What types of hunting reserves exist in Spain?


Spain is one of the countries with the greatest hunting tradition in Europe. More than 80% of the national territory is catalogued as a hunting preserve, which can be defined as “any continuous area of land susceptible to hunting exploitation that has been declared as such”, according to the Hunting Law of April 4, 1970.

Due to the abundance of hunting grounds, hunting activity in our country enjoys a privileged setting, which is why it produces such a notable economic and social benefit in the regions involved, not to mention its positive impact on tourism, nature conservation and the control of game species.

The different types of hunting preserves guarantee a hunting activity adapted to the needs and possibilities of each individual. In this sense, hunting preserves can be sporting, intensive, private and social, but also for big game and small game, depending on the number of hectares dedicated to this activity and the cataloguing of the species.

How many types of hunting preserves are there in Spain?

Sport Hunting Preserves

A sport hunting preserve is identified with any land destined for non-profit hunting. The regulations of certain Autonomous Communities establish a minimum and maximum surface to define the orientation of the preserve as big game or small game; for example, those destined for big game hunting must exceed 1,000 hectares.

Here, too, the absence of profit also conditions hunting exploitations. Unlike what happens in a private hunting ground, in a sport hunting ground, the commercialization of hunting posts (transfers, leases, etc.) is prohibited, for example, on the occasion of a hunting trip.

Generally, the lands of this type of hunting preserve are public in origin, before being ceded to the entity responsible for managing its current denomination. However, the ownership could also fall to the sporting or official organization in question, such as the Andalusian Hunting Federation, from the outset.

Private and Intensive Hunting Preserves

In private hunting preserves, the ownership of the land is held by individuals or legal entities, not by official or sporting entities. Hunting exploitations admit profit, although many hunting preserves develop their activity without the intention of obtaining economic yields. In order to constitute this type of hunting preserve, it is necessary to be in possession of the title of acquisition of the hunting exploitation, as stated in Decree 182/2005, of July 26.

Intensive hunting reserves owe their name to the regular release of game species from external farms. Their primary objective is to guarantee a sufficiently large and diverse population for hunting. Those in charge of them emphasize, therefore, active repopulation and the support of the fauna with the necessary food.

Social Hunting Preserves

Very popular in the 1980s, social hunting preserves aim to make hunting accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic possibilities. This egalitarian spirit is particularly evident in the affordability of fees, the rational use of game species and the prioritization of hunters from the region where the preserve is located.

The land set aside for this type of hunting preserve is usually in the hands of regional bodies and is regulated by public entities. Thus, in answer to the question of how many types of hunting preserves there are, the list includes sport, private, intensive and, to a lesser extent, social preserves.

Big and small game preserves

The typology of the hunting preserve admits an additional classification, established according to the surface area dedicated to hunting and the cataloguing of the species.

In the first place, the big game hunting preserve covers a minimum area of 500 to 1,000 hectares for hunting, depending on whether the preserve is private or sporting and on the legislation in force in the Autonomous Community. In general terms, the species designated for big game hunting include wild boar, roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, ibex, sheep, mouflon and, depending on the Autonomous Community and their conservation status, the bear and the Iberian wolf.

On the other hand, the small game preserve is distinguished by a smaller territorial extension (from 250 to 500 hectares at least), and is intended for the hunting of species included in Royal Decree 1095/1989, such as partridge, hare, rabbit and other species smaller than a red fox. The most popular modalities here are hunting with teeth in the hand, at a walk, by leaping, by hunting with a target or with a claim.

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