The complete guide to hunting in Spain
- Credit: Archant
Which species can you hunt in sunny Spain? Where are the best hunting areas in Spain? What should you take on a Spanish hunting holiday? Tony Jackson answers all these questions and more!
While the climate in Spain is generally mild to hot, a number of hunts are conducted during the winter months when it can be cold in the morning and evening, even in the south of the country. This is particularly the case when monterias are taking place and you are remaining still for long periods. Generally, though, you will be hunting in the mountains and hills, which are usually covered in shrub, and this can make the stalking challenging.
Camouflage is appropriate, and mountain or digital camo as opposed to Realtree is best. It is not essential, but a blending background colour is sensible. For some hunts, such as aoudad or Spanish ibex, you may be in very hot conditions with little chance of rain, so lightweight clothing is advised. In the north, however, it can be wet and cold in the morning, but hotter in the afternoon, so layers are advised with a rainproof outer shell.
A good pair of walking boots with ankle support and Vibram soles or similar for grip is essential. A medium to lightweight boot is ideal. Prickly plants and undergrowth can be tough, so gaiters are recommended.
This is normally in a local hotel and, in some instances, particularly on a monteria, a lodge will be used. As hunters are constantly moving to areas where the sport is best, accommodation is not always the same, so you may not know where you will be staying in advance.
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On most hunts, accommodation is basic but comfortable, and you return every night to a hot shower and comfortable bed, so clothing is not as important as it is on a wilderness hunt.
Generally, there are good roads into the 'back country', so hunters do not have to be super fit. Each individual hunter's abilities can be catered for, and if they are unable to climb, there are areas where a vehicle can take them to a mountain top from which they can stalk down. Normally, however, some walking would be required.
Suitable calibres would be any of the 6.5s up to .300 Win Mag. Long shots are often required, so a rifle that can carry impact out to 400m (although shots are normally well under this) is sensible. Ibex and aoudad are quite tough animals.
Flights from the UK generally take about two hours and there are numerous options on budget airlines. Those wishing to bring their own rifles will need an EU firearms pass. Note that Ryanair refuses to carry guns. Alternatively, suitable rifles can be arranged in Spain at no extra cost.
Depending on the outfitter, hunting insurance may be included in the cost of the hunt, but hunters are recommended to also take out their own travel/medical insurance. Spain has a good infrastructure and hunters are never far from medical assistance.
The food and culture are both fantastic, and there is always plenty to do should you shoot your animal on day one or wish to extend the holiday for several days.
Barbary Sheep/Aoudad: Mostly hunted by stalking; the option to sit in a hide is available, but is not recommended. Hunting for aoudad was closed two years ago, but licences are now being issued.
Season: October to March
Murcia Province - fly to Murcia or Alicante.
Spanish Ibex: For both Beceite and Gredos (the two larger sub-species) there is a chance of some bad weather. The big ibex are always shot on a sliding scale, so one pays more for a different medal class.
Season: October to April
Beceite ibex: hunted in Valencia region. Fly to Barcelona.
Gredos ibex: hunted in Salamanca region. Fly to Madrid.
Sierra Nevadan/south-eastern Ibex: hunted in south of Spain. Fly to Granada.
Ronda ibex: hunted in Malaga region.
Pyrenean Chamois: One of the hardest stalking hunts in Spain, and a unique chamois as regards pelage. The largest that can be found are generally hunted.
Season: 1 October to 28 February
Fly to Barcelona.
Cantabrian Chamois: A hard hunt and the smallest of the 14 chamois sub-species.
Season: May-July, September-November
Fly to Bilbao.
Mouflon: Few places in Spain have free-range mouflon, and most are fenced. Real Big 5 hunts in the most famous reserve for free-range mouflon in Spain.
Season: 1 August to 31 December
Price: £3,500 (generally for best that can be found).
Wild Boar: They can be hunted over bait or during a monteria. There is no close season and they are found all around the country.
Price: £1,500 for hunting over bait.
Iberian Red Deer: These deer are much more expensive than stalking in UK, and the big heads are all behind a fence. Regularly shot during monterias.
Season: September to February
Roe Deer: Again, far more expensive than hunting in the UK, though there are some massive heads. Stalking is in hills rather than flat farmland.
Season: April to September
Stalking in Batuecas region. Fly to Madrid.
Price: £3,500 (also charged on sliding scale)
Fallow: Generally fenced but do get shot in monterias.
Organised during December to February. Dates are set a few months earlier and prices vary hugely, so any budget can be met. Number of Guns can also vary, but you can expect 30 to 40 on an average monteria.
As a guide price, if you spend £3,000 plus you will be on a good monteria. You won't find anything under £2,000. Most monterias will be two or three days' shooting. Animals usually shot are red deer and wild boar, occasionally mouflon and fallow. Most monterias are organised in fenced areas, and in the wild, bags will be low.
All hunts are booked on a three-day-hunt basis: day one, arrive in Spain; days two-four, hunting; day five, depart. All quotes are for the hunt organisation, transport and transfers, guiding, hunting insurance, licences and hunting tags. Normally, accommodation in a local hotel will be an additional cost, plus your evening meals, drinks, airfares and a £100+ tip to the guide.
There is an excellent taxidermist in Madrid. Alternatively, travel back on plane with trophy to use UK-based taxidermist (not recommended).
Agent: Real Big 5
Henry Skeffington was brought up stalking red deer in the Scottish Highlands, and eventually chose to pursue mountain hunting, concentrating on the world's toughest species. After his first mountain hunt in New Zealand he became addicted to the pursuit of sheep and goats. There were very few international agencies offering this type of hunting at the time, and certainly no one in the UK. As his network of international hunting contacts grew, he started to find himself organising and advising on hunts for friends, so in 2010 he decided to set up Real Big 5 - a UK hunting agency that was initially dedicated solely to the pursuit of sheep and goats. As the business grew, so did the need to offer a wider range of hunts.
Contact Henry Skeffington: