Hunters from around the globe travel to Spain each year for a hunting trip of a lifetime.
There are many incredible animals roaming the Spanish plains. Many international hunters visit Spain on the hunt for the ‘king of the mountains’, the ibex. But, if you want to experience a truly challenging stalk, then the elusive chamois need to be at the top of your list.
The rupicapra rupicapra can be found in several countries all over Europe, and even in New Zealand. The main populations are distributed in the Alp Mountains, and also in the Caucasian Mountains. In Spain, we have two different species (Cantabrian and Pyrenean), both of them located in the North of the country.
Cantabrian Chamois; it is the smaller of the two species. This hunt will require strong physical endurance and a good knowledge of the mountains.
I started in Madrid, and after 4 hours of driving I arrived at Cangas de Onis, also known as the heart of the Picos de Europa Mountains. Cangas de Onis is an ideal tourist location; there is a wide range of outdoor activities perfect for families and groups of friends.
After arriving to Cangas, I headed to our hotel where I met the owner, Jesus, who greeted me with a warm welcome.
After some delightful traditional cheese of Asturias, I prepared all the documents (hunting license from the region you are going to hunt, liability insurance, official permit for hunting the chamois) for the next days hunting adventure.
4:00AM and my eyes open suddenly, I was thinking that I was late, but I have the time to take a quick shower and get ready for action.
I met with my guide at 5:00AM where we drove up a small track in order to gain some altitude (we want to hunt at more than 2,000 meters).
A sunny day had been forecast with no wind, we had all the components for a successful stalking outing.
I took my Merkel RX Helix, 270 wsm, from the sleeve and loaded 3 bullets; I packed some water and sandwiches in the bag, and we started hiking.
We spotted a group of females at 300 meters in front of us, I took my Leica telescope and we took into account that there was also a young male amongst them. We decided to continue to search for another suitable animal.
After thirty minutes of more hiking we caught sight of two males running from one side of the mountain to the other. We waited a few minutes in order to check if there were more animals coming to our position.
Ten minutes had passed before two females and an older male come into view. We both became very excited.
All stalkers know that it is much easier to approach one single animal because only two eyes can discover you. This time five pairs of eyes were on alert.
We slowly moved into a better position, going from one rock to another. We measured the distance every few metres, whilst trying to remain invisible to the group.
After five minutes we reached 280 meters, a great distance for my 270 Winchester Short Magnum. I took my backpack and put it on top of a rock, to help support the rifle.
As I prepared for the shot I began to hyperventilate. Even though I have guided more than 100 hunters over the year. Each shooting moment is new, unique and feels like my first shooting day, when I shot a roe deer with my father (I was an impatient teenager). I took two deep breaths and gathered control of my nerves; I placed my finger over the trigger ready to take a safe, clean shot.
The group of chamois hadn’t spotted us yet. My male wasn’t in a suitable position, I waited patiently as I synchronized my breathing and hovered over the trigger with my finger. The old male started to turn, I now had a safe, clean shot, and I squeezed the trigger…
Perfect shot! The old bull fell to the ground.
I was over the moon with my quarry; I shared a hug with my guide and went down to examine the animal. It had been a long, tough day. But, an incredible stalk, one that I won’t forget.
This is a perfect hunting trip for summer time when most of the hunting season all over Europe is closed, here in Spain you can delight in a great hunting experience. You can come alone, or with the family, because in Asturias, the region where the Picos de Europa Mountains are located, you can find tourist activities, great food, traditions, and of course hunting.