A Very Special Hunt
Listening as the field awakens is one of the most extraordinary experiences in nature and is what I most enjoy when I go hunting. This time, I went up into the mountains on what hunters refer to as a “selective” hunting trip – I was in search of mouflon that were out of the ordinary. I traveled to the Sierra de Montoro, specifically to La Loma de la Higuera farm, where my love of hunting was born, as I spent a large part of my childhood in this beautiful country.
If you call yourself a good hunter, you must carry out selective hunting in order to manage your land properly. Sick and deformed animals must be culled to keep the population healthy and of the highest quality.
My uncle Rafa, the manager of the farm, and Cristóbal, the senior keeper, had located several mouflon whose horns wound inward more tightly than usual. As the horns grow over time, this can result in an agonizing death for the animal as the horns dig into its neck and cause an infection that kills it.
We started hunting in the areas favored by the animals before sunrise. Mouflon are very elusive and hunting them requires great stealth. We spent a lot of time scanning the terrain with our binoculars. The early hours of the day, before the sun has risen over the horizon, is when I appreciate the optical quality of my ZEISS Conquest HD and I’m sure to spot any animals that nearby.
We walked for a while, seeing various groups of animals, but none that had the required selection criteria. After looking for a long time and carefully assessing the horns of each of the mouflons that we saw, which is an essential part of proper management and for which the best tool is a good pair of binoculars, we spotted a group with several females and one male grazing beneath an oak tree. We looked closely to make sure that it was one of the animals we were looking for.
We approached slowly, hardly making a sound as we did. The animals did not notice us, even though we were in an open area with very little vegetation to conceal us. I quickly mounted the gun rest and prepared the magnification of my ZEISS V6 scope. I corrected the ASV turret a few clicks and used the 12x magnification to train the sight above the mouflon’s elbow.
The mouflon was about 221 meters away. The light wasn’t optimal, but thanks to the quality of the lenses and the reticule, with its very fine lines, I was able to aim with great precision, making for a very special and happy sunrise.
The job was done. We had culled an old animal, one with malformed horns and one that would make for a good meal.