Taking down a monstrous 18-point buck in open area is something that rarely happens to a hunter in his lifetime. Anyone who has gone hunting in the open knows the difficulties involved in such a capture, and although the elusiveness of these animals during the rest of the year ‘relaxes’ to some extent when the rutting season arrives, it is not at all easy to get hold of a piece of this size.

However, the hunter Aníbal Sáez Moreno, a native of Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) who is a member of a game reserve in the Alto Tajo, in the province of Guadalajara, has managed to do just that. First of all, Aníbal emphasises the “satisfaction” he feels at having been able to shoot such a specimen, a deer that he has “fought, fought, sweated… and cried” when he finally had it in his hands, as he confesses to Jara y Sedal.

This is how he brought down this great stag

The hunter’s dog and the deer. © A. G.

The hunter begins by explaining that, on Friday 24 September, he went hunting very early in the morning in an area in the lower part of the reserve, where there is good visibility. “I saw four wild boar and a roe deer that were quite good, but as I was at the deer, I had a changed mind and I didn’t try to hunt them”, he says.

He called the deer with his ‘turuta’. Arriving at the car, he took out his call, imitated the bellowing of the deer to see if there was any animal in the area and it answered him with a very long bellow. “I called the buck again and, after 30 seconds, he answered me again in the highest part of the hunting ground, so I went there”. At that point, the hunter says that he went into a shady area that led to a dirty place of pines, oaks and rockroses” and, when he least expected it, he came across the big buck.

Another picture of the massive deer. © A. G.

He called again with the deer 30 metres away. At that point, “I touched it with the buck and about 30 metres away it gave me a short bellow, and I saw it: it was in a tangle of fallen oaks and pines, one of the dirtiest areas of the reserve”, describes Sáez. “I looked through the binoculars, without moving, I touched it again with the turuta and it didn’t move at all”.

The highlight of the cast. Aníbal did no more than take two steps and, in a clearing, he saw the deer emerging from the aforementioned tangle: “I saw that the animal was good, but I didn’t imagine it had that kind of antlers”, he says. “I trotted out to see what it was doing to me, put the fork in, and at about 80 metres I shot it in the elbow area, and with the deer already half covered, I shot it again and it fell”. Sáez knew he had hit it, and found it dead seconds later in a ravine. “I burst into tears, because hunting an animal like that is very difficult in the open”, says the hunter. Finally, Sáez has only words of thanks for his dog Tiza, a wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier that accompanies him on all his hunting trips.

The hunter used a Browning X-Bolt rifle in .270 Winchester calibre with 130-grain BST ammunition.