SPAIN: Return To Spain

Red Leg

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My spouse and I love Spain. Over the last decade, we have made three trips that included a bit of hunting for ibex, wild boar, and roe deer, and quite a bit of time playing tourist in that lovely and very friendly country. Our outfitter, Ignacio de Navasqüés and family of Great European Hunts, have become good friends as well. This year we were accompanied by another couple, and he would be hunting Beceite and Gredos Ibex, while I would try to better the lovely Roebuck I had taken in the Beceite on my previous hunt.

I should probably provide a warning that this short report will read as much like a travel log as a hunting summary.

After a 4-hour delay and total 10-hour layover at JFK, an airport I love almost as much as O'hare, we were finally on our way to Madrid. Fortunately, we were not also dealing with firearms. Our friends had never been to Spain, and had only been to Europe once before, so I was acting as tour guide. I don't much like the role, but at least I would have no one to blame but myself if things went off the rails. They didn't.

I had allowed a couple of nights in Madrid to give our friends a small taste of that wonderful city, and to provide us a chance to get over some of our jetlag. The Fenix Gran Melia is a superb hotel with lots of old European charm a short cab drive from the Puerto del Sol and the old city center. We did a bit of shopping, some sightseeing, had several great bottles of wine, and even ate at the Botin which lays claim to being the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world (founded in 1725).

The Hotel Fenix
Spain24 2.jpg

Spain24 1.jpg


In the morning of day three we were met by Felipe and Ignacio's lovely sister Marta. Felipe, who had guided me on previous hunts, would take our friends to the Beciete region for their first ibex, while Marta took us in the opposite direction to the farming region of northern Spain near Palencia to find a good Roebuck. The plan was to meet up back at Ignacio's family ranch in the foothills of the Gredos mountain's for our friend's second ibex.

We had around a three-hour drive from Madrid, arriving in a small village approximately 12 km outside Palencia. There we were housed in a comfortable inn with a view of the northern coastal mountains that overlook the Bay of Biscay. Three or four hundred years earlier it would have begun life as a fortified farm.

Spain24 4.jpg


My young guide, Borja, joined us for a cup of coffee at five that afternoon and by six we were pulling into the three thousand acre property we would hunt that day and the next morning. Temperatures were actually pretty chilly and we had a fairly brisk breeze blowing on the hill tops. Hiking to a good vantage point, we quickly spotted a nice buck with a female. He ranged at 325 yards which is a bit farther than I am happy with, particularly with such a small target. However, I was prone over a pack and would have had to use a led sled to be any steadier. I also was very familiar with the .270 WSM R8 that I was using. Both the guide and I checked the ballistic turret prior to firing. Because we had plenty of time, Bojar was using a telephoto lens to film it.

On touching off the shot, I personally called it lower first third of the of the chest. As I looked up, I was astounded to see the deer streaking up the side of the far ridge until he disappeared. We replayed the shot, and the bullet hit approximately 8" right and 2 feet low. A quick test shot at 100 yards centered the bull. I had no explanation. An hour later, we spotted a truly huge buck in a woodlot which we were able to enter without being seen. Soon Bojar halted and set the sticks. These were a Bog Pod knock-off of some form. I shifted behind his left shoulder ready to set the rifle on the rest, and could clearly see the big buck standing broadside and looking the opposite direction only forty yards away. As he began to extend the vertical central shaft, it made a faint metallic squeak. That buck may still be running.

Calling it an evening seemed the only smart thing to do.

This was an odd load for a .270 of any type. Apparently manufactured by Norma, but with a different name, it was a monolithic solid of only 97 grains with an extremely large plastic point. Borja stated there had been some issues with them, and as we looked them over, the third one I handled lost the plastic tip with minimal pressure leaving a very deep and wide hollow point. Apparently, Norma is recalling a couple of lots of the load because the point was separating, probably during loading, causing erratic flight. We quickly found several solid ones for the morning hunt. I also decided I would keep shots close if there was even a hint of a breeze.

The next morning we were back in the hunting area as dawn approached, and soon saw a very fine buck. However, he had clearly quit feeding and vanished before we could get into position for a shot. Another approach through tall dew wet young wheat left us soaked to the thighs and staring at a too young animal who looked as wet and cold as we did.

Finally, as we topped out into a vast wheat field and were thinking it might be time to call it a morning, we spotted a tall mature buck crossing a wide section heading toward a stand of trees. We were able to get within 225 yards of the stand without being seen. Twice we saw him move but then he vanished. The sun had been up an hour, so he had almost certainly bedded. Fortunately, the wind remained completely still.

Borja suggest we slowly walk toward the trees. The deer might stand up and give us a quick opportunity before taking off. We had taken barely ten steps when we both caught movement and Borja set the sticks. There was no time to range him, but based on the short distance we had travelled, he was likely 185-200 yards. This time, thankfully, we were using a simple tripod, and I was on him as quickly as Borja started to describe his location. He was quartering sharply toward us, with the rear half of his body hidden by a tree. The crosshairs were steady and I held just inside the right shoulder. I again called the shot lower third of the chest.

Unlike the night before, there was the reassuring whack of a bullet hitting its target. It was a classic heart shot run where he collapsed in full stride after a thirty yards or so. We were both elated, and I was relieved to not have to try a third shot with those tiny bullets.

Though the bases were not particularly large and the mass was average, the height was exceptional. He was larger than any I had taken many years before when hunting them regularly in Germany. After looking at the teeth, it was obvious the old buck was one or two years past his prime antler growth. That spoke well for the area we hunted, and represented a perfect animal to take from the herd. I was extremely happy with him.

roebuck.jpg

That afternoon, we headed Southeast toward the Gredos mountains and the ranch (with a long tasting and lunch pause at a regional winery) to link up with our friends and celebrate his fine Beceite Ibex. The following morning he would hunt one in the Gredos, and was equally successful.

Crossing the Gredos
Spain24 6.jpg


Felipe with the Gredos Ibex
Spain24 8.jpg


Suddenly our hunting was done, and we were off to play tourist in Andalusia for the next ten days. Stops included the amazing Roman ruins in Merida; the shops, palaces, cathedrals, and wonderful seafood of Seville, and five perfect days in Granada admiring the beautiful blending of Islamic Moorish and European Baroque architecture in the vast UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Alhambra. Staying in the famous Alhambra Palace Hotel was an equally splendid experience. I fully expected to meet Hercule Poirot at the bar at any moment.

Most do not realize that Southern Spain was an Islamic stronghold for nearly seven hundred years. The final Moorish kingdom, Granada and the fortress of Alhambra, fell to Catholic Spain in 1492.

The Roman ruins of Merida
Spain24 9.jpg


The incredible Alhambra World Heritage Site
Spain24 11.jpg

Spain24 10.jpg


And the Alhambra Palace Hotel
Spain24 12.jpg

Spain24 13.jpg
 
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Another great Spanish adventure! This is on my bucket list and looks like plenty of stuff for my non-hunting wife to enjoy as well.
 
That’s awesome. Spain is on my list to hunt someday. My wife and I are going next March to tour for her 40th birthday. No hunting this trip. We’re doing a few days in Lisbon then a 10 day tour through Spain. Ending with a few days in Seville on our own.

We’re stoked
 
Incredible trip, thanks for sharing!
 
Congratulations on another great trip to Spain. Nice old roebuck.

Still trying to get my wife to go with me, so I can show her places like the Alhambra. I think it and Granada make up about 25-30 perecent of my pictures of Spain. I love how it has the Roman, Moorish, and Spanish architecture all smashed together.
 
Pretty incredible tourism leg.
Congrats on overcoming the factory seconds to get your buck.
Your friend made a good selection in his guide.
 
Thank you for the report. I just got back from walking the Camino de Santiago. Our walk was entirely in Galicia. One place we stayed, Casa de Los Somozas had three racks in the wall of the dining room. I thought they were small red stag until I realized that they are huge roe deer.
I love the area. Beautiful scenery, lots of old stone houses and good food that is totally unlike anything in the US. A roe deer hunt there would be great. Next year.
We are already planning to do the Portuguese Camino next year.
 
Thank you fort the report! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I’ll be in Spain in September dropping off my son for a study abroad program.
I went to Spain as a college student. My adviser at college told me that “I might fall off the radar for a while” when I got to Spain. He was right as my 6 month trip turned into 2 years. It is a wonderful country with amazing history.

Will you get a mount done of that magnificent roebuck?
 
Congratulations on a fine Roe Buck, glad you had another great trip!
 
Great report, someday I may go back to Spain. I have the same photo of the Alhambra, except mine is right at evening when the light go on. Glad you had a great time.
 
Spain is indeed a fantastic country...also when it comes to hunting..
 
Great report!
I can't wait for my first trip there in December.
 
Fantastic little write up. Fantastic Roe. I need to do that. Always enjoy your hunts. My first trip to Europe as a teen we visited Spain and the Alhambra and it will always stay in that vivid memory. After over 60 countries on my travels that trip provided a boast to my wanderlust which continues today.
 
BakerB, If you’re going to Lisbon. Try to get to Nazare’ “Naz A Ray”

Just north of Lisbon. It’s one of surfings premier big wave locations now. Of course it’s swell dependent.
 
Congratulations on your successful hunt. It looks like your group had a great time!
 
My spouse and I love Spain. Over the last decade, we have made three trips that included a bit of hunting for ibex, wild boar, and roe deer, and quite a bit of time playing tourist in that lovely and very friendly country. Our outfitter, Ignacio de Navasqüés and family of Great European Hunts, have become good friends as well. This year we were accompanied by another couple, and he would be hunting Beceite and Gredos Ibex, while I would try to better the lovely Roebuck I had taken in the Beceite on my previous hunt.

I should probably provide a warning that this short report will read as much like a travel log as a hunting summary.

After a 4-hour delay and total 10-hour layover at JFK, an airport I love almost as much as O'hare, we were finally on our way to Madrid. Fortunately, we were not also dealing with firearms. Our friends had never been to Spain, and had only been to Europe once before, so I was acting as tour guide. I don't much like the role, but at least I would have no one to blame but myself if things went off the rails. They didn't.

I had allowed a couple of nights in Madrid to give our friends a small taste of that wonderful city, and to provide us a chance to get over some of our jetlag. The Fenix Gran Melia is a superb hotel with lots of old European charm a short cab drive from the Puerto del Sol and the old city center. We did a bit of shopping, some sightseeing, had several great bottles of wine, and even ate at the Botin which lays claim to being the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world (founded in 1725).

The Hotel Fenix
View attachment 603685
View attachment 603686

In the morning of day three we were met by Felipe and Ignacio's lovely sister Marta. Felipe, who had guided me on previous hunts, would take our friends to the Beciete region for their first ibex, while Marta took us in the opposite direction to the farming region of northern Spain near Palencia to find a good Roebuck. The plan was to meet up back at Ignacio's family ranch in the foothills of the Gredos mountain's for our friend's second ibex.

We had around a three-hour drive from Madrid, arriving in a small village approximately 12 km outside Palencia. There we were housed in a comfortable inn with a view of the northern coastal mountains that overlook the Bay of Biscay. Three or four hundred years earlier it would have begun life as a fortified farm.

View attachment 603702

My young guide, Borja, joined us for a cup of coffee at five that afternoon and by six we were pulling into the three thousand acre property we would hunt that day and the next morning. Temperatures were actually pretty chilly and we had a fairly brisk breeze blowing on the hill tops. Hiking to a good vantage point, we quickly spotted a nice buck with a female. He ranged at 325 yards which is a bit farther than I am happy with, particularly with such a small target. However, I was prone over a pack and would have had to use a led sled to be any steadier. I also was very familiar with the .270 WSM R8 that I was using. Both the guide and I checked the ballistic turret prior to firing. Because we had plenty of time, Bojar was using a telephoto lens to film it.

On touching off the shot, I personally called it lower first third of the of the chest. As I looked up, I was astounded to see the deer streaking up the side of the far ridge until he disappeared. We replayed the shot, and the bullet hit approximately 8" right and 2 feet low. A quick test shot at 100 yards centered the bull. I had no explanation. An hour later, we spotted a truly huge buck in a woodlot which we were able to enter without being seen. Soon Bojar halted and set the sticks. These were a Bog Pod knock-off of some form. I shifted behind his left shoulder ready to set the rifle on the rest, and could clearly see the big buck standing broadside and looking the opposite direction only forty yards away. As he began to extend the vertical central shaft, it made a faint metallic squeak. That buck may still be running.

Calling it an evening seemed the only smart thing to do.

This was an odd load for a .270 of any type. Apparently manufactured by Norma, but with a different name, it was a monolithic solid of only 97 grains with an extremely large plastic point. Borja stated there had been some issues with them, and as we looked them over, the third one I handled lost the plastic tip with minimal pressure leaving a very deep and wide hollow point. Apparently, Norma is recalling a couple of lots of the load because the point was separating, probably during loading, causing erratic flight. We quickly found several solid ones for the morning hunt. I also decided I would keep shots close if there was even a hint of a breeze.

The next morning we were back in the hunting area as dawn approached, and soon saw a very fine buck. However, he had clearly quit feeding and vanished before we could get into position for a shot. Another approach through tall dew wet young wheat left us soaked to the thighs and staring at a too young animal who looked as wet and cold as we did.

Finally, as we topped out into a vast wheat field and were thinking it might be time to call it a morning, we spotted a tall mature buck crossing a wide section heading toward a stand of trees. We were able to get within 225 yards of the stand without being seen. Twice we saw him move but then he vanished. The sun had been up an hour, so he had almost certainly bedded. Fortunately, the wind remained completely still.

Borja suggest we slowly walk toward the trees. The deer might stand up and give us a quick opportunity before taking off. We had taken barely ten steps when we both caught movement and Borja set the sticks. There was no time to range him, but based on the short distance we had travelled, he was likely 185-200 yards. This time, thankfully, we were using a simple tripod, and I was on him as quickly as Borja started to describe his location. He was quartering sharply toward us, with the rear half of his body hidden by a tree. The crosshairs were steady and I held just inside the right shoulder. I again called the shot lower third of the chest.

Unlike the night before, there was the reassuring whack of a bullet hitting its target. It was a classic heart shot run where he collapsed in full stride after a thirty yards or so. We were both elated, and I was relieved to not have to try a third shot with those tiny bullets.

Though the bases were not particularly large and the mass was average, the height was exceptional. He was larger than any I had taken many years before when hunting them regularly in Germany. After looking at the teeth, it was obvious the old buck was one or two years past his prime antler growth. That spoke well for the area we hunted, and represented a perfect animal to take from the herd. I was extremely happy with him.

View attachment 603813
That afternoon, we headed Southeast toward the Gredos mountains and the ranch (with a long tasting and lunch pause at a regional winery) to link up with our friends and celebrate his fine Beceite Ibex. The following morning he would hunt one in the Gredos, and was equally successful.

Crossing the Gredos
View attachment 603818

Felipe with the Beceite Ibex
View attachment 603820

Suddenly our hunting was done, and we were off to play tourist in Andalusia for the next ten days. Stops included the amazing Roman ruins in Merida; the shops, palaces, cathedrals, and wonderful seafood of Seville, and five perfect days in Granada admiring the beautiful blending of Islamic Moorish and European Baroque architecture in the vast UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Alhambra. Staying in the famous Alhambra Palace Hotel was an equally splendid experience. I fully expected to meet Hercule Poirot at the bar at any moment.

Most do not realize that Southern Spain was an Islamic stronghold for nearly seven hundred years. The final Moorish kingdom, Granada and the fortress of Alhambra, fell to Catholic Spain in 1492.

The Roman ruins of Merida
View attachment 603822

The incredible Alhambra World Heritage Site
View attachment 603825
View attachment 603827

And the Alhambra Palace Hotel
View attachment 603828
View attachment 603829
WOW!!! Great report and nice animals!!!! Congratulations!!!
 
Congrats for your trip good Roe, Merida and Alhambra never disappoint.I'm happy when people love my country. We have amazing food, weather, culture and of course hunt!!! I can't ask for more!
 
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