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HUNTING IN THE GRAND MANNER
Virginia M. Kraft
May 02, 1955
Generalissimo Franco closed the big-game season by inviting Spain's aristocracy to a Monteria. Among the honored guests was SI's hunting reporter, who writes this firsthand account
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May 02, 1955

Hunting In The Grand Manner

Generalissimo Franco closed the big-game season by inviting Spain's aristocracy to a Monteria. Among the honored guests was SI's hunting reporter, who writes this firsthand account

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"Heart shot," he said. "There won't be need for the grace shot. It was dead before it fell."

In the distance, a low bleating sound ranged across the mountains. The conch horns of the podenquerros were calling the scattered dogs. It was 4 o'clock and the hunt was over. Crossing the hill, from whatever had been the day's sanctuary, we could see the outlines of the mule boys leading their beasts to the posts. They sang in soft voices as they walked toward us.

Antonio moved about rapidly, packing saddle bags, gathering equipment. Before the mules reached us the post was bare. On the antlers of the dead buck and on the tusks of the boar he placed small white flags bearing our names and post number. He put his fingers around the width of the antler and nodded to himself. We could see he approved.

TIRED MEN AND HUNTER'S LUCK

The sun was low as we again approached the courtyard. Most of the gunners had already returned and stood in small groups discussing the day's shooting. Generalissimo Franco and his party were still in the hills, and counts and dukes and generals speculated on what his luck had been. When his group was finally visible against the backdrop of mountain, we could see that he was smiling. As they approached, the word passed through the crowd. The Generalissimo had gotten two bucks, good ones, and a boar.

It was night before the last of the game was brought in from the brush. Cigarets made tiny lanterns in the courtyard as the total bag was counted. Eighty-two bucks, thirty-four boar. Tired men departed to eat dinner and drink wine and talk for endless hours of guns and game and hunter's luck.

In the moonlight the courtyard of the Palace of Lugar Nuevo presented a strange picture. The noise of the day was over. A breeze, as quiet as the night, moved noiselessly among the dead animals, whispering a mournful dirge. The white light of the moon touched first an antler, then the ivory of a tusk. The shadows of many pointed trophies cast weird images across the courtyard. The season had ended in Spain.

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