What are the main types of hunting in Spain?
The hunting activity in our country presents an unusual diversity. The richness of the species and ecosystems that make up the Peninsula recognizes few rivals in the rest of the world, which explains the extraordinary number of hunting modalities that are practiced and enjoyed here.
With a greater or lesser degree of follow up, the hunt, stalking, hunting in hand and a long etcetera of types of hunting in Spain allow you to “savor” this passion with the procedures and techniques that you prefer. This variety is perhaps the reason why our country is in second place in the ranking of European countries with the highest number of hunters, with around 850,000 graduates, according to recent data from the Círculo Fortuny.
From the “montería” to the “gancho”: these are the most practiced types of hunting in Spain.
Montería is the most popular form of big game hunting in Spain, perfectly adapted in its techniques to the conditions of the Mediterranean mountain, as well as to two of its most representative species: the wild boar and the deer, without detracting from the mouflon and fallow deer.
The hunters, in a hunt, are organized in groups of ten to twenty members and carry out a hunt of the ‘mancha’ or determined surface of a territory. They are aided by rehalas and assistants in charge of lifting and guiding their prey in the direction of the hunting posts. The size of the area exceeds 200 hectares and can include from twenty to forty stands.
In the batida, a variant of the montería, only human assistants are used, and the hunting parties and hunting posts are organized differently: the former in groups of two and the latter distributed in a line that controls the escape of the prey. By definition, it is the “action of beating the mountain so that the animals that are present go out to the posts where the hunters are waiting”, citing the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE).
In answer to what types of hunting there are in Spain, stalking occupies a prominent place among the modalities with the largest national following. As its name indicates, hunters stealthily stalk the localized prey until they are within shooting distance, either approaching the animal or waiting for it to come to a hunting post. For the practitioners of stalking, deer, wild boar, roe deer, roe deer, fallow deer and mouflon are appropriate trophies.
Hooking is also presented as a variant of montería, sharing many of the characteristics of this modality, but differing in minor aspects, such as the limitation of the number of hunters to fifteen or the possibility of dispensing with rehalas, which in no case will exceed four dogs. In addition, the organization of the hunting posts is more similar to the batida than to the montería itself. For all these reasons, the hook has a large community of followers, being one of the most interesting hunting methods for the neophyte and the veteran.
Hunting in hand is another type of hunting that exists in the Peninsula. It is practiced by small groups of hunters, with or without the help of rehalas, tracking the game in a coordinated manner in order to capture it. It has many variants, such as hunting with teeth in hand, consisting of the formation of teams with a maximum of 3 dogs per person who hunt without weapons of any kind.
At least one mention should be made of disciplines with a notable following in Spain, such as falconry, ojeo, ronda, lanceo or bow hunting, among other forms of hunting that allow one to enjoy this hobby according to one’s own tastes and needs.