By Theodore M. Siouris...
Published at New York / Tri-State Chapter 1998 Year Book
I first shunted in Spain in the autumn of 1988 with a young outfitter named Francisco Rosich who had recently formed an outfitting company called Hunt Trip Spain. I'd bought the hunt at our own Chapter Fundraiser auction. We hunted in the peaks of the Pyreneas Mountains of northern Spain for the Pyrenean Chamois and I returned with both a record book trophy and a special feeling for a beautiful country. Since then, I've hunted with Francisco six times for most of the Spanish big game and he has become a favorite friend. In fact, he stood up for me as Bestman when Aida and I were married in Spain last October. I'd surprised her with my proposal on the flight from New York and she accepted.
Spain has a treasure of extraordinary game animals including four different types of Spanish ibex, two species of chamois, the spectacular Spanish red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, mouflon, catalina goat, barbary sheep and wild boar, plus a bevy of game birds. Francisco's reputation and business have since flourished and he now also manages a 6,000-acre hunting preserve (finca) in Aragon by the name of El Carrascal de Bastaras. The name means, "the live oak forest of Bastaras". The centerpiece of Bastaras in the remains of the 16th Century village of that name which was gradually abandoned about a century ago as new generations made the all too common exodus towards greater economic opportunity in the cities. The village and the surrounding mountains have been privately owned for years but until recently the property was poorly maintained. The current owner has undertaken an ambitious restoration of the major residence and is dedicated to making Bastaras one of the finest hunting estates in Spain. The quality of the game within the vast and dense perimeters of the finca in exceptional. Last Spring Francisco told me the trophies at Bastaras had reached the maturity and distinction he and the owner have been working several years to achieve. A combination of weather, feed and sound game management has produced the desired result, and Francisco said it was time for me to hunt the Gold Medal Spanish red deer I've always sought and failed to find.
The guide met Aida and me at the airport in Barcelona in early October and expedited the formalities of clearing the rifle and our baggage though customs. We then tossed our gear into the Mercedes 4x4 and drove down the coast to Sitges, an ancient and charming seacoast town, where we had lunch outdoors on the Mediterranean Sea. Then a drive of two hours took us through the countryside, into Aragon and its tapestry of vineyards, almond orchards, olive groves, and Spanish onion fields. The colors of the landscape surrounding Bastaras resemble a Cézanne still life. On our first morning of hunting, Aida and I drove over those familiar trails with Francisco, looking for those huge red deer. Though we saw plenty of mouflon, fallow deer and younger red deer, the large stags were indisposed. So, we decided to take a turn at the Catalina goats that range on the highest part of the finca. Beyond the northern boundary of the property we spotted a band of goats deep in a steep canyon and made a stalk down the treacherous mountain. We finally reached a hillock where we could observe a small cluster of males. Francisco meticulously inspected each animal with his binoculars and finally decided which was the better trophy. While he and Aida exchanged opinions of the various candidates, I ended their discussion by shooting the largest of the group. It rolled down out of view, into a thicket of bushes and his companions broke for cover. Francisco was alarmed that I had shot too quickly. As we descended, he admonished me for not waiting. Perhaps I should have told him I was about to shoot, but I was confident of the sight picture through the riflescope and certain I would deliver a killing shot. Fortunately, the goat was down and dead in the brush when we reached it.
To our delight, the long spiraled horns, couring straight out sideways from the skull with a spread of over 36 inches, place the trophy high up in the SCI Trophy Record Book. Over the next two days we staked and size-up several good Spanish red stags but Francisco was not satisfied with the results of his appraisals, so we continued our search in those beautiful hills and canyons. Neither Aida nor I was anxious to bring the hunt to a close. Early one morning before the sun slipped into the valley, we spotted two good stags ahead, breaking out of a gorge, and Francisco said he was sure of the one on the right. I quickly found support against a tree and again asked if he were sure. He gave a quick description of the antler formations and why he liked this stag: heavy beams, long points, good wide configuration, and good crown on at least one side. I focused on the shot placement and squeezed the trigger. The stag stumbled, ran on, and then dropped before I could place another shot into him. It was over. I had finally taken the regal Spanish red deer I have wanted. On our penultimate day at the finca Aida and I were married, with the Mayor of the tiny village of Santa Cilia officiating. In that wonderful brief ceremony, my epic life as a single man came comfortably to an end.
By Woody Fox (Carolinas SC Chapter)
Published on The Primer, April '99.
On my latest donated hunt adventure, I journeyed to the beautiful country of Spain to hunt with Hunt Trip Spain and Francisco Rosich. A guide picked me up at the airport in Barcelona, while Jillian and her mother were exploring Lisbon, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, an island in the Mediterranean. I would rendezvous with Jillian after the hunt to visit Marbella on the southern coast of Spain, the Canary Islands and Seville. On the three hour drive from Barcelona to El Carrascal de Bastaras (my hunting lodge for the next five days), I was impressed with the natural beauty of Spain.
It would only get more beautiful throughout the hunt and travels to Southern Spain. The town of Bastaras dates from the 16th century and on this hunting estate they continue to hunt the very same species referred to in the famous "Códice sobre la Montería" (The Hunting Code) which King Alfonso X commissioned in year 1080. I was after Red Stag, Mouflon, Wild Boar and Beceite Ibex. Once in "camp" (a beautiful, old restored village with all the modern conveniences), Francisco, my P.H., joined us along with his girlfriend, Merlijn. They served as my primary English speaking host and hostess, as most everyone else spoke little English. In addition to the beautiful species of animals I was pursuing. I can think of four additional items that stick out most in my memory:
The beautiful mountain vistas and views throughout the hunt;
The fantastic food prepared by Rosa;
The 4-wheel drive Mercedes "jeeps" from which we hunted and
The wonderful personalities of Francisco and
Merlijn, who id everything possible o make my stay a memorable one.
This young outfitter (age 38), is a hunter that you can talk to, not just about hunting, and get to know personally. When I left, I felt like I had truly made new friends. Francisco's girlfriend, Merlijn, also extended every kindness and served as my dinner translator during the many animated Spanish conversations. This was truly one of the most hospitable hunts I've been on in quite some time. My trophies included an excellent Mouflon, a bronze Ibex (with only one day left to hunt that specie) and two Wild Boars (one table size and one trophy size with fantastic tusks). The Red Stag had rutted earlier than normal that year and we were unable to find a trophy animal worth taking. And given the wonderful experience I enjoyed, I hope to return to this beautiful spot and wonderful people. On behalf of the Carolinas Chapter of SCI, I thank Hunt Trip Spain for donating this hunt to our auction and encourage all members to explore this wonderful hunting opportunity with Hunt Trip Spain.
Jerry Bierbower Skookumchuck, BC,
I just returned from Spain where I was hunting mouflon sheep with Francisco Rosich. This was a hunt they donated to FNAWS last year, one that I was fortunate enough to purchase. I didn't really know what to expect as I've always hunted in North America and Asia, but I must admit that I really enjoyed myself. Base camp, located at the base of the Pyrenees, is a very old lodge that has been refurbished with a big fireplace, sheep and ibex mounts on the wall, a nice bathroom with lots of hot water, and food far better than any sheep hunter deserves. The game is bountiful in this corner of the world, I saw fallow deer, wild boar, red stag, and what I had traveled many miles to see, mouflon sheep. I also had the opportunity to hunt Spanish ibex. Well the picture pretty much tells the rest of the story. The ibex I saw were huge, I missed-but you can guarantee I'll be back for round two. Thanks FNAWS and Francisco for a great hunt !
by Curt Frisbie
Neither Gena' nor I had ever been to Spain but we had heard so much about the friendly people, beautiful countryside and abundant game that we were eager to go. We were put in contact with Francisco Rosich the owner of Hunt Trip Spain, which is headquartered in the gorgeous city of Barcelona. Francisco is an internationally known pigeon shooter with more trophies than you can count. He is gracious hosts and, most importantly, he knows how to find game. We arrived in Barcelona on November 11, 1999, and were met by Francisco. Getting through customs was a snap. There was a two-hour drive to Carrascal de Bastaras, a 16th Century, small "village" where we stayed. Bastaras is a partially restored village where the remains of the old mill and its Romanesque church and cemetery are still there. The buildings have been restored to houseguests in comfortable bedrooms, and to provide a living room with fireplace, a dining room and other amenities. The next morning, after sighting in my .300 Sako Win. Mag. rifle, we were off to search for the animals. Red stag and fallow deer and mouflon sheep are abundant on this huge private hunting estate. The trick is to exercise restraint and not shoot the first animals you see, but to wait and listen to Francisco who will let you know when he finds one suitable for your trophy room. Within the week we had a nice big boar, a fallow deer, a mouflon sheep and two feral goats. The feral goat will measure no. 2 in the SCI Edition IX book. Then we traveled south of Barcelona to Tortosa where we hunted for Beceite Ibex in extremely hilly and rocky country. I had to take quite a hike to get mine, but I suppose that made the trip all the more memorable and worthwhile. At the conclusion of the trip we said good-by to Francisco and started on a road trip to see sights recommended by him. We traveled up the Costa Brava, went to Figueres where we visited the Dali Museum, visited Barcelona and Madrid, and took a day trip to Toledo. It was a trip we highly recommend to anyone. The hunting is not difficult (except perhaps the Ibex hunting can be difficult if you are not ready for some climbing), the profusion of fruit and nut and olive trees are a wonderful sight, the Costa Brava and the beaches are quite scenic, and you will enjoy marveling over the construction of the terraces on all the hills everywhere you look.
When I was preparing this article for our web site, Francisco made me change the whole work ? winning the Live Pigeon Shooting Wold Championship in Andorra last June 22nd 2000, beating the best shooters of the World that traveled to Andorra from 13 different countries. Till then Francisco has won several competitions in this sport, reaching the Catalonian Championship in 1995, French Championship in 1996, the European Championship with the Spanish Team in 1999 and the Grand Prix of America in 1999 too, besides of other competitions as become the 4th in the World Cup last 1999 and the 3rd of Europe with the Spanish Team in year 2000. Francisco started his passion for the Live Pigeon Shooting when he was a kid, in the Tiro de Pich?n de Barcelona, and soon he start to represent his country in several competitions. Nowadays he is following the World Cup and he has lot of chances to become the winner because he is in the 2nd place. We cross the fingers and wish him the best for this achievement.
Every year Hunt Trip Spain is supporting several hunting clubs as Safari Club International, Houston Safari Club, Dallas Safari Club, Foundation for the North American Wild Sheep, ? for conservation and education. Our company really believe in those clubs which defense the rights of the hunters all over the World, plus start programs to manage the wilderness, and educate the youth to understand, respect, and then, love hunting itself. From here we emphasize to join these clubs: