SPAIN: Ibex, Mouflon & Stag With Adictosacazar

Edge

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Day 4 - Afternoon: Andujar Estate Hunt

The three hour drive west from Salobre to Andujar is uneventful and as we pull off the highway we ascend up into some beautiful hills, the vegetation is all different in this area. I really enjoy hunting different types of terrain and vegetation.

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On our way into the area


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Gorgeous countryside


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The lodge nestled into the valley

A couple of reasons we chose to hunt this estate, which was also a daily rate upgrade over the standard rate to stay on the premises. One, this area also holds a population of the endangered Iberian Lynx and participates in population studies. Two, they have imported Wisent, ie European Bison from Poland. Three, from the pictures Martin had sent to us, this was definitely on the higher end for accommodations and I thought Michelle would enjoy a bit of pampering. Four, there are some big Iberian Red Stag on the property!

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Wisent Bull ie European bison

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Stag sheds from last year - Super Gold Medal

We arrive at the house and the pictures Martin had sent don't do it justice. It’s very nice, situated with a great view of the valley and surrounding hills. We meet the new owners, Alex and Jess, and they cater to both hunters and ecotourists. A wonderful young couple doing a great job improving the property. They offer us a cold beverage and show us our room and around the house. This area of Spain is one of the warmer areas in both Winter and Summer, what a difference from hunting the higher elevations around Salobre as we shed our layers and enjoyed the warm sun.

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Veranda view

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Guys telling lies :cool:

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Veranda sitting area

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Up the stairs to our room

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Our room

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Bedroom view

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Bathroom

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Downstairs sitting room

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Dining room

They have also prepared lunch for us, a most delicious bacon wrapped chicken roll stuffed with cheese and peppers and some other scrumptious flavors! Oh my, what a delight! A side of baked vegetables and bread drizzled in Spanish olive oil rounded out lunch.

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Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken roll, oh my!
We sat out on the veranda enjoying the spectacular views and listening to the on-going Monteria which is a driven hunt. The hounds are barking and shots being fired outside the property in the neighboring hills, wonderful!

It’s starting to get late in the afternoon and we decide it’s time to take a drive and see some of the property. They have a Hilux set up African style with a high seat as Alex and Jess originated from South Africa.

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The Crew!

The rifle I would be using was a Steyr in 270 WSM topped with a Swarovski. At least this rifle was right handed but I took some time to figure out the tang mounted, push button 3 position roller safety as it’s so much different than the Blaser I had been using or any other rifle I have used.

We drove around for 20 minutes seeing lots of female Red and Fallow deer with a few male youngsters in the mix.

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Red Deer

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Fallow Stag

With this area of Spain being so warm, the Stag and Fallow roar was well over with the prime time being early October. Alex explained the 20-25 medal class Red Stags on the property range from bronze to Super Gold. With it now being 4 December, they have become reclusive and sticking to the thickly wooded steep and shady mountainsides. Sounded like typical post rut whitetail deer hunting! We would have to work for a good Stag. Martin had sent me quite a few pictures of representative, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Super Gold stags. He made me a great offer on a Silver Medal, throwing in a “free boar” with the upgrade to Silver.

The afternoon was getting along and a stalk was in order. We headed up the mountain from the valley floor into the steep, dark and moist cover. Slowly moving into the wind hoping to catch a good stag out feeding. It wasn’t long and Alex spots a hind and then a stag with Martin and Alex quickly evaluating and discussing the size of the antlers.

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Evaluating the Red Stag

They decide it’s likely no better than a Bronze medal class and think we can do better and we are only into the first hour of hunting. The Red deer melt away feeding and we press on, I had a short glimpse of him through my binoculars and I have to say he looked quite impressive!

We continue on and spot another hind and I can see some antler tips over a rock but we don’t get a good look and they slip away. We head down off the hillside as light is fading. The bakkie picks us up on the valley floor and Alex spots a big Stag ~500 meters away walking across the road towards the top of a hill. A plan is made and we drive around and park and we push hard up the steep slope hoping to get a closer look before the fading light is gone. The initial thought from Alex and Martin is the stag might be high silver or gold medal class.

He gives us the slip as we peer into all the nooks and crannies before darkness sets. I’m feeling good about our chances, two medal stags spotted in just over an hour or so. I was looking forward to the next day!

As we head back to the lodge to grab some warmer clothes for sitting over a boar bait site, we drive up to the herd of Wisent.
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The Wisent!
Michelle is excited about taking a wild boar as she is on the rifle tonight, Alex shows us some trail cam pictures of a very large male with nice tusks! The pigs have been coming in regularly around 7:20pm.

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Boar blind

The suns sets, the temperature drops and the wind picks and the pigs are a no show, that’s hunting! I was pondering with all the hunting activity around the valley, dogs baying and multiple shots all afternoon that maybe the pigs nightly habits were interrupted.

Upon return to the lodge, Jess presents us with hot towels and some glasses of Sherry! Nice touch!

We drop our gear, shed some layers and sit and talk while having a few beverages. Dinner is ready and we enjoy a great meal of slow roasted Red Deer shank with carrots, mashed potatoes and Spanish hard bread. Michelle grabs one of the three shanks in the roaster while the rest of us share the remainders! Wonderful flavor and falling off the bone tender.

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Candlelit dinner

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Michelle’s shank portion and her bottle of wine

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My portion…

To be fair, I helped Michelle finish off her shank :) We stayed up chatting and telling stories and laughing with Alex and Jess until midnight, what a great young couple! Oh, they got a big kick out of the Ibex rear / front taxidermy mount joke Michelle played on Martin and Danny :LOL:

Morning was going to come awful early!
 

Nyati

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Besides the food, I see you were treated to an excellent wine !
 

Martin Rodriguez

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Besides the food, I see you were treated to an excellent wine !
100% they came for the food and wine jajajaja, we had a great time, Feliz Año Nuevo Nyati.
 

Edge

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Besides the food, I see you were treated to an excellent wine !
Working on Day 5…Wife and I enjoy Spanish wines! In fact, they help me write, debateable on improving the writing quality :LOL:
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Edge

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Day 5 – Hunt for Iberian Stag Continues

We are up early and meet for a quick breakfast of coffee and toast at 7:30. I’m looking forward to finding a Silver Medal Stag today. I step outside and the darkness is beginning to fade with the coming dawn.

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Dawn quickly approaching

The plan for today is to drive to one corner of the property and walk to the other end! The property is over 1000 hectares proper and they also lease surrounding property totaling 2000 + hectares. The morning was bright, sunny and chilly while riding on the back of the truck. The animals seemed scarce this morning although we did see a Super Gold Medal Stag running across the ridge. This Stag is well over 200 points and is out of my price range! Interesting that he had jumped the main property fence and was on the “buffer” leased property, believe the fence was at least 3 meters tall.

Time for a walk and stalk as we made our way to the top of a large rock outcropping spotting a glimpse of one Red deer but never got a proper look before it disappeared. Alex had me prepped for a close encounter with a boar as the area was torn up and he had run into them before resting the day away in the rocks, but we never saw or heard one depart as we stood at the top of the rocky hill.


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Ready for a boar or stag!

The four of us picked our way down through the rocks and steep hillside, scanning the ravines to either side and open patches below us but didn’t see a single animal. The birds on the opposite ridge were putting up quite a fuss, squawking and flitting about. Alex surmised there was a good chance an Iberian Lynx was the cause of the commotion.


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Looking back up to the top of the rocky ridge we descended

We ended up in the valley, crossed over and proceeded to sneak up and along the dark ridge where the sun doesn’t shine much. It was a beautiful walk in the cool morning air and we ended up at the top of the opposite mountain where we finished the night before.

Sneaking along we did spot a few smaller stags but they were just youngsters of a few years of age and didn’t stick around for a proper photo op.

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Young stag below us

We descended the hill, across the valley and up to the lodge for lunch. We clocked close to 5 miles that morning with a lot of vertical both up and down!

A couple photos of a Strawberry tree and the fruit, there is also a statue of a bear feeding from a strawberry tree in Madrid.

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Strawberry tree and statue in Madrid

Lunch is ready, but what is in the heavy red roasting pot as it sure smells good?


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Lunch is ready, what’s in the red pot?

How about a Red Deer stew prepared by the Spanish cook and chips, what a unique and wonderful taste!


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Delicious Red Deer Stew


The lodge also held a small treasure from past years, a small Christian Chapel!


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Chapel
Here is one of those “small world” moments. As Michelle was taking pictures around the veranda, she noticed the new light fixtures they had installed. Nothing “amazing” here except these were the same exact outdoor sconces I had replaced just a few months ago on the outside of our house in Florida!


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Small world moment

Back out again around 3pm, we weren’t seeing much deer life today and we were running out of time. I informed Alex and Martin if we ran into a bronze or gold medal, not super gold mind you, I would try to take it and pay the upcharge if it was a Gold!

We wouldn’t be able to hunt here the next day as Martin had arranged the Mouflon hunt for Michelle. He attempted to delay to the afternoon (Monday the 6th of Dec) and the morning of the 7th but another hunting party was using the Mouflon property on the 7th.

The animals seemed to be moving better in the afternoon and we hit all the high vantage points looking into the steep and thick hillsides, where were the big stags?


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Small red stag on a steep hillside


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Pair of young stags


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Vulture circling overhead


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Glassing from various vantage points above the steep thickets

We hunted hard all afternoon and evening, finding a nice representative stag but I passed. There was still an hour of light left and we all know the best chance would come those last few minutes.

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Representative stag, hard to see his antlers through the branches and he didn’t stick around long!

Time was running out as the sun was low in the sky when Martin spotted a stag on the opposite hillside. We bailed off the bakkie and down into a draw, raced up the other side and crept around the small hill, scanning the valley and opposite hillside for a few minutes. The stag appeared to have vanished as three sets of binoculars couldn’t locate him. Did he squirt out the bottom of the valley below us while we were closing the distance?


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Closing the distance to the far hillside

I finally spotted the Stag and pointed him out to Alex and Martin while asking for the sticks and range to the stag, 360 meters. Don't you love it when you spot an animal before the guides!

I try to get set up on the sticks on the loose steep hillside, get the stag into the scope but he’s not coming towards us but is now parallel on the opposite slope and isn’t stopping. I’m not going to take a shot at that distance as he rounds the hill and disappears. The guys believe he would have been a high representative or low bronze.

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Getting on the sticks

We raced back to the truck to continue our search and the red deer and stags are now everywhere but nothing big enough to get excited about. Darkness brings the Stag hunting to a close, what a great day and I’m just happy to have put in a hard day’s hunt in a new environment.

We brought our warm clothes with us and Michelle was at it again with the .243 at different boar bait site. A beautiful sky full of stars and planets! We wait until 8pm, again no pigs! What bad luck but hey, it’s hunting!

Michelle on the boar rifle IMG_1110 (2).jpg

Michelle’s head backed by Venus, Jupiter and Saturn


We call for the truck and arrive back at the lodge to be greeted by Jess again with hot damp towels and shots of tequila!

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Tequila to take away the chill

We struck out on Red Stags and wild boar but I may come back to hunt here with my bow during the roar. Alex has the place set-up for bow hunters with elevated blinds, lock-on and ladder stands. I’ve seen a couple of videos of the area during the roar and it looks like a great place to bow hunt.

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Enclosed bow stand

We also saw some great Fallow stags on the estate but I had taken a really nice Fallow earlier this year free-range in South Africa with Adroda Safaris and having a euro mount done. Here’s a link to the Fallow Stag hunt:


It would have been nice to have had a big red stag beside him also as a euro mount! We did see quite a few big Fallow Stags and going through Michelle’s camera pictures I could only find the one I posted in day 4. When I asked her why she didn’t have more pictures of the fallow, she replied “we weren’t hunting those”!

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Lasagna for dinner

A fabulous lasagna and a bottle or two of nice red wine for dinner and we were off to bed early with a 5 am departure to the Mouflon hunting grounds which would take us back towards Salobre. It was hard to leave these wonderful folks and a great parcel of hunting land. As I mentioned earlier, I may be back with my bow for a Red Stag rematch during the roar!
 

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Day 6 - A Morning Mouflon Hunt

We left the Andujar estate and I was a little sad, what a great place to stay with fantastic hosts and I wanted another chance to hunt a big Iberian red stag there! We arrived at the Mouflon hunting area after a 2.5 hour drive with the SUV outside thermometer dropping and as we approached the hunting area, finally settling on 1 degree C with a breeze. You really notice it when you step out of the warm cozy car! This estate of 2000 hectares was a mixture of some relatively flat rocky harvested fields but the majority was very steep and rugged terrain with mixed brushy and heavily wooded areas.

Danny was there to greet us and said thank you for waiting for me for the Red Stag. I was a bit confused as we were hunting Mouflon. I asked Martin what he meant and his reply was this estate also has Red Stag! I let Martin, Danny, Jose the property manager and Francisco the game keeper know the number one priority for the day was to hunt Mouflon for Michelle. Afterwards we would look for stag.

We drove into the hunting area and started seeing Red deer out feeding in the harvested grain fields and pulled over to the side of one of the fields. We began a walk along the edge of the fields where the terrain starting falling away through some thick short brush watching the opposite brushy hillside. We didn’t walk more than 5 minutes and there’s a stag on the opposite hillside waiting for the warming sun to shine. Danny and Martin say he’s too small and we can do better. Where have I heard that before?

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First Stag of the morning

We are winding our way through the brush along a ridge line when another Stag is spotted, this one is bigger and is medal class. Danny ranges the stag with his Leica’s and the range is over 400 meters away. I tell Danny we need to get closer as I wasn’t shooting off sticks at that distance. The stag has us spotted and Danny isn’t sure we can get any closer without the stag spooking but we give it a try. He leads me down the hill into an open area where I can get prone, closing the distance to ~350 meters. I’ll take that shot but the Stag has also moved up the hill as I try to locate him.

Danny talked me through to the stags location and I centered up the crosshairs, straight up the front leg, let out a deep breath as I squeezed the trigger and watch the stag turn! Michelle was able to snap a couple of pictures right before the shot and after with the stag turning towards us and then turning and going away. We didn’t hear a bullet impact and the Stag didn’t act hit, just wanted out of there!

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Broadside shot opportunity

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Sequence of stag photos

The stag didn’t go far, making a loop to the left and is now standing still broadside once again but further up the hill. I’m able to put the crosshairs in the same spot, exhale and squeeze the trigger and the stag bolts at the same time as the trigger squeeze again! No sound of bullet impact and no reaction from a hit. Jose and the gamekeeper were also watching from up above us along the field edge and everyone agreed the stag moved at the shot both times and were clean misses. I asked them to go and check for sure, if I had been just 1 second faster in locating the stag prior to the first shot I’m sure I would have connected. I was bummed.

We continued along the ridge and came to a ravine in front of us that led up to the fields where we could see a big Mouflon ram out in the field. Way out in the middle of the field on a ridge giving him a wide field of view and he knew we were there.

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Mouflon Ram
The question was, how do we approach him without being spotted by him or his flock that were nearby as well as Red and Fallow deer out feeding. Needless to say, we chased those Mouflon around all morning, never getting closer than 500 meters before they exited stage left! They made us look silly for hours and many miles on foot.

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Michelle following the guides trying to outsmart the Mouflon and way too many eyes!


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The Mouflon giving us the slip, again!
The property manager suggested we try the wooded section of the property and no sooner than we enter into the wooded pines a group of Mouflon is spotted and there is a dark colored animal visible, a ram!

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New Ram
Danny and Michelle get setup, she can see the rams head but his body is covered up by a pine. She can’t get a clear shot and they took off. Oh, not this again! They got back into the vehicle we and drove for a while seeing Fallow and Red Deer bolt at the sight of the vehicle. This property was so different than any of the previous areas we hunted, open fields, pine forests and deep ravines.

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Hind and her spotted yearling

We were coming down a steep hill when on the opposite slope a group of Mouflon are initially standing and start running to the left around the side of the hill. Michelle takes a picture of the flock through the windshield as Danny is already out the door and heading down the hill to get an angle on them, I tell her to put down the camera and go!!!

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She shot the ram with her camera before going after Danny, would that cost her a shot opportunity?


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Zoomed in view of the ram

She follows downhill after Danny and he has the rifle resting on its bipod at a bend in the road and under a low hanging tree. I step out of the car and lose sight of the Mouflon as they continue left and my view is blocked by the tree Danny and Michelle are under. She’s now prone on the ground behind the rifle when I hear her take a shot and the thump of a hit! I’m a bit surprised since the animals were moving when I last saw them and were pretty far away. I quickly take a few more steps to get a clear view and see the Ram is stumbling down the hill through the brush and falls over on the side of the road! You have got to be kidding me, going from shooting the ram with her camera to flopping down and taking a difficult shot and making a great shot!!!

I walk down to Danny and he turns to me with a big smile and says 250 meters on 5. He was surprised she hadn’t cranked up the power of the scope off its lowest setting. I tried to explain lower power gives a bigger field of view and 250 meters is easily doable on 5 power, we are both grinning!

I have taken her to the range and she has shot prone before, so this wasn’t exactly new. She’s a fine shot with rifle, revolver and pistols. She has also taken a Blue Wildebeest and giant Chacma baboon in Zimbabwe so this isn’t her first rodeo but was certainly the most difficult, that’s my girl!

We leave her alone a few moments with her Ram as she gives her thanks as we gather around and congratulate her. She has already decided she wants to have a shoulder mount of the Mouflon Ram, and I won’t say no!

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Respect

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Beauty of a Mouflon Ram

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Great character
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Full View

We load up the ram and head back towards the estate entrance, Paula, Danny’s lovely wife has brought us in some lunch. We are all getting a bit hungry as the time is now 1:30pm and we have been hunting hard all morning long.

I’ll follow up in another post the remainder of the hunting day, and HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!
 

BRICKBURN

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Congratulations Michelle.
Happy New Year.
 

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Very nice adventure, congrats!
 

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Very nice! Thanks for sharing! It seems there will be a second episode to this stag hunting ;)
Well done Michelle for that mouflon! Waidmannsheil!
 

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Great hunt Ed. You and Michelle certainly got in your exercise for the month of December. And as previously mentioned, the food prepared for you appears to be a reason itself to go. I was in Barcelona and Palma many years but never hunted there. Far too old now to hump those mountains. Great report.
 

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Day 6 – Afternoon: The Quest for Iberian Stag Continues

After the Mouflon is loaded up we press on, now looking for another attempt at an Iberian Stag. We drive and glass across the canyons and hillsides looking for a medal class stag, seeing quite a few stags and some nice fallow stags. I always hear “too small” or “we can do better” from Danny. The game sure seems active today, almost non-stop movement all morning and into the early afternoon.


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Stag hiding in the thick brush

We have a beauty of a Mouflon ram step out of the brush on our left at around 300 yards, trot up the road in front of us before diving back into the thick brush on the right. A very nice looking ram but still young with wide long curls, on his way to becoming a gold medal. Michelle was able to snap a couple of pictures through the windshield.

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Mouflon

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Cropped view of the Mouflon
The road is cutting around a steep hill filled with brush, so steep I can see a long ways down to the bottom. I spot some fallow down below and a few Red stags, nothing to get excited about. I did ponder how we would even walk down the hillside if I ended up shooting one! Michelle is on the uphill side and snaps a photo of another young stag with great potential.


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Stag on hillside


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Fallow in the dark thicket

We pop out into a deep valley with a river running through it and begin glassing the surrounding hills, what a gorgeous location and we see many fallow deer in the open areas.


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View of the valley

Jose spots a medal class Red stag at the top of hill we had just come around, we all get some glass on him but he doesn’t stick around long and disappears into the brush. We decide to go take a look and see if we can spot him. We drive back up the road and walk a firebreak to the top and front of the hill now looking down on where we had parked. We circled around the hill without seeing him.

Danny receives a call from Paula, she is about to estate entrance with our lunch. We are all hungry as we burned a ton of calories chasing the Mouflon in circles for over 3 hours in the morning.

On our way back out to the front of the property we spot 3 Red stags and some females on a long open rocky ridge line with many hinds around them. They were over 400 meters away with a good breeze, too far shooting the 8x68.

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Stags and hinds

I tell Danny we must get closer. Danny and Jose decide to just continue driving up the road, which is not directly towards them but does slightly angle in that direction. We close gap to a bit less than 300 yards as Danny and I slip out of vehicle, circle around the back of the car and then forward towards a couple of trees to give us some cover. With all those eyes, the herd was now on high alert and all staring at us, getting more nervous as the seconds tick away. Michelle is able to get another photo through the car window.


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Nice crowns on the target Stag

We have now closed the distance to 250 meters and Danny flips out the bipod of the blaser, sets it out in front of me and dials in some elevation. I get snugged up behind the rifle, prone position on the road with my left hand under the buttstock to adjust the elevation point of aim.

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Locked in
Danny tells me the biggest one is the middle stag of the three who are now intently watching us.

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The three stags

I line up the crosshairs on the big stag, the middle one, and squeeze the trigger…”CLICK” as the firing pin falls. I have to pull my left arm from under the buttstock that was providing my vertical adjustment to cycle the left handed bolt. I curse as I cycle the bolt and try to acquire the middle stag again as my sight picture has been broken and I need to slip my left arm back under the buttstock and try to locate the stags again. On a right handed rifle I would have been able to keep my head on the stock as I cycled the bolt never breaking form or the sight picture through the scope.

There he is, broadside still standing there. I can see one stag to the right which gives me confidence this is the middle stag. All the deer begin to move to the right including the stag as I calculate wind and walking hold, place the crosshairs on air in front of the walking stag and break the trigger and see the stag fold though the scope! I’m stoked I made a great shot while there was silence from Danny and everyone else. I go from prone to kneeling and pronounce he’s down, I smoked him!

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My face vs Danny’s face!

Martin walks up and says “I think you shot the wrong stag”. I said, I shot the 2nd one! What I didn’t know was as I was cycling a new round in the Blaser with my left hand and getting back in shooting form, the stags had moved from left to right and had stopped again when I re-acquired the sight picture. The last stag in line was now in the same general area as the big stag and the first stag was out of view. Without the stags antlers being silhouetted on the skyline and facing into the sun, it was difficult to make out any details except the stag I shot looked good to me! Michelle was able to shoot a video with the Olympus, turn up the audio and you will be able to hear my racking the bolt on the Blaser.


Shot video

We drive up the road and around onto the long ridgeline where the deer were feeding. Walking over the crest of the hill I see my Stag and I’m impressed! No he’s not the largest one we have seen but it was an exciting hunt and I executed a great shot.

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Red stag down

Everyone was rooting for me to get a medal stag but this will classify as a “representative” animal and the mood was a bit drab except for me, I was all smiles! Our hunt was complete, 2 Ibex, a gorgeous Mouflon and now a nice Iberian Red Stag. What a great way to finish out the last hunting day!

We have lunch waiting and head back to the estate entrance to meet up with Paula. As we are munching down on sandwiches and chips I’m doing a little math in my head. I’ve brought some additional euro’s with me in case either Michelle or I bagged a Gold medal animal. I ask Martin if I can take another stag on the estate, a quick conversation with the Jose and told yes! I tell everyone to finish up, let’s see if we can find a bigger stag before the sunset!

We head back out and the animals are still active as we spot a couple of young Mouflon rams.

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Young mouflon rams

As we come to an intersection of roads, a nice stag bolt across the side road and up into the wooded hillside.

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Nice stag on the move!

Danny and I quickly climb up the hill and circle around into a shallow draw waiting for the big stag to show himself. I’m up on the shooting sticks ready to go…where did the big stag disappear as we spot some of the smaller stags and females he was following? Michelle was on the ball with the camera once again!

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Younger stags

We wait a few minutes with a few red deer passing across the hill but the big one has given us the slip, but that’s how the get big, right!

We continue looking and glassing the hillsides and valleys but can’t find a medal class stag. The sun is quickly racing towards the horizon as we are passing through an area of pines and thick brush when Jose stops the car, a nice heavy representative stag is just 40 meters or so off the road. Danny and I eye him up but we both agree he needs to grow as he is heavy but still young with a ton of potential. He gets nervous and walks away into the brush as Jose pulls forward just a few meters and all of our eyes get big, another stag! This stag is heavy and has nice crowns. It appears he was bedded and is now standing staring at us as Danny turns to me and says we should try for him.

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My wife is in the 2nd vehicle behind us and snaps a photo

I’m in full agreement with Danny but know for sure he’s going to bolt and we will lose sight of him in just a few bounds in the thick undercover. As Danny opens his door, I do the same as he’s telling me there won’t be time for shooting sticks as I’m telling him just hand me the gun! No long drawn out stalking story, just need to execute!

I take a step forward as he hands me the rifle as I push the odd (to me) Blaser tang safety forward as I’m mounting the rifle to my shoulder, acquire the now walking stag and place my shot low into his shoulder through the heart.


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Impact

He’s hit hard and goes down within 50 meters, sometimes you just get lucky! I approach the stag and give him my thanks, what a regal deer. Martin, Michelle and Paula were in the vehicle behind us and watched it all quickly unfold.

Noticing the sun streaming low through the trees, I grab ahold of his heavy antlers and drag him out onto an access trail.

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The last rays of the sun stream through the forest as we quickly position the stag

The mood has definitely changed and back slapping and handshakes abound! Both stags are beautiful and the memories will be with me forever. I will have euro mounts done on both stags, where I’m going to put them in the house is the other question!

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My wonderful wife and the second Red Stag

The Wife and I bagged all of our target animals except for the wild boar, some came with much more difficulty than others but that’s hunting! Never give up, work hard and keep a positive outlook!


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A small celebration shot of Fireball with the guides

Another great dinner, a couple bottles of wine and a bit of dancing (my wife not me) at the Salobre Hostel capped off the day!


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Wine


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Fried chicken, salad and soup and a happy Martin!


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Slow roasted pork shank, you have gotta try this, FANTASTIC!!!!


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We were in good spirits and ended up having a toast with a table of gentleman!


A little dancing with locals to finish off the great day! On to Madrid in the morning…
 

Nyati

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Congrats Michelle, a very nice Mouflon !

That second stag is a beauty Ed :D Cheers:
 

Edge

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Day 7 & 8 – Sightseeing in Madrid

I’m up early and check my email, Delta has sent me a flight cancellation notice for the return to the States! I access the Delta App but don’t see any flight changes in the itinerary. Hmmm, I jump in the shower to clear some of the cobwebs and try calling and sending messages to Delta, absolutely no response. What piss poor service.

I keep checking the return flights via other Flight apps as well as Air France and everything I can find still shows flights on-time. Since Delta cancelled our direct flights from Madrid to Atlanta, we are now flying back on Air France. I see an email from Air France and our bureaucrats now require an absolutely useless “Attestation Form”. Once we arrive at the hotel in Madrid, I will have them print hardcopies for the Wife and I.

We pack our bags back up and begin the drive back to Madrid for the portion of the trip. We pass through the small town of Villanueva de la Fuente where there are a couple of nice statues, I had the feeling this was the gateway to Ibex and Stag country:


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Villanueva de la Fuente Ibex and Red Stag Statues

During the drive Martin tries to reach Benedito Taxidermy to finalize our mounts and pay the taxidermy bill in person but they were out of the office. Being tomorrow was a National Holiday they took the week off, good for them! I had prowled their website and had a good idea of how we wanted the shoulder and euro mounts as well as the pricing. Martin and I sat down and figured out the approximate bill and I left the euro’s with him to pay the taxidermist. Yes, I trusted Martin 100 percent!

We arrive to Madrid around noon and have been talking about food the 3 hours on the drive back, at least I did, imagine that! We decided on paella as we haven’t had any this trip and it was highly recommended by everyone when we mentioned Spain.

Martin was able to book us into one of his favorite small family-owned restaurants, what a delight.

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El Rincon d Esteban

Many pictures of famous people adorned one of the walls. This was a small establishment with no more than 10 or 12 tables and the menus were brought out to us.


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So many choices!​

Appetizers of cheese and blood sausage, love it! I haven’t had blood sausage in many years as we ate Polish Kiszka. This was one of my Mother’s favorites and brought back some fond memories as she’s been gone now for 25 years.

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Cheese and blood sausage

We ordered two different paella and were absolutely stuffed when we rolled out of there!

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Seafood and Chicken Paella

Martin dropped us off at the hotel I had booked for the 2 nights we would be in Madrid, the VP Jardín de Recoletos. The location was just over a block away from the triumph arch Puerta de Alcala, Independence fountain and park. Highly recommend staying at this hotel if you are in Madrid.

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Very nice accommodations

With a balcony and sitting area, I knew Michelle would love this room! You know what they say, Happy Wife, Happy Life and that means more international adventures!

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Balcony

We told Martin we were fine for the evening and to get home to see his young daughter and Wife, who was 39 weeks pregnant! Let me tell you, Michelle was really worried we would be out hunting and Martin would “get the call”, everything worked out and the beautiful baby was delivered the following week, congratulations Martin!

Once at the hotel, we inquired as to the closest COVID testing site as we would need a COVID test to return to the States. The desk agent informed us since tomorrow was a holiday, the closet places were closed but there was site that was open, whew! What, spend another day in Madrid because we couldn’t get a COVID test in time…I could hear Michelle’s mind turning that one over!

We bundled up as another front was rolling through Spain with a smattering of rain and icy winds.

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Time for sightseeing!


I did let her stop at a few stores as Michelle was eyeing up some Persian rugs! I did my best to keep her out of the Prada, Gucci and other high end stores to protect my credit report!

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No baby, that won't fit in your luggage :LOL:

We took a stroll to the Arch and Park, all lit up with Christmas lights!

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Martin met us in the morning to give us a personal tour of Madrid. Money Heist fans?

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We had a great time and sampled many different foods, saw the sights and finished up with another great restaurant! Yes, we love food!

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Duck burger!

Since POTUS changed the COVID testing rules mid-trip to 24 hours prior to departure, we also fit that into the itinerary.

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Dinner was fabulous!

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Argentine ribeye and rump for the guys

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Suckling lamb for Michelle

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Dessert

Michelle and I said our goodbye's to Martin as we settled into our room, covering over 20,000 steps touring Madrid today. Another small snack before bed with some delicious berries we picked up in a market, dried sausage, chocolates and wine! Life is good.

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What a great time in Spain!


Our return the morning of 9 Dec was via Air France from Madrid through Charles de Gaulle direct to Atlanta. CDG was a mess with long lines for Passport checks and a short 1 hr 25min layover made it a bit stressful but we made it with a few minutes to spare. Air France did hold our departure until all passengers were aboard.

The wife enjoyed Air France Premium Economy, a significant upgrade over Delta Comfort +. I told her to enjoy it but don’t get used to it!

Upon arrival in Atlanta, we had a 2.5 hour layover before catching our final leg home to Pensacola and needed every minute. If I had brought rifles I doubt we would have made the connection.

Passport checks for US citizens was taking well over an hour, followed by collecting and rechecking our bags and getting held up in security as they pulled everything out of our carry-ons even though we were TSA pre-check. We had already gone through security checks in Madrid, again @ CDG so we followed the same directions once again and pulled out our electronics as instructed.

They pulled our bags aside and wanted my binoculars, spotting scope, extra lens from my wife’s camera pulled out, as well as her camera. Whatever!

Note to those non-US citizens coming for DSC/SCI, don’t book a connecting flight within 4 hours! The non-US citizen queue in Atlanta was full and based upon our wait time, I would guess the wait time was ~4 hours.
 
Last edited:

Edge

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Final Thoughts

I highly recommend Martin Rodriguez of Adictosacazar. Being his first American clients to hunt in Spain, I expected this may be a learning experience for both parties but Martin’s attention to detail as well as being there as a guide and interpreter made for a fantastic trip!

- Communication was excellent from the time we first started developing the hunting/tourist itinerary to our arrival in Madrid. Martin’s english is quite good and Danny’s was ok. The hosts of the Andjaur estate, Alex and Jess, spoke perfect English. The local land managers/wardens and folks in the small towns didn’t speak much English, if any. Martin was there to bridge the gap. Next time I’ll practice up on my Spanish!

- I really enjoyed hunting all the different areas from the top of the snowy peaks to citrus orchards and everything in between. What a great experience and looking forward to hunting in Spain again!

- I had only a limited time window for the hunt and came up with a long list of desired species which entailed a bit of road travel at times. The vehicles (Mercedes and Land Rover) used were all very nice, no complaints, and made the road time very comfortable.

- Accommodations were nice in Salobre, rooms were relatively small, but very clean and perfectly adequate. The food at the Hostel was simply outstanding! The Andujar estate we stayed for two nights was 5 star with outstanding hosts. I’m looking forward to returning in the future to bow hunt during the roar.

Things I would do differently:

- Allow more time for hunting each species or reduce the number of animals targeted. We booked for 2 “representative” Ibex, Stag and Mouflon in effectively 5 1/2 days. Recommend at least 2.5 full days for each species as the weather, animal behavior and travel times can impact the success. I was perfectly happy with the hunting and if we didn’t bag one of the targeted animals, well, it’s hunting and I was just thrilled with the experience.

- Bring my own rifle. Using 3 different rifles over the 6 days wasn’t optimum, especially with models of which I was not familiar and/or with the bolt on the wrong side. I can understand the issues a lefty can have with a right handed rifle! As to the Blaser R8, between being left handed and it needing a little maintenance caused a bit of frustration. The shots can be long and I’m very comfortable with my own kit as I regularly shoot over 800 yards at my local range.

Highest compliments to Martin Rodriguez of Adictosacazar and his team for making this adventure a success! I am planning on hunting with Martin again in the future, just need to figure out some future dates around other hunts already booked.

Hope everyone that followed along enjoyed our adventure, if anyone wants more information or has questions, please reach out to me through the boards messaging feature.

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