"Look!" my partner half shouted. He flipped the safety off his rifle. I did the same. In front of the dogs, leaping and crashing through the brush, raced several terrified animals. They changed direction, veering toward our post.
"Hembras," the secretario said. Does. They ran right at us, barely missing the post. Behind them, three more broke loudly through the bushes, scattered and disappeared behind rock boulders.
On the slope of the mountain opposite we could see the dogs move past our post area and into range of the next. Momentarily there was relief from the pandemonium. We clicked on safeties, lit cigarets and counted...seven does, no bucks.
Behind us the secretario raised his head and listened. Then, with a finger, he pointed to a ridge some 60 yards away. We moved around, facing the ridge. A moment passed, two, three. The silence was loud after the noise. The ridge remained bare. The boy continued to point.
Suddenly, with one movement, an animal cleared the ridge. "Hembra," the boy said aloud. He too was disappointed. The doe passed within a few feet of us and disappeared over a hill behind. Eight does, still not a shot.
Then came the sharp crack of a nearby rifle. A second shot, a third.
"Muerte," Antonio mumbled.
"The next post," my partner, Jos�, commented.
From around the mountain the faint sounds of barking and calling moved farther and farther away. The podenquerros had passed five, six, maybe seven posts distant.
"Good," Jos� remarked. "Now you must be on guard. The does will run in front of the dogs, blindly. But not the old bucks. The big ones, the time-wised ones, do not survive to 18 and 20 points by fleeing recklessly before their pursuers. They are clever. They move instead stealthily through the ranks of the dogs. It is now, when the noise has passed, that they think they are safe."