PICOS DE EUROPA

This may we went back to Picos de Europa. Last year we tried hard for three days to get a chamois with the bow there but we couldn’t make it. We have been training for months to try to make a difference this time.

I was surprised how bad the area has been hit by Scabies and the few animals that we saw, for how many there were years ago. We were ready for a long day of hiking. Views are breathtaking!

In Picos de Europa lives the smallest chamois subspecies in the world, the “Cantabrian”. Although, what really brought us there was not that, but the opportunity to chase one of my favorite animals in a different mountain range. It will never stop amazing me how they can move so easily in such crazy terrain.

Weather in the mountains changes quickly so you better be prepared for anything. Here we are glassing some chamois feeding in those cuts protected from the rain and wind. Not even a chance there with the bow. No matter how much we train, we are never in good enough shape for the terrain these guys life in.

The equipment brought. Slowly glassing every corner trying to find a right buck. We are after a management permit, so we are looking for animals that they have no potential to be a trophy. By doing this management, a good healthy population can be assured, were the best individuals are left for breeding.

I got asked a lot if I am not scared of coming out empty handed when I only take my bow… if being in places like this is coming out empty, we have a different understanding of what hunting is about. We love feeling small in this world!

This group was in a perfect spot, so I couldn’t pass the opportunity to get to shooting range and draw the bow, too bad they were not what we were looking for, good practice and fun though! We covered a lot of ground and saw some groups of females and young ones, but we were struggling to find a management buck.

Weather changes quick, and with some scattered showers, salamandras start to pop out from the ground. It’s great to see so much small life there is in the upper country, far from the intensive agricultural grounds full of chemicals.

We spotted a lonely buck really far away. As we closed the distance we found that it was what we were looking for. I sneak underneath it since it was bedded on the base of a rock wall. The buck stood up broadside at 45 yards but the range finder told me to shoot for 35 yards compensating for the angle. I couldn’t find a good stable rest for my feet, so I struggle to set the sight level. We thought that the shot might have been a bit low, but it turned to be on the shoulder cutting all the heart arteries. It only run 40 yards.

After 12 hours hiking, we got our first option at a good management buck. We couldn’t believe finally things lined up!! 2017.05.25.170627.Picos-5705918.54pm;
15,31km/9,51miles;
951m/3120ft positive elevation gain.
Still 3 hours to get down.2017.05.25.175248.Picos-56901We took some pictures and the meat and started our way down. We had to loose 1000+ m in elevation, luckily this time of the year days are super long and we made it to town with the last light. Days like this will never be forgotten!

We really put the time to be prepared for this hunt and we couldn’t be happier that we were able to make it count one year later. My first Cantabrian chamois! A Gorgeous animal in one of the most beautiful places I have ever hunted. Gotta love mountains and goats!

 

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