Iberian ibex hunting is one of the many hunting activities of hunters who are lucky enough to experience the emotions of a hunting trip.
Iberian ibex hunting (or Spanish ibex) is a fascinating and adventurous activity. The Iberian ibex lives on the Spanish mountain ranges – from north to south, east to west – and differs in four recognized species, each with specific characteristics for the shape and size of the trophy.
Here is the story of a lucky hunter who, on his way to Spain with his bolt action rifle Horizon on his back, went looking for this enchanting wild game.
“The boots slide on the wet stones and, to find stability, I move them on the surrounding vegetation and step on it. And what do I get in return? Not the whipping of a branch or the bites of a porcupine as the just “punishment”, but the tender embrace of a well-known fragrance, which I do not expect. It sends me back to Sundays with my family, when roast beef was the master of the table.
And, then, I look down: flows of rosemary, covered in thick thymus, is lost downwards from the ridge to the bottom of the valley.
It is the scent that will accompany us during this stay in the Comunidad Valenciana in search of the macho montes, the Iberian ibex with its mighty horns.
My bolt actionHorizon Black Synt in.270 W is with me in this adventure. I have accessorized it with a very good Steiner Ranger and with 130 g bullets that are progressively drowned: the Spanish ibex, although of a medium size, is a coriaceous animal and often even well-settled shots are not enough.
Calibers 6.5 and 7 mm in general, with bullets between 130 and 150 gr, are suitable for Iberian ibex hunting even if they challenge Gredos and Beceite, which are the most impressive.
Of course, all .30 calibers are also excellent with bullets between 165 and 180 gr. The flatness of trajectory of the weapon is important, because it is mountain hunting with even challenging shots in terms of distance.
Under the water, unusual for this area, we are moving between valleys with a view to checking for the presence of a good example of Iberian ibex.
These Mediterranean-style animals love the sun and go out on fine days, strolling on the mountains, to absorb the warmth of the star, returning color and shine to the strong landscape.
Despite the weather, we are still scanning the valley floor and our persistence is rewarded: we catch sight of two backs moving down, rising up to the top of a stony balcony.
On the side of the hill in front of us, two black like pitch machos and with an air of complicity like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are climbing. We lie on the edge of the precipice, not caring about emptiness and vertigo, keeping focused on the lens of binoculars.
They slowly climb up giving us the chance to photograph them, then they stop on the rock leaping. The largest rubs horns and glands against some shrubs as his squire checks all around, then he starts looking in our direction, but does not seem to spot us.
Ibex hunting with the Franchi Horizon bolt action
Our adventure begins on a lukewarm day of pale sun, but enough to get the ibex out of their recess. Some bask in the sun, others fight and chase for the domination of females: it is precisely in the mating season, that makes males more approachable, although all shots are over 200 meters.
There’s a bunch of males on a rib in front of us. Hidden behind a rocky we look eagerly through our binoculars and spot the leader that can be killed with a long shot.
We get ready by leaning on our backpack but suddenly the Iberian ibex start to come down and get out of range.
In the late morning, as we descend downstream toward the village, we see a superb representative in the company of five females; they are at the bottom of a gorge and the male is well away with a remarkable angle of site. The first shot is low, the second one is perfect.
After a long journey, almost two hours, we proceed to pick-up.
In this case, the site angle played a decisive role in the error on the first shot. In spite of ballistic turrets, the gunshot went down a breath in an attempt to overcorrect the angle… human error.
Today, modern binoculars and even aiming scopes suggest the exact distance, even according to the angle.
Meanwhile, lying on the rocks that protrude from a valley, I enjoy the after-hunting silence and let the emotions that I have just experienced flow through my body like a river.
Ibex hunting is just one of many that is practiced with a Horizon bolt action rifle, suitable for challenging, depending on the caliber, countless types of game.
In the evening a fish paella – the sea is only fifteen kilometers away – and the next day is already scheduled.
The heaps of stones follow each other, valleys and rocky cliffs turn to thin ridges of fragile stone, which crumble under our boots.
In the restaurant where we go that evening the young ibex is transformed by the chef into a very delicate roast with a side of oven-baked vegetables.
The wonderful tangerines, whose crops extend from Valencia to Castellon for more than 100 kilometers, are a corollary to the honey-soaked almonds.
The olive groves with true thrushes that remain for much of the year in this region, making the area of Valencia one of the most sought after by the hunters of this small migrant.
Some fifty kilometers away, the mouth of the Ebro is home to thousands of ducks, while the flooded plains are full of waders of all kinds, from common snipes to golden plovers. A true hunting paradise, from ball to smooth hunting in a fraction of space!
Careful regulation of hunting, which even provides for fixed days by species, makes Spain a very attractive country for foreign hunters, who can find, on top of valuable game, breathtaking landscapes, great food and the warmth of the locals that welcome the tourist like friends.
I felt at home, surrounded by extraordinary nature, strong and sweet at the same time, and cradled in a fragrant embrace by the waves of the flows of rosemary”