For some 15 years now I have been visiting Spain during the Winter months to partake in their traditional big game hunt, the Monteria. In Scotland the deer population is managed on an ongoing basis, over a period of months during the season. In Spain it is typical for the owners of an estate to host a day of Monteria. This is a gathering of 15 - 30 guns who are spread out through the estate on stands or positions and each given a quota of game to hunt. The quota might be 2 stags, 3 hinds, 1 mouflon and unlimited boar. It is very dependent on the individual estate and the management of the game population required. Once the guns are in position, packs of dogs with handlers are let loose to 'move the game' and when the game passes your stand you decide to shoot or not. The area covered by the hunt will be many 100's of acres.
A traditional Monteria breakfast is served on arrival. A pile of breadcrumbs toasted with garlic and sausage, topped with fried eggs and washed down with a glass of Rioja.
After breakfast the safety briefing is the first and a most important aspect of the day. 20 rifles out in the field together requires that all bullets are travelling into the ground, no game on the skyline!
Following the safety lecture and prayers comes the draw, here you select your stand by picking a card, a random but fair process. You will then be driven to the vicinity of your stand and a short walk will follow to get you to your final position.
The stand may be at the top of a hill so you shoot into a valley.
Or perhaps on the side of a hill and you are shooting across and into the other side.
The dogs on the Monteria cover many miles and work hard moving the game, here a short break whilst the pack is gathered together.
The Monteria lasts about 4 hours, from 11am until 3pm. and once the horn is sounded to notify the guns to unload the game is recovered by staff using horses to drag the game from the hills.
Once down from the hill the stories begin over a glass of wine or whiskey.
The game is brought to the Estate house and unloaded for display and for traditional prayers of thanks for the days harvest.
I was lucky to get this large tusker boar in the front centre and some fine stags.
The Monteria is both a unique and very enjoyable hunt, it is very sociable, this past weekend our team comprised of hunters from USA, Russia, France, England, South Africa, Spain and the Middle East. The great thing about hunting is you can mix all these nationalities and everyone normally gets on well, they are all hunters and thus have something in common. New friends are always made.
The adrenalin runs fast as you wait on your stand on high alert, any moment a magnificent trophy may coming running past, a large stag or a huge boar. I know that as soon as you sit and relax you miss the opportunity, I have done it many times. Much of the shooting is 'on the run' so a moving target so practise is essential to enjoying your day. During the day you will be accompanied by a local 'Secretario' who will help you identify the best game and find it with you after the drive. Insist like I do on an English speaking one and it makes the day much more enjoyable, if you manage to get an avid hunter also who can spot the better game on the run that helps enormously also.
If you would like to try Monteria I have been looked after by Diego Satrustegui of Espacaza for many years and can highly recommend his operation for this sport and any other hunting in Spain.
Neill Clark on January 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm
What type of rifle were you shooting with please Simon?
Simon Clode on January 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm
I was shooting with a .270 which I think was too small a calibre for this. I borrowed a rifle as I am on the way to Dallas for the Safari Club Show. I think that a .300 in either Win, H&H or Weatherby is good and the European equivalent 9.3 x 74 or 62 or something like that.
If you meant type not size I was using a kindly loaned Remington bolt action on this occasion! We have to test the opposition is my theory or excuse rather! The shots are too long for a double on this type of hunt.
Neill Clark on January 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Thanks for replying so quickly. Driven game to rifles seems so different to what we do here for deer, but I imagine it's extremely exciting, I sometimes feel cold blooded with a deer in the crosshairs, but i have never felt that with driven pheasants, it's too instinctive for emotion.
Hope Dallas is a success.
Gary Duffey on January 12, 2015 at 9:01 pm
Excellent photos Simon, particularly the monochrome. Experiencing 'Monteria' is on my list of things to do and certainly looks like a great experience. Congrats on the nice trophies, it appears you did your part.
paul j antonino on January 13, 2015 at 1:54 am
what,,a remington omg are you seriuos !!!! living up to the old saying "THE COBBLERS CHILDREN (REALLY) WENT UNSHOD " ....paul
Sara on January 13, 2015 at 5:52 am
Would you please mention the name of the photographer?
Simon Clode on January 13, 2015 at 9:03 am
I take the photographs generally.
paul j. antonino on January 14, 2015 at 2:04 am
and it is a leica S2 ......unless he used a cheap throw away to compliment that remington.!!! jaja...paul
Simon Clode on January 14, 2015 at 1:05 pm
The Leica S2 is too big for the field so I do use a cheap throwaway, the Leica M240!
paul j. antonino on January 14, 2015 at 7:58 pm
i guess thats as good of a comeback as they get !.....paul
Vance Daigle on January 13, 2015 at 2:17 pm
Remington???????? I went hunting with a Remington once then woke up, in a cold sweat...Thank Goodness!!!!!!... Competition!!!? Really!!! Great trophy Sir!! Good to see you get down on a level with us common folks occasionally when hunting. Although I don't have a server at my hunting camp. All in good fun Sir
Neill Clark on January 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm
Oops, looks like I might have damaged your reputation by asking what you were shooting! Hope you don't take it personally.
Simon Clode on January 14, 2015 at 1:03 pm
I think that next time I am asked, I may have to be dishonest!! Many of you will know that travel with a firearm is not easy and seems to get harder every year. Perhaps in order to save face I will have to deposit a WR in each European country I hunt!
Neill Clark on January 14, 2015 at 7:17 pm
Sounds like a plan!