for a split second, and disappeared. These animals are known for their amazing vision, seemingly being able to sense when something isn’t right and then bolting up and over mountains with amazing speed. This one proved just how true that was. We got back in the vehicle and circled around the opposite side of the mountain to see if we could catch another glimpse, but this one had disappeared. At that point we had lost the sun behind the mountains and we decided it was time to head back to the hotel. In the short time we had been hunting, we had already seen about 50 animals. After we got back, we had an amazing meal of pork served in a traditional style followed by home cooked flan. I went to bed that night full, a bit buzzed, and excited for the rest of the hunt to come.
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The next morning, we met at the restaurant at 0730 and had a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, and plenty of coffee to start the day. Jose met Fran and I and they came up with the plan for the day. The wind had come up overnight so we had to adjust a bit. Due to ibex’ vision being their primary means of defense, they tend to hold tight when it is windy. With full stomachs, we headed out for the day. This day started out much different than the previous day. The animals we had seen the day before had vanished into the foliage. After about an hour of hunting, we saw our first group of animals; 3 Roe deer with one of them being a tall, thick based buck. Fran guessed that it would have been a Bronze medal buck, but only about three years old so it still had some growing to do. Fran had a tag available, but a bonus animal wasn’t in the budget for this hunt, so I let him walk. We went on to explore more of the enormous hunting area and as we were about to move to another section of the hunting area, we spotted 3 ibex grazing their way up the side of a mountain. We glassed them from about a mile away and could see that two were immature males, but one had the telltale dark markings of a mature beceite ibex. As we closed in to about half a mile, both Fran and Jose agreed that this was a large representative animal, exactly what we were looking for. We then dismounted and began the stalk up the loose rock of the Spanish mountains and the terraced farm land. About half way up to our target animal, we noticed that one of the smaller ibex had stayed behind, so we were forced to navigate around him. Luckily, the wind was working in our favor at this point and was carrying our scent and sound down the mountain, away from our prize. After another 75 meters, we came up on a good shooting position from which I could clearly see the other two ibex. I settled in behind the rifle and got my crosshairs on the larger ibex. Just as I did, he acted spooked and started up the mountain. He went about 15 meters and paused, giving me a split second with a clear, quartering away shot. I adjusted my point of aim a few inches back on the animal to compensate for his position, squeezed the trigger, and the shot was solid. The ibex went about 5 yards and stopped broadside, stunned and swaying. I quickly decided that I would rather be safe than sorry and put one more round right behind its shoulder. He immediately dropped and I knew there was no question that he was down. We stayed silent for a few minutes to let the other ibex disappear over the mountain so as not to spook them any more than we already had. Then came the congratulations. As we approached the animal, I could not believe how beautiful it was up close. Pictures do not do this creature justice. Fran and Jose quickly determined that this was a 9 year old trophy and would score 65.5 SCI. The perfect representative animal that I was looking for. We then dispensed with the picture taking, dressing and caping, and then packed it down the hill and made our way back to the hotel. When we got there, the trophy was promptly tagged to ensure that we were legal and legit. By 1200, the trophy was in the freezer and we were enjoying a celebratory beer together. Since this hunt was on Election Day, I decided to dub my trophy “Trump”.
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Afterwards, we were back at the restaurant for another installment of amazing cuisine. The lunch discussion turned to what I wanted to do that afternoon. Of course, I was on a hunt and I wanted to spend some more time out chasing game. Fran was agreeable so after lunch, we piled back in the car to go and do some scouting. Now, the animals were out in numbers. We did not see any large males at first, but we were seeing large groups of young and female animals that did not seem to be too bothered by our presence. That afternoon, we saw well over a hundred ibex, including 6 mature males that ranged from large representative to Silver medal animals. The last group we came across was a group of 3 mature males. Of the 3, there was one big Silver medal animal. Fran said this was the one he was looking for to fill his landowner tag so we decided to put a stalk on it. We made our way in from about 300 meters through a drainage and along a terrace until we were about 100 meters away and one of the group spotted me. I froze and it locked onto me as Fran and Jose moved closer to the target ibex. I watched from about 40 meters away as Fran put the rifle up to his shoulder and… nothing. He then handed the rifle to Jose who put the rifle to his shoulder and..nothing. Both were grinning ear to ear. They had each just “killed” their silver medal ibex for the day. It was a very cool stalk and an experience that I was glad to be part of.
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That evening, we had an amazing dinner of swordfish and grilled peppers and, of course, I enjoyed a few beers. Since my hunt was over, I had decided at this point to cut my trip short a day to go home early and surprise the wife and kids. Fran was agreeable to the change of plans and even found and a suitable hotel for me for the following night close to the Barcelona airport. We made our game plan to sleep in the following day and have a late breakfast before exploring the local area a bit and heading back to Barcelona.

The next day, we slept in late and woke up to the news that Donald Trump had won the election. We met at the restaurant at 1000 and had another awesome meal. After the meal, Fran took me to tour a local meat drying house that made all types of cured/dried porks and other meats of amazing quality. Of course, I had to buy a little of everything to take home with me. It was a very cool place, and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of meat they sold. We then went back to our apartments to pack our bags and head back to Barcelona. Another 3 hour drive through beautiful scenery and lively discussion and we were back in Barcelona where it all started. Fran made sure that I got checked in and that everything was acceptable and then we said our goodbyes. The next morning, I had an early morning flight from Barcelona back to Frankfurt and the whole experience was over.
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The whole trip was over too fast, but I am glad I booked it with Corju. Fran has taken care of me from well before I booked this hunt up until now. He is a top-notch guide and he took every step to ensure that I had a memorable, legal, amazing Ibex hunting experience. As for the quarry, the beceite ibex is a tough, wary animal which made for a great hunt! I’m definitely looking forward to my next hunt with Corju.
 

cpr0312

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Very nice! Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 

johnnyblues

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May I ask cost? How difficult was the terrain
 

Darren K

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May I ask cost? How difficult was the terrain
It was a cancellation hunt, so I was able to get a good price on the hunt. The terrain was very rugged with lots of steep mountains with loose rock. The good part was that most of our hunting was done by driving and then stopping and glassing. The stalk we did on my ibex was about half- 3/4 mile up a pretty steep mountain, but the one we did on the silver medal that Fran passed on was over mostly flat ground. It is definitely a species that would be huntable by people of all fitness levels.
 

johnnyblues

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Thanks. Add that to the bucket list too!
 

Nyati

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Nice trophy Darren, congrats.
 

rinehart0050

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Great looking trophies! thanks for the report
 

UKHunter

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Well done, Darren. WMH.

I'm glad my report was able to inspire you to book a trip - reading your report took me back to mine. So thanks for that!
 

Darren K

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Well done, Darren. WMH.

I'm glad my report was able to inspire you to book a trip - reading your report took me back to mine. So thanks for that!
WMD Tom! Had a great trip. Thank you for the reference!
 

Wheels

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Beautiful ram. Congratulations.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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Awesome hunt and thanks for sharing. Spanish Ibex is something I'd really like to do one day. My problem is my list of wants and my bank account just don't get along real well.
 

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Congrats, they are pretty animals!
 

nkjonas

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Congratulations Darren on a fine animal and an exciting adventure! I appreciate the write up and photos. My wife and I just sent Fran a deposit for a representative class Beceite hunt in February 2018. Already counting down the days....
 

Redruff

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Congrats on a very nice Ibex. Thank you for sharing.

R.
 

Philip Glass

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Great report. Those ibex are high on my list plus this is a great hunt to take my wife along. Kyrgyzstan not so much a great hunt to take the wife along but Spain in another story. My problem is I want to hunt all 4 Spanish ibex on one hunt!
Regards
Philip
 

Darren K

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Great report. Those ibex are high on my list plus this is a great hunt to take my wife along. Kyrgyzstan not so much a great hunt to take the wife along but Spain in another story. My problem is I want to hunt all 4 Spanish ibex on one hunt!
Regards
Philip
Doesn't sound like a problem to me! I bet Fran would put a package together for you http://corju.com/spanish-ibex/
 

Ridgewalker

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What a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!
 

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