Spanish Monteria – Classic and traditional hunting method
The “Montería” is the most classic and traditional hunting method of Spain.
An amazing experience that allows the hunter to live incredible feelings in a friendly ambiance surrounded by the most typical Spanish landscape and its delicious gastronomy & wine.
An experience to live at least once in your hunting life!.
What is Spanish Monteria with Iberhunting?
The Iberian Mediterranean forests, epitomized by the Sierra Morena, have been home to magnificent game populations since time immemorial. Many centuries later they are still hunted using the most traditional collective form: LA MONTERÍA.
It is one of the most thrilling forms, where personal contact and camaraderie become one with the wilderness, nature in its most primitive sense, and a passion for hunting, through ancestral rituals that have changed little over the centuries.
A hearty breakfast of “migas y huevos fritos”, the meeting of old friends and an exciting drawing of the posts prepare the hunter, accompanied by the constant barking of his equally eager dogs in their crates. With the hunter at his post, the dawn’s mist begins to fade, revealing the colors of the Mediterranean mountains in all their splendor.
Tensions run high as the conch shells sound, guiding the “rehalas” [hunting dogs] to the approaching game. The lonehunter watches from his post as the game comes within reach, allowing him to pick off his specimen knowing that the dogs will track it down. Back at the “junta de carnes” [gathering of the kill], the hunters enjoy a delicious meal and begin what is for many the highlight of the “montería”: relating personal experiences, listening to others, and seeing the results of an unforgettable day, one that shall remain engraved in their memories.
Monteria throughout history
Monteria is a form of big game hunting whose origins are unknown. Hunting dogs play a very special role in this form of hunting and it would be impossible without them.
The first comprehensive accounts of monteria date back to the late Middle Ages, when various European royal and noble houses in Portugal, Castile, France, Germany, etc…commissioned the drafting of Hunting Rules, a favorite activity of the ruling class at the time, many of whom we know of today.
Beginning in the Renaissance and encouraged by the proliferation of firearms in the XVII and XVIII Centuries, medieval monteria developed independently in different territories and countries, and today these traditions differ substantially from one another. These include the north of Spain, the French Venerie, fox hunting in the United Kingdom and the form monteria known today as “a la española,” which is practiced in the central and southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula.
In “a la española” monteria, generally wildboar and deer are hunted through other species such as fallow deer and mouflon. On a mound or brush of several hundred hectares, a series of “armadas” or lines of hunting posts are formed, surrounding and covering the terrain. The armadas have different names depending on their specific location in the brush (“cuerda” the highest; “sopié” the lowest; and “traviesa” who traverses the terrain and is generally positioned in the middle of the brush).
Led by their respective dog handler, the “rehalas” are released, moving in from one or more ends of the brush. They beat the brush in different directions so that the fleeing game attempt to break through the hunting lines (known in the South as “monteros“) or are spotted by them. Although this would appear to be a very planned action, the truth is that monteria is a form of hunting that requires a high level of observation, attention, silence and accuracy (with moving targets) by the hunter and gives the wildboar and deer a real chance of escape.
Monteria is a collective form of hunting that involves a number of different roles without whom the proper development and success of the brush beating is impossible.
- “LA REHALA” (The dogs)
Each rehala has between 10 and 12 pairs of dogs and is driven by a dog handler known as the “perrero” or “podenquero“. Most rehalas that participate in monteria “a la española” are comprised of hounds, though boar hunters often prefer mixed-breed mastiffs, catch dogs, hounds, and griffons, among others. They are the real stars of the monteria.
- “EL MONTERO” (The hunter)
The “montero” is the person in charge of completing the work begun by the rehalas whose success or failure defines the most thrilling moment of the monteria: the “lance” or shot. The “montero” is instrumental in the development of the monteria because ultimately the success and final outcome of the day’s hunt depends upon his strong performance and accuracy. The “montero” should be someone who respects the hunt and the environmental, a defender of good practices and traditions who follows the written and unwritten ethical rules of the hunt. The best “montero” is not he who obtains the most trophies, but rather he who hunts the best. The security of the post, the chivalry on the mountain and the companionship during the bush beating are some of the traits that make a good “montero”.
- LA PROPIEDAD, LA GUARDERIA AND LOS GESTORES CINEGÉTICOS.
The property care and hunting management of these individuals permits an impressive variety of game to inhabit the sierras of Spain, making it one of the preferred destinations for hunters around the world.
- “EL MAESTRO DE SIERRAS”
The “Maestro de Sierras” is responsible for directing and coordinating everything involving and happening in the monteria. His participation is crucial to the monteria. The success or failure of the brush beating depends on good organization. He must have firsthand knowledge of the hunting terrain and decide with the rangers the best way to place the right number of posts to close off the brush securely. and assemble the necessary number of rehalas for an efficient hunt.
LOS POSTORES, SECRETARIOS AND GUÍAS
- The “postores” are in charge of placing and removing the “monteros” from their positions and for targeting the game that they have killed in order to organize the collection with the “arrieros” [mulateers]..
- The “secretarios” accompany the hunters to their post and their mission is to control the movement of the game by the post, everything carried out by the “montero”, targeting any shot, fallen, injured and beaten game.
- The “guias” are in charge of placing the rehalas on the field, controlling the release and the progress of the hunt so that the brush beating is performed under the agreed upon conditions and the course of the dogs and the “rehalas” on the brush is kept organized.
“LOS ARRIEROS” OR “CARGADORES” (Carriers)
Their work is just as important as the rest of those involved in the event. They are in charge of gathering the fallen game and loading them onto the vehicles to be taken to the “junta” (meeting point) as quickly as possible.
COCINEROS, CAMAREROS, CARNICEROS, TAXIDERMISTAS (Cooks, Waiters, Butchers, Taxidermist)
As is the case with the rest of the personnel involved in the above-mentioned monteria, the work of these last individuals also contributes to the smooth development of the monteria. It is an unwritten law to recognize their contribution in making our fine form of big game hunting a unique and unparalleled form.
References of our hunters that enjoyed the Spanish Monteria
I will state that we really enjoyed the time we spent in Spain for the Monteria, this is something I will recommend others and I would like to experience again.
You need to check this out, it is such a unique experience, as much a social gathering as it is a hunt. Similar to and old English gentleman’s hunt but for big game; wild boar, red stag and female deer.
And it is actually a trip that you could even take your non-hunting significant other along and they would be quite content with the spa facilities and the amazing scenery. There were lady hunters also! Carla was there from Belgium with her brother and several other hunting companions, her husband doesn’t. They all travel together frequently to hunt all over Europe and are looking forward to a trip to the USA in the future with the new partnership that we have established between Antonio PH @ Iberhunting & JourneyHunts.com with Matthew Guedes. All great people and hopefully we created some continuing new friendships! Someone also mentioned that Matt and I might be the first American hunters to participate in this?!?
The Monteria is quite the event, with Antonio and his wife Mercedes coordinating all aspects from the moment you land in Madrid. Transportation is perfectly orchestrated, from the airport to the wonderful accommodations, and extravagant evening meals, and then daily to and from the various hunting locations. You can’t ask for any better outfitting, along with great hunting! It is much different than what Americans are used too, and I would have been served with a different scope setup. But still, even with my marginal shooting abilities, I was able to harvest 5 nice stags (and missed 3 bigger) 3 hogs and 2 does, and I did pass on many and had shots that weren’t able to be taken, plus what I missed!?! The first day even offered additional reasonably priced opportunities for mouflon, fallow, foxes and additional stags or does if you wanted, as the hunt also serves to maintain carrying capacity of the land.
The hunt itself is actually government controlled, over seen by game wardens. It takes place on national parks that encompass old historic hacienda ruins. These served as the back drop to the exquisitely catered post-hunt outdoor celebration of food, wine and comradery. The whole thing is almost like a military operation, but still very laid back and sociable. Each hunter draws for a posting, and is then assigned a vehicle to take you out. You are paired with a “guide” called a secretario, who tracks the details of the hunt, game seen and shot. They record downed animal locations or direction of travel after hit. This info is essential to the post hunt recovery which is accomplished by an “army” of dogs and handlers along with “gauchos” on horses and mules. It is so efficient that most of the animals are back at camp before we even were! In a previous post, actually from the first day, you can see there is a commercial meat purveyor there that handles all the meat, which then goes to market for sale to the general public. A taxidermist is also available to coordinate the trophy handling as requested by each individual, along with processing the necessary paper work needed to export the mounts to the various countries of everyone’s origin!
I can’t say enough about Antonio PH and Mercedes and their continual, dedicated attempts to perfect every moment of your stay! Even down to him personally guiding me to a great Ibex. Check out my other shared post on that part of my adventures to Spain with Matt guedes of journey hunt thru our newest international hunting partner Iberhunting. Go there!!!
Dear Antonio Teruel,
First of all I want to thank you for a very exciting Monteria on 26 – 27 January. I enjoyed it very much; the weather was fantastic, the area was very impressing, the red stags were numerous, the (Danish) group was friendly and relaxing, and your organization of the Monteria with all the people involved was amazing.
Cazadores! Thank you very much for a fantastic hunt in Spain ! The Monteria has been the absolute highlight of my hunting so far – and I’am really looking forward to next year ! Weidmannsheil !
Runar & Jan
We had such an amazing weekend in Spain and once again, thank you so very much for the great monteria hunt, we will definitely revisit.
All the best.
Thanks for some nice days in Spain. It was perfect organisation, nice hunt and nice people.
Sincerely, Bente & Rolf
Dear Mercedes and Antonio,
Thank you for three wonderful days, with a great Monteria and plenty of wild game. It was a great arrangement and everything worked perfectly. Especially the hunt was very well organized, and we received a good briefing about the hunt and the area.
For me it was also a very good experience because I had the opportunity to bring my wife with me on the hunt. It’s nice to have someone to share this great experience with, when we get home. The only problem is that she wants to bring her own rifle and hunt the next time. I also really appreciate that you managed to get me some cartridges for the second day of the Monteria, because I had used all my shots the first day, due to the large amount of game.
Thank you very much we hope to see you soon.
Dear Mercedes and Antonio,
Many thanks for your engagement and the good organisation! I had a wonderful time at my first Monteria and finally got back home safely. Also the weapon, the luggage and the trophies arrived safely.
Many thanks again and good luck for the next projects (hunts)!. Best wishes.
Annette & Claus
About the monteria: i decided this year to go to iberhuntings monteria 1-4 feb. 2013. We arrived in madrid airport and was collected by mercedes. Went to our hotel which was super super good. Went next day to the 1day of hunting where we could shoot 4 redstags and 4 females and unlimited wildboars. I got 4 stags and 3 females. A super area and day. Next day i was unlucky And did not shoot anything. But all in all a very good monteria. Good orginised by iberhunting.
On a scale from 0 to 5 it gets 4. Also very good to bring my wife who is not hunting with me.
She was happy joining me. Thanks to all in iberhunting special to Antonio and Mercedes for their great work to make this a very good experience. We look forward to go there again.
I have just attended my very first Monteria, which was arranged by Iberhunting. It was a spectacular experience, the most action loaded hunt you can imagine. Everything was very well organized and there was plenty of wild game. I must try this again!