Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe and has 15 species of indigenous trophy animals to hunt. According to SCI and GSCO Ovis; 2 of them count for the Ovis Grand Slam of Sheep of the world, 3 for the slam of deer of the world, 7 for the Capra Grand Slam, 1 for the pigs of the world, and the Iberian wolf.
And now let us make a brief description of Spain´s big game species:
SPANISH STAG OR RED DEER (Cervus elaphus hispanicus)
The Spanish Red Deer –exclusive from Spain- is the classical trophy of our “Sierras”. It is smaller than the Red Deer of Central Europe (C.e. hipelaphus), but its antlers may have more points. A good trophy should have at least 12 to 14 points and main beams 33” long or more. There are about 250,000 Red Deer in Spain and about 25,000 are taken annually by hunters.
THE SPANISH IBEX, found only in Spain, and certainly one of Europe´s most desired trophies:
GREDOS IBEX (Capra hispanica Victoriae)
The Gredos Ibex, with the typical lyre horn form has a strong growing curve. There are about 20,000 animals in the Gredos Mountains, and a good trophy should be 9 or more years of age with a horn length at least 27”
BECEITE IBEX (Capra hispanica Maritimus)
The Beceite Ibex horns adopt a straighter, vertical spreading out curve. These Ibex can be as large as the Gredos one, and the population is over 15,000 animals
SOUTH EASTERN IBEX (Capra hispanica Penibeticus)
The South Eastern Ibex grow their horns resembling the configurations of Tur, with a strong curve growing aggressively backwards from the skull.
RONDA IBEX (Capra hispanica Meridionalis)
The Ronda Ibex is the smallest of the four. The horns grow straight up with a small angle at the tip, having lighter color skin than the others.
THE FALLOW DEER (Dama dama dama)
The Fallow Deer was introduced from the Middle East to Europe by the Romans over 2.000 years ago. It habits the wide-open spaces of our Sierras. The trophy quality in Spain is the best in the world because of the acorn found its habitat.
THE PYRENEAN CHAMOIS (Rupicabra rupicabra pyrenaica) and the CANTABRIAN CHAMOIS (Rupicabra rupicabra parva)
They inhabit the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains respectively. Both subspecies have hook-shaped horns and are a challenge for sportsmen who love mountain hunting. The Pyrenean variety population is around 7,000 and is larger than the Cantabrian subspecies, of which there are about 5,000.
THE IBERIAN MOUFLON SHEEP (Ovis musimon)
The Iberian Mouflon Sheep was introduced in the 17th century from Corsica and Sardinia Islands. It is a quick-moving and intelligent animal with highly developed instincts, which makes it difficult to hunt as any wild sheep is expected to be.
THE ROE DEER (Capreolus capreolus)
The Roe Deer, also known as the “elf of the forest” is the most hunted trophy by Europeans. It has fancy pearled antlers with six tines. The population of Roe Deer keeps growing almost in every part of Spain and so is the quality. At this moment, and especially in the central north part of the country, the trophies taken have nothing to envy any of the ones taken in the rest of Europe.
THE WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)
The Wild Boar, is the favorite hunting trophy for many Spaniards. It is also the most sought after trophy in the “Monterias”, Spain´s traditional hunting technique. Wild Boar are especially numerous in the thick undergrowth characteristic of our Sierras. When wounded, the razor sharp tusks of a Wild Boar become weapons capable of killing the fiercest hound.
THE AOUDAD OR BARBARY SHEEP (Ammotragus lervia)
The Aoudad, was introduced from northern Africa in 1970; right now there is a stable and growing colony in the south east part of the country. These animals have characteristics from Wild Sheep and Wild Goats, having a beautiful long haired bear from underneath the throat to the belly right bellow the front legs.
THE IBERIAN WOLF (Canis lupus signatus)
The Iberian wolf had stable populations in the north, central and south mountains of Spain, until the first half of the 20th century when it was almost extinct. Right now has a growing stable population in the North, North West as well as in the central mountains of Spain. It can be hunted from the North side of the “Duero River” all the way up within limits inside Castilla y León estate. At this moment it looks like they will be forced to open hunting in other areas of the country, since the wolf packs keep growing causing big problems to live stock.