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  • Ibex Hunt 4.4

    Posted: Jul 23 2018

    “Where is he?” I whispered too quietly, because Ignacio didn’t hear me. But my question was answered with the sight of two ibexes fleeing the scene about sixty yards down the mountain. All of my excitement and electricity went out like someone had pulled the breaker switch, and I stood up straight from the hunch I had adopted on the stalk and began to really notice how cold it was and the small rain drops beginning to fall from the sky. The sun was lowering close to the horizon now, and we wouldn’t have enough daylight to make another stalk. That was it. The hunt was over.

                “No—there!” Ignacio nudged me and I slouched back into stalking mode. For a second, I thought he was crazy. But then, an ibex, a really really old ibex, appeared from behind a bush, walking slowly with a limp in his back foot. I locked in on him and made the necessary calculations. Wind—slight, left to right. Slope—steep. Position—slightly quartered away. Walking—lead him. Distance—roughly thirty yards? There wasn’t time to range him because he was already getting farther away with every step. Without taking my eyes off him, I nocked my arrow and lifted my bow halfway up, ready to draw.

                “How far is he?” I asked, but I didn’t hear the answer. I knew he was farther than I usually shot, but a strange and inexplicable certainty enveloped me. Three fingers numbed by the cold under my nock, I took a deep breath, and drew back.

                In what felt like slow motion, I watched the brilliant red glow of my Lumenok soar through the raindrops. The arrow arched down at the perfect moment, lodging into the neck of the old ibex, severing the jugular. Limp forgotten, he bolted through the bushes with the arrow flopping up and down with his gait, a wide trail of blood left behind him. Staring after him, I replayed the shot over and over in my head in hyper speed, and started to breathe once I was satisfied that I made the best shot I could make. In the moments after every shot I ever make on an animal, even if it looks like a good shot, I am a bundle of anxiety. There is no jumping up and down, no squealing, none of that. I don’t feel true elation until I know the animal has died and isn’t suffering, that I for sure made a good shot. My dad caught up to us and ranged the shot, he and Ignacio both giddy with excitement. We discovered that it was over forty yards—ten yards farther than my usual maximum distance. Especially with traditional archery, every foot will affect the trajectory exponentially as the distance increases. I don’t even think I practiced shooting at forty yards because there was no way I’d take a shot that far. But stranger things have happened.

                It’s not a good idea to run after an animal after an archery shot because the adrenaline of being chased might cause it to run farther, so we sat down and gave him some time. The sky was darkening and the sprinkling raindrops were getting colder, and I forced myself to take deep breaths. Ignacio and my dad were beaming and talking about the shot. They asked me if I meant to hit the jugular. I didn’t; I was aiming for behind the shoulder, and I must have led him too far. They laughed and said that the jugular was an even better shot, and that I did a great job with my estimate on the trajectory.

    “How did you do that?” Ignacio asked. I just smiled with my lips squeezed tightly together and shrugged to hide my anxiety. I aimed, of course, but my style of aiming with a traditional bow is—more or less—to lock into my anchor point and focus all of my energy onto the smallest detail of my intended target.

                After about fifteen minutes, we got up and started following the blood trail. He ran less of a distance than I shot him from, and we approached slowly when we saw the bright glow from the Lumenok through some leaves. When we got to him, he was still barely alive. Up close, his age showed even more. His thin legs were folded under his small belly, the points of his shoulders sharp against the knobs of his spine.

                He was close to death, but I knew I needed to put another shot in him to end it quicker. Shaking now and trying to shoot quickly, I completely missed the first shot, and the arrow whizzed above his head into the bushes. Embarrassment enflamed me, and I fumbled for another arrow. Ignacio and my dad told me it was okay, to try again. I inhaled sharply and blinked hard. Get it together, Caroline. You can do this. No room for error. Make a good shot. I nocked another arrow and pulled back smoothly. Shooting a longbow is a lot like how a key opens a lock; as the key is inserted, each of the ridges engages a tumbler in precisely the right way, and if all of the tumblers are properly in place, boom, the key turns and the lock opens. All of my tumblers have to be engaged perfectly when I’m shooting: my stance, grip, finger placement, breath, draw length, anchor point, string on my nose, and the way I release. Just one of those being off can alter the shot entirely. No room for error. The challenge of it is exhilarating and utterly calming all at once, every time, and I love it.

                At full draw, I looked at the spot on the ibex I knew would be the best placement for the shot based on how he was laying, and when I released the arrow, it struck exactly where I wanted it to. The ibex flinched as the broadhead sliced through his lungs and into his spine, and he was dead within a few seconds.


    Relief washed over me as I walked up to kneel beside him, finally beaming like my dad and Ignacio as I gave both of them hugs. The ibex was so old. Ignacio lifted up his lips and we saw that the poor guy had worn down his teeth to mere nubs, and gummed grass was lodged in his cheeks. In one of his back feet, he had a gruesome abscess that looked horribly painful. Ignacio told me that he probably wouldn’t have made it through the next winter, and I could not have been happier that this was my trophy. I looked around at the mountains again, breathing them in and etching them into my mind so that I’d never forget this moment. I felt a rain drop land on my cheek and it felt like a kiss, as if now the mountains have met the sky.

     Submitted by Caroline Pruitt

  • Ibext Hunt 3.4

    Posted: Jul 09 2018

    We climbed to the top of the range and glassed, searching for an ibex the right age and size. We didn’t see any all morning, and after lunch decided that we needed to go farther. The ibex may have moved to another area of the mountains. My spirits were high, but my hopes were faltering, as this was the last day of the hunt. I was starting to mentally prepare myself for the possibility of going home empty-handed, though that wouldn’t be the end of the world. The experience of the hunt—whether I got a trophy or not—was something I would always treasure.

                As the afternoon was nearing its meld into evening, my field of vision was abruptly filled with Ignacio’s backpack, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I managed to avoid crashing into him.

                “What—” I started.

                Ignacio was frozen, and I knew what that meant. My dad and I froze, too, and I started to count the seconds in my head, staring intently at the fabric of his backpack. After several Mississippi’s, he ducked behind a nearby bush and we followed. As he peaked through his binoculars, I pulled off a few tiny dried leaves from the bush and crumbled them in my hand, then released them. They drifted to our right, towards the bottom the mountain—not ideal but not terrible.

                There were three of them, one youngin’ and two older ones. From where they were grazing on the mountain, we would have to sneak past them from much lower, and then circle back and try to get above them from the other direction, praying they were still there. We retreated until out of sight, and then started our approach. When we had gotten far enough in front of them, we decided that my dad should stay back and film the stalk from afar. In close range stalks, the less people the better. He’d be able to get better footage from staying back anyway. We found a small spring flowing parallel to the top of the range and quietly followed it, its soft trickle muffling our steps as adrenaline pulsed into every one of our molecules. In what seemed like ages later, we came to the patch where they had been grazing.

                “Quick! Get in front of me!” Ignacio whispered. He reached behind and pulled me around him. Miraculously, my clunky boots didn’t stumble off the tiny ledge, death-by-rocks all the way to the bottom on the left. I noted a small shift in wind direction when the brilliant yellow wildflowers amidst the rocky slope paused in their fluttering, only for a second, and then started up again in a delicately different direction, but enough to matter. It was blowing our scent right to them now.


  • Until the Mountains Meet the Sky

    Posted: May 23 2018

    By Staffer: Caroline Pruitt

    My fingers wound and unwound in my lap under the table, hiding the only outward sign of the nervousness I felt sitting in the green canvas chair under the big plastic sign reading “Great Spanish Hunts.” Hunters and fishermen from all over the world in suits or khakis or camo, plus a few wives in leopard print dresses or pant suits and the occasional youngster, streamed past in the aisles like schools of fish. They carried khaki bags silk screened “Safari Club International Annual Convention 2013” and a few stopped at adjacent booths to barter bear hunts in Canada or fishing trips in Alaska or plains game safaris in Zimbabwe or dove hunts in Argentina, or sometimes just to catch up with an old friend.

                Dad was sitting next to me, negotiating with Ignacio about the possibility of a Gredos Ibex hunt with him in late May, just over four months from now. The only kicker was that I would be using my longbow, rather than the conventional rifle or even a compound bow. If successful, I’d be the only woman (recorded) to do it. “The Stick,” made by our dear friend and archery mentor Tim Strickland’s bow company “Strickland’s Archery,” was indeed a stick. It was a beautiful three-piece takedown with thin, sleek carbon fiber limbs and a smooth grip that felt like it was created for my hand. When I nocked an arrow and pulled back the string with three fingers, anchoring my index finger in the corner of my mouth, nothing felt more natural. Relaxing my fingers as I let out my breath and watching the bright red Lumenok soar through the air made time feel like slow motion, and yet charged with electricity. It was my favorite method of hunting, and hours of daily practice had honed my accuracy, but it was still a risky and more difficult manner of hunting—much less certain than with a rifle. Ignacio’s initial apprehension was not without valid reasoning; even I was initially hesitant on whether or not a longbow was a good idea on a mountain hunt. Mountain animals are smart and elusive. Even getting as close as one hundred yards away for a rifle shot is sometimes impossible. My maximum range that I felt comfortable with a longbow was only thirty yards. There’s no sight pin to rest on the animal, no break-over in the draw to decrease the holding weight, not even a peep sight—instinctive shooting at its best. No room for error­­, as my dad would say. Adding that to the physical challenges of the terrain and the elements of nature, we’d have ourselves a very difficult hunt. But even so, I believed we could do it. Thankfully Ignacio believed it, too, and the hunt was on.


  • Welcome To The New Lumenok Blog

    Posted: Apr 13 2018

    Hello everyone! My name is Caroline Pruitt, and I’d like to invite you to journey with me as I write about adventures and the occasional hot topic. I’ve always thought it would be really fun to have a blog, and recently Lumenok asked if I would be willing to share my story and thoughts with you. Of course I accepted; how cool is it to be able to talk to fellow hunters and represent an amazing company?

                I should probably tell you a little bit about myself first; due to a shoulder injury, taking time to finish college, and charging out on my own, it’s coming up on four years since I’ve hunted big game. But before my college shenanigans, I was blessed to have many opportunities of a lifetime. There was a time where it wasn’t out of the ordinary for my dad and I to pack up and go hunting in Africa, South America, New Zealand, Spain, and of course North America.

    I’m from a small East Texas town called Nacogdoches, where I grew up hunting whitetail, squirrels, and various varmints on my family’s farm. Our first hunt outside of the U.S. was an African safari, which kicked off a rather unexpected goal to pursue the Safari Club International Young Hunter Award. The journey for that included conservation and humanitarian projects, presentations, a few near-death experiences, joys, and struggles. Through the years I have accumulated numerous hunting records, though the conservation aspect of hunting and loving the outdoors has always been more important to me. I started with a rifle, most hunters do, and then worked “backwards” in advancement as I grew more and more attracted to challenging myself, from rifle to muzzleloader to pistol to crossbow to compound bow to longbow. When I started archery hunting in 2008, Lumenok seriously changed the game for me, as I’m sure it has for you, too!  

    I’m really looking forward to sharing these blogs, and I hope you’re looking forward to reading them! Until next time, #lightemup.