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Beceite Ibex Hunt in Spain – Part 1

Whether I will ever attempt to take all four main species of Ibex in Spain remains to be seen.  But for now, my goal was simply to take a mature Beceite Ibex and sculpture a form specifically for that particular animal. I booked a hunt through Neil Summers Bowhunting Consultants with Salvaforcaza  because of their great reputation and for their excellent success with a bow and arrow.  I had never been to Spain so I really looked forward to the trip.

The accommodations were great, like living in a stone castle for a few days. The following picture is of the “lodge”.

So life was good, now all we needed was an Ibex.  There are three other species of Ibex that are hunted in Spain including the Gredos, Southeastern and Ronda Ibex.  But you have to start somewhere and the Beceite seemed to be the most doable with a bow.

Our first day out I found the terrain to be reasonably rugged, some pretty steep stuff, but doable even for an old geezer like me.  As you would imagine all the hunting is done by spot and stalk.  For several days we climbed and glassed and even made a few stalks, but to no avail.  As it can with bow and arrow, something always seemed to go wrong.

Then we heard it.  The sound of fighting rams way up on the mountain, somewhere.  We studied the sound and then my guide said he could see them, in a cave-like strip, on a rugged stone-faced wall a long ways from where we were.  In the photo below is the cave strip, almost right in the center of the photo.

During the rut, Ibex can stay preoccupied for a good long while with all this macho fighting stuff and my guide felt it would be worth the climb to get up there as quickly as we could.  In their distraction perhaps we could get in close for a shot.  So we were off.

I thought I was up to the task but by the time we had climbed to within 100 yard of the loud crashing horns, I have to say I was running out of gas.  We slowed the pace but they were close and there was no time to rest.  When we reached the ledge they were on, it was petty crazy.  We crawled and held on to a VERY narrow rock trail that we probably should not have been on, but then we peeked through a bush to a wonderfully amazing sight… two Ibex rearing up on there back legs and crashing together only 30 yards away.  They would circle each other, rear up and smash together and then do it all again .  Over and over and over and over… it seemed they would never tire of their obsession.  The following photo was pulled from a video that my guide took.  The quality is not great but I wanted to give you at least some sort of vision of what we encountered.

It was so absolutely awesome to watch that I almost forgot why we were there.   Almost.

Ultimately we were able to get a shot and the following picture shows one of the above rams.

Notice some of the beautiful terrain in the background.

He died on a narrow ledge and I had to be extremely careful as I measured him and took photos of the head from all different angles.

I believe this to be a medium average Beceite Ibex.  I now had my measurements,  a full skull and cape,  so part one of this trip was accomplished.  Now all I needed was the opportunity to get photographs of live animals.  With 600 mm lens in tow, we headed out.

I was able to get hundreds of photos and here are a few samples:

And last but not least, check out this pig!

I took photos of live animals from all angles and in several different positions, then used these photos and measurements to come up with the following model:

This model is just ruffed in and has a lot of work left but it’s far enough along that you can get the idea.  Below are a couple of head shots.

Please note how I cut the horns out of the skull,  I made a “flat” cut rather than notching out through the eye.  This allowed me to leave more sculpture around the eyes. The following picture shows exactly where the cut was made:

Well, I guess this turns out to be another part one as I will mount the Ibex in part two,  as soon as the mold is complete.

4 comments

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  1. Mark Kronyak

    I’m not a betting man but if I was I’d lay good money that there are three big ones in the other species who’s days are numbered

    1. Dennis Behn

      Thanks Mark! I appreciate your nice comment and reading my blog. I have some other trips coming up this year so it won’t happen right away but I do have those other Ibex in the the back of my mind somewhere… all tough to get with a bow, but you never know.

  2. Mark Kronyak

    Ohhh and congratulations on this one …

    1. Dennis Behn

      Much appreciated!

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