In February of this year I was lucky enough to spend two days with a group at the stunning La Nava estate in the famous shooting region of La Mancha in Spain. Over the years Ian and I have experienced and visited a number of shoots in Spain, from smaller days to large days throughout the heartland of Spain where the shooting is at its very best.
First and foremost Spain will always be somewhere special to shoot, not only because of the quality of shooting on offer which is spectacular, but also the relaxed feel throughout the day; the extended daylight hours and the hospitality which is simply better than anywhere else.
The price of shooting in Spain to many seems higher than expected, especially those who haven’t yet experienced it and come to us looking to find out more. The general rule of thumb with Spain is that we work on an all-inclusive price per bird which means meet and greet; gun assistance, transport, accommodation, hospitality, cartridges etc. The prices per bird can be anything from €45 to €65. There are plenty of £40 pheasants around these days, without the VAT, the cartridges, petrol, overnight expenses etc. this then makes the bird price pretty even.
Spain is geared to count birds per gun and believe it or not, such a system really does work and is fairer for all, it means those concerned about such matters are far more willing to sign up in the knowledge that they are not potentially signing up to pay for someone else’s shooting.
Most of the days at La Nava are based on two days back-to-back and generally most of our travelling teams visit all our Spanish shoots on this basis. On my visit to La Nava I was shooting the day prior at Ventosilla, so I took the 2 hour journey south by car, however most teams visit the estate by plane and the estates runway is just minutes from the lodge. The runway is continually being expanded and can now cope with nearly all sizes of private jets.
After visiting nearly a dozen shoots in Spain over the last five years, La Nava was above and beyond anything I have ever experienced. The shooting was mind-blowing both in terms of quality and quantity; the staff were charming, the food was outstanding - there really was nothing more one could want for. At the end of each day, boots were cleaned by the house staff, guns cleaned by the loaders; it was a seamless operation in every way.
It really was the ultimate Spanish experience.