Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Fast forward a few years...
I now get to enjoy the same family tradition with my kids and husband. Both kids love fishing. Easton prefers the summer months to fish in where he gets to cast and reel in, Pheonix loves both kinds of fishing. Whether they are fishing or playing while Kyle and I fish, they still have a lot of fun. Sometimes we get used to just watch the rods and when a fish is on the kids take over. I have found it is a lot more watching them catch the fish then yourself.
Winter doesnt have to be cold, miserable and boring. Grab some fishing rods, chairs and a wood stove and get out on the ice and have some fun.
Spain is a beautiful, history rich country. The people are very friendly, the scenery is amazing, and their is a high population of animals to hunt. A trip to Spain is never a waste of time! I had the amazing fortune of hunting in Spain in 2015 and I hope to do it again! My friends Daniel and Alba own the outfitting business Trophy Trails and have given me some amazing women's only pricing to pass on to any ladies interested.
There are a wide range of animals to choose from at varying prices.
- Gredos Ibex
- Beceite Ibex
- Ronda Ibex
- Sierra Nevada Ibex
- Barbary Sheep
- Red Stag
- Balerian Boc
- Pyrenean Chamois
- Cantabrian Chamois
You can also do combo hunts, or go for the Spanish Ibex Slam!
If you are interested in pricing or more info, please email me and I can get you the information!
Saturday, November 12, 2016
After our hunt, it was Myles turn (one of our friends from Alberta) to try and tag out on his first mountain goat. On day 2 of their hunt, Myles took a goat. Although it was a nanny, it was a trophy of a lifetime. His goat aged out at 13 years old, was skinny and had no teeth left. She wouldn't have made the winter. The perfect nanny!
Kyle came home early and went to see if he could find a sheep before he had to go back to work. Next days off Kerwin was coming in for his goat hunt. Kyle has taken Kerwin out before on a permit in the same area, but our friend Warren was with them. On that hunt 2 years ago, Warren was successful. Now it was Kerwin's turn at success. They had a little less than 7 days to get it done. They seen lots of goats but most were nannies and kids with a couple young billies. The young billies stayed higher in the rocks then a few of the nannies, so they just watched until they had an opportunity. On the last full day of their hunt they decided to take the Nanny that was on their hit list (if a billy didn't come lower for Kerwin). This nanny was not in good shape. She was completely emaciated and never ventured farther than the alder patch and the creek.
Second times a charm...well that's how it worked out for Kerwin so I was hoping that would be my luck as Kyle and I headed out again to try and get me a goat. We had even less time this trip, 3 days but the sun was shining which was rare for this area. The first day was a wash, we knew we wouldn't get a stalk on unless we just happened to stumble upon the goats right away. As we came in we noticed a truck parked with ramps out for an ATV and a sled stashed beside it off the road, weird. It was right before the slides that take out the road. We kept going and once we got through the slides there was another sled stashed just off the road, concerning. Someone that knows this area is getting prepared. This didn't sit well for Kyle as we continued on our way. The whole month of October when Kyle was in here he never seen another sole. That all changed in about an hour for us. We came upon an ATV, the guy stopped to chat. He was the trapper in the area and the truck and sleds are his. He was getting prepared for when the slides come down so he wouldn't be trapped in the back. He proceeded to tell us the last 3 years the slides blew out the road on Oct 29, Nov 5 and Nov 9...and it was November 6. He told us a guy last year got stuck in there with him, the guy was hunting for goat but the trapper was prepared and had no issues leaving his old truck or ATV in there for winter, the hunter wasn't. They had to barge the guys truck out on the lake and it cost him $600. This made us nervous...we started to second guess our staying there. After chatting with him for a half hour or so he mentioned just before we parted ways that there was a few guys camped up farther, goat hunting, but they were packing up camp. We passed the guys as they were coming out. We got up to the slides where Kerwin and Myles got their goats and they were bare. Not a single white body. We found where the guys had their camp set up, right at the bottom of the slide in the wide open where the goats could see them. I was feeling pretty deflated and Kyle was frustrated and worried.
We only had 2 hours before dark so we decided to sit tight and hopefully the quiet valley would coax some goats out. About an hour before dark a nanny came out to feed. Some life jumped back into us. We watched her for a bit and decided to go down to the next slide to glass. Right away we found 2 more goats, both billies. One very young and small, the other was a shoot able goat. We didn't have time to go up after them so we sat and watched trying to decide the best way up to them for the morning. As kyle was occupied i looked up and noticed a third body, i announced the third goat noting how much bigger it was then the other two. This got Kyle excited. He got the spotter out and sure enough it was the massive goat he seen with Kerwin. So we stayed there until he finally bedded and we quietly made our way out of the valley. We decided to go back to town and stay at a hotel. Kyle's reasoning (although he was partly kidding) was it was good luck to go back to town, get a cheap hotel and go to Boston Pizza for dinner (he did this with Kerwin and Myles and both shot their goats the
next day). I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.
We went back in the morning and sure enough the big guy was still there and a nanny was just below him. But he was watching her intently. So we packed up and got ready to hike up after him, Onca stayed in the truck. After an hour hike we were just below the rock cliffs, we dropped our packs to strap our rifles to them so we could have 2 hands for climbing the cliffs. I put my rifle down then peeled my pack off and put it down- ready for my rifle. Before I decided to strap my rifle on, I looked up out of habit and there he was. All I said was Goat. Kyle kept messing with his stuff without looking up and brushed my word off saying it wasn't that he already checked. I said Kyle, there is a goat watching us. He stopped, unbelieving and looked up asking where? I told him to look on the left side of the saddle, that its standing on the top. He seen him, he put his binos up and started cursing- it was the big billy. I knew it was farther then 200 yards so I instantly jumped on Kyle's rifle (my rifle is new and i haven't figured out the drop yet at farther distances). I got set up with his pack as a rest while he ranged him. 390 yards but i was shooting at about a 50%+ incline, he said put the 300 mark on him. He was facing chest on but I wasn't concerned. I put the 300 on him and felt very stable. I squeezed the trigger and instantly reloaded after the shot. Kyle announced a miss. I was baffled, how did i miss?? He disappeared into the trees and never gave me another chance. We climbed up a little ways into the cliffs and sat for a while, hoping the other billy would come down to check out the ruckus. He never did and I was feeling pretty frustrated. The fog started to roll in and we made the decision to go back to the truck before we got stuck up there with no visibility. When we got down, Kyle wanted to go check the zeroes on the rifles. He was confused at the turn of events, I kept saying I felt solid and his rifle has killed 2 goats in the last 2 weeks
without fault. We left the area and headed down low to shoot them at our metal gong. My gun was still on, Kyle's was shooting 4 inches to the left at 100 yards. I was relieved that it wasn't me that caused the miss but I was still pretty down. Did i just lose my chance at filling my tag? With the cloud cover low again and not letting up I wasn't very hopeful. We had to leave the next afternoon and if we didn't find a goat right away than all i had was the next morning. We went and checked another valley but it was fogged in worse then the area we were just in. So we made the decision to go back and hope we could catch something moving below the fog line. We were coming up to the slide that Warren had shot his goat out of 2 years prior, but there was a slide before that one- so we slowed down to take a look. I was on the wrong side of the truck so couldn't see up the slide, but it didn't take long and Kyle slammed on the brakes-Goats! He was instantly out of the truck with the spotter. 2 young billies and 2 nannies. So I got my pack and my rifle out. They were 800 yards, we had to hike up into the slide to get closer, this time we brought Onca along. We got as close as we could without them busting us, 500 yard shot. Kyle gave me his rifle again and I got set up. I wasn't nearly as stable as the morning shot but stable enough to make a shot. I put the 500 marker on him and squeezed my trigger. Kyle watched in his binos and said he went down. Over and over again I asked him if he was sure he went down and he repeatedly told me I folded him. I felt a little better but was not getting my hopes up until I had him in my hands- all I needed was another fiasco like my elk!
"I have learned not to celebrate
After we got our pictures out of the way, Kyle insisted on packing him out whole. We didn't have any cliffs to deal with, just alders but even with that he fell down a lot. I kept asking if he was sure he didn't want to quarter it up and he insisted on doing it, and he said it was faster this way and was concerned about bears.
I have been on 3 goat hunts now (my own hunts, I've been with Kyle for his), 2 being successful and the successful ones always ended with a close encounter with a goat.
I'm pretty happy to finally have my billy!! My first goat was a nanny, so I'm happy to be able to say I have a billy under my belt as well.
** Sorry about the different sizes in font...I have literally spent 2 hours trying to get it all to be the same and I give up. **
Sunday, September 25, 2016
The archery season came and i was ready.
We backed away and went to the landing and decided to go back to plan A, the wind was still good and we had time to get up there before it got too late in the morning. We went up and sat for a couple hours until the wind started to change and swirl. So we backed out.
After we got some photos, i started to field dress him but I was going to slow for Kyle and he soon took over. So I got all the bags out and the tarp out to put the meat on and held legs when he needed. Once one of the hind quarters were freed from the bulls body I put it on my pack and strapped it down. I managed to get my pack on and get up without any help, the pack didn't feel too bad (Thank you Crossfit!) and I made my way up to the ridge and dropped down to the jeep. By the time I got to the jeep, unloaded the quarter into the jeep and made my way back to Kyle he had the bull pretty well done. He was just working on the head but all the meat was separated. This round I was taking a front quarter, backstrap, tenderloin and the head as well as my rifle- it was much heavier than my first pack. Kyle, being the giant he is, decided to take both quarters, tenderloins and backstraps in one trip. Needless to say I had to help him up off the ground, but he still beat me to the jeep.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Bear season, my favorite time of year for many reasons. I love the spring smells, beautiful wildflowers and new babies running around the bush. And of course, you see so many bears! More than any other time of year. This year was slightly unusual as well in the fact that we have seen quite a few mountain goats while hunting for bear, and not in places you expect. Two were right on the bush road.
The season certainly wasn't a slow one for sightings. I was out a lot and only had one day where I didn't see a bear. The best day was 5 bears. The nice part was they weren't just all little guys either, I seen some really nice bears. This year I was a little more picky on what bear I wanted. I ended up hunting mainly with my rifle because it's easier when the kids are with you. We seen a couple monster bears this year, one was when I took a friend out on her first bear hunt. Unfortunately she missed him but he would have been an unreal first bear. We caught him sleeping in the middle of a cut block. The other one was a great big cinnamon bear. Really pretty bear.
Here are some more photos of bears we seen during the Spring:
Friday, May 20, 2016
On October 3rd we headed for the ibex hunting area. We had been hunting stag since Sept 29 and now that the ibex season was open we were going to be hunting Beceite Ibex with Daniel Herranz of Trophy Trails. We got there only 30 minutes before dark so we decided to go out and glass. I was surprised by the terrain that they lived in, I was expecting it to be similar to our area and what we hunt mountain goats in. It was much drier and the terrain reminded me more like the Okanagan in BC. They did have some areas of rock cliffs but most of the terrain was rolling hills with pockets of thick brush and not a lot for timber. Hunting them was similar to hunting mountain goat or sheep, glass for them and then go after them.
The first day of hunting we got up in the morning, a couple hours later then what we did for stag- I wasn't complaining, and went for breakfast at the hotels pub/restaurant. We walked in in full camo, the guys walking ahead of me and pulled up a seat at a table. I couldn't help but notice the stares I received from around the room, made me a little uncomfortable. After we finished we all climbed into Daniels Landrover and headed out. We discussed who would get first Crack at an Ibex, I let Kyle go first because I had success with the stag hunt and I really wanted him to have success. The morning was pretty slow, we seen a group of ibex and kyle grabbed his bow deciding to make a play (I think he just wanted to see them up close), so him and Daniel headed off and I hung out with RafaOn October 3rd we headed for the ibex hunting area. We had been hunting stag since Sept 29 and now that the ibex season was open we were going to be hunting Beceite Ibex with Daniel Herranz of Trophy Trails. We got there only 30 minutes before dark so we decided to go out and glass. I was surprised by the terrain that they lived in, I was expecting it to be similar to our area and what we hunt mountain goats in. It was much drier and the terrain reminded me more like the Okanogan in BC. They did have some areas of rock cliffs but most of the terrain was rolling hills with pockets of thick brush and not a lot for timber. Hunting them was similar to hunting mountain goat or sheep, glass for them and then go after them.
Later we headed back into the village, Rafael had to head back to Madrid for his boys birthday and wouldn't be back until the next morning. So after lunch and a siesta, Kyle, Daniel and I headed out for an evening hunt. We went to a different area from the morning and we seen Ibex right away after we parked and started hiking. They were less then 100 yards from us and I loved watching them. Daniel said they were young so we moved on. We found another lone one but he was on the move and when the wind shifted his direction he was really on the move. But all we had to do was turn and look the opposite direction from him and 2 were at the top of a hill. Daniel confirmed they were decent and when one bedded down we figured it would be the perfect time to try. I decided to stay back and planted myself down by a bush, I figured the guys would go but I was surprised when Daniel planted himself beside me and Kyle went. Ibex have very good eyesight, Kyle only made it 20 yards from us before the ibex pegged him out. After what felt like an hour stare down, they got up and left. Kyle came back over and we pointed out the other 2 we were watching while he was frozen in place, on the adjacent hill from us. Again, Daniel kept his place beside me and Kyle took off after the new ibex. After kyle left we lost sight of him, so we watched the ibex hoping they wouldn't leave. Then, just before dark we heard a loud Crack sound reverberate from the hill back to us. We both came to the conclusion that he took a shot, but we didn't know any more. We scanned the hillside with our binos, then Daniel spotted him climbing up the rocks. We decided to go help him. We found his ibex just before it went to dark to see, it had made it to the rock cliffs and fell down them (I'm guessing that was the cracking noise). We decided to come back the next day to retrieve him.
It was a chilly night so we decided to hunt first in the morning then go and get Kyles Ibex. With there being no predators we didn't have to worry about animals eating it, besides the vultures but we fixed things up so they couldn't get him. Rafael had made it back in time to hunt and he would be able to see the ibex. It was another slow morning, all we seen were females and young males. I was starting to see a pattern with the slow mornings and active evenings, so I was excited for the evening hunt. We went to get Kyles Ibex fairly early in the morning after a short hunt, he was able to get some nice pictures with it and haul it off the mountain. While on the way back to the village we picked up a nail in one of our tires. It was a scramble to get back into town and get it off and fixed before the evening hunt. Fortunately we were able to get it fixed at a local shop. While we were sitting outside waiting, the shop owners mother was visiting with Daniel. She came over and asked me a question in Spanish, Daniel translated for me and she had asked if I was a hunter too. Standing there in all camo I was a little surprised by the question. Afterwards Daniel let me know that there were not many women that hunt in Spain. That explained the staring.
Once we were fixed up we rushed back to load up the packs and bows back in the Landrover so we could head out again. We decided to go to a new area from the morning and night before. It was extremely windy. We got out to do some glassing and I wasn't able to because the wind was blowing so hard. The wind was blowing the guys' hats off their heads and the occasional gust was strong enough to knock me off balance. Finally we found a quieter valley and we stopped to glass. There was a nice one bedded down near the top of the mountain in front of us. I decided to try and make a play on him. He was watching us so we had to go back down the valley and around. We parked in a field and loaded up our gear. We had to hike up one mountain away from the one the ibex was on. Once we got up and across so that we could see the mountain the ibex were on, we checked to see if he had moved or if there were others with him. There was only one we could see feeding in the oak trees. Daniel made the call that we could go for him, so Rafael and Kyle stayed back and watched while Daniel and I hiked down then up the mountain the ibex were on. When we came up over the crest he was only 75 yards from us, but too far for me to shoot with my bow. So we stalked in a little closer. 60 yards was as far as we could go without him seeing us. So we waited. He closed the distance into 40 yards coming right at us. We were hiding behind a juniper bush and he was on the other side of one. Daniel could see his whole body, but me being short couldn't see his whole body but enough for me to make a shot. I knew my arrow trajectory and knew it would miss the bush and drop into him. It was starting to get low light and so i made the half second decision to take the shot. I pulled back, anchored and let my arrow fly. Daniel was watching in his binos and whispered in my ear "it missed". I was in disbelief, I have never missed at 40 yards, ever. My arrow went an inch above his back and he was gone. We figured out there was a dead branch sticking up that I didn't see in the low light because it blended with the black hair of the ibex and it caused my arrow to deflect. There was a wide range of emotions running through my head, Daniel was trying his best to cheer me up and be encouraging. He did get me laughing and smiling but the disbelief was still there. We radioed Rafael and Kyle to let them know what was going on. We met them back at the car and told them what happened. After, they decided to fill me in that it was a Gold medal Ibex and would have been the world record for women's bow. Brand new disbelief rushed through me, along with annoyance and frustration at myself for missing the shot. But, that's hunting. It was dark when we got to the car so after the story telling we headed back to the village for dinner and bed. Daniel offered me to use his rifle for the next day instead of my bow, I told him I'd think about it.
When we woke up the next morning I was sad to think it was our last day in Spain and that we would be heading back to Madrid that evening. Which meant this was my last chance to kill an Ibex, and from the previous mornings I knew that mornings were slow. At breakfast, I accepted Daniels offer to use his rifle. It was a beautiful Sako in 300 mag caliber. It would be my first time shooting a 300, but I wasn't concerned. After shooting Rauls rifle during stag, my only concern was the fit. Rauls rifle was too long, but Daniels fit like a dream and was lightweight. We loaded up and went to a new area. It was much different terrain compared to the other areas we were in. It was rolling hills with clumps of juniper bushes and little oak trees, not much for hard climbing. We walked to a deep ravine/valley and glassed the other side. Right away we seen a group of females. After a while, Kyle and Daniel at the same time announce they see one. It was more then one, one turned into a group of 20. All males ranging from very young to a massive Gold medal. We decided to drive back around to that side of the valley and hike down to hopefully cut them off. It was hard to see more than 20-30 yards, there were so many pockets of brush. We ended up scaring a small group of females but we kept going. We came out to some rocks that overlooked a dip in the hill and there bedded down were 2 ibex with others feeding in and out of the brush. We went down below the rocks so we weren't so exposed, but the brush was to high and we lost sight of the ibex. We were going to have to take a chance being in the open, we wouldn't be able to stalk in closer with all the eyes and not knowing where they all were. So Daniel and I lay out on the rocks with the gun out in front of me. I had some troubles finding them again, but from where we were laying we could only see the one bedded. It took me a minute before I found him but once I did I kept the scope and my eyes on him so I wouldn't lose him again. It felt like we had been laying on the hard rocks for half an hour, but all I could see of him was his face and horns so I had to wait for him to get up. Finally he got up and was half hidden by bush. He started down hill straight towards us, I could hear Daniel curse under his breath. I stayed patient and focused on my breathing, following him with my scope, waiting for a good opportunity. He stopped in an opening facing straight towards us, I waited for him, hoping he would take a side step or turn. Eventually, he turned his head to his left and took one big step that same direction, as soon as I had his shoulder I squeezed the trigger. When the shot went of it kicked up a bunch of dust that blew back into Daniels and my eyes so we couldn't see. Rafael and Kyle watched the whole thing and confirmed it was a good hit and Kyle knew where he ran too. We headed over to where he was, he only went about 30 yards from where I shot him. And there he was, I was so excited that I forgot about the night before it no longer mattered. I had my first ibex and I couldn't have been happier. We did get a bit of a surprise when we got him out of the brush, he was missing an eye. Kind of cool.
After photos and field dressing him, I packed him back to the car and we had to rush back into town so we could get our stuff out of the hotel. We were only 2 hours or so late. Afterwards it was such a blur trying to get all our gear stuffed into Rafaels Landrover and double checking Daniels to make sure we didn't forget anything, then the long drive back to Madrid. Kyle and I went for dinner with Rafael and his wife to a delicious seafood restaurant. We got back to the hotel at midnight and I was still to hyped from my ibex to sleep. We were up at 4 am to get to the airport so we could fly back home, I think I got only 2 hours sleep. It was an amazing trip and experience, and I can not wait to go back!