14 Jul Spanish Hunting Dogs in the Driven Hunt Monteria
Spanish hunting dogs are an indispensable support for a successful Driven Hunt Monteria
In the Spanish Monteria it is normal to see a big number of hound dogs participating in different teams.
The teams who are coming from the Autonomies of Castilla La Mancha and Andalucia are named REHALA, and the teams who are coming from Extremadura are named RECOVA .
Both names have the same signification, that means more or less “ Monteria’s Hound Team ”
The main part of the hunters who come to enjoy a Monteria for the first time, are quite surprised about the huge number of dogs used on this “crazy hunting”.
Obviously, there are some important reasons why do we use so many hunting dogs in Spain for this traditional hunt.
In the areas where the Monterias are taking place, the small forest is very dense and thorny. The animals have a perfect defense within this type of forest and consequently, the only way to get them out of this natural protection is by using a large number of Spanish Hunting Dogs.
In addition, when a team of dogs detect a single animal or a flock, the dogs try to catch the animals, producing a persecution race that is usually long, in such a way that a team in pursuit moves quickly towards the areas where the animals try to find a new and safe refuge.
During the race many other animals are alerted by barks, the Dog Keepers who are cheering and the movement that occurs within the hunting ground and they decidedly start running. Consequently, the only way to move to the line of hunters a large number of animals hidden in their forest shelters, or that are running in all direction is using a good number of dogs. An important thing to understand is that a Driven Hunt Monteria takes place in the hunting ground only one single day during the season. This is completely different as how it is organized in Driven hunt in Central Europe, where a hunting ground is hunted several times per season, in Spain a hunting ground can be hunted only and exclusively for 1 single day per season, which is why, each time the hounds are released in a hunting ground that is done with the intention of obtaining the maximum performance in terms of results, which encourages the hunters even more “if possible” to make the maximum effort of hunt at all times. That is why also the number of dogs used is quite high compared to other modalities of driven hunt that happens in the rest of Europe.
The Spanish hunting dogs and specially the Spanish Hounds are dogs with some special skills in comparison with the main part of hounds all around Europe.
In fact, a Good Team of hunting dogs named “Rehala” needs to include several dogs with different breed, and each one with different skills. From an endurance point of view, these dogs must be able to withstand high temperatures for a long time. It is not easy to find water halls or rivers to hydrate on the main part of the grounds for a Monteria.Normally the hunting grounds for a Monteria are hilly areas, the land is plenty of really sharp stones and the hunting ground compared with the European Central Forest, is really huge, and can takes between 400 hectares to 700, sometimes even more. The Monteria is a driven hunt with ONLY a single driven per day, as mentioned earlier, so the hunting dogs have to run and persecute the game during 4 hours nonstop! So, you can imagine what can be the effort of these extraordinary and elementary subordinates!!??
The different skills and role of each Spanish hunting dog breed
Inside the Team, some of the dogs are focusing on the emanations coming from the game, in order to immediately chase them in a crazy race.
The faster runners inside the team, normally are the breed more endurance to do that, we are speaking about the Spanish hunting dog “Podenco”, that is the main breed of hounds used in Spain for a Monteria. Some illustrations center the origin of this type of hunting dogs as of very old, coming from ancient Egypt, and introduced in the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians. There are a nice number of differences inside the “Podenco’s Family” with almost 7 or 8 different types of genetics, morphologies and obviously different skills.
However, in the main part of the “Rehala” / “Recova” we can find a large number of crossed dogs. Sometimes these are even more effective than their parents due to the crossed line of blood and abilities of different types of dogs, making them as “all round” Montería Hounds. Probably that is “not quite elegant or esthetic” but it is still very effective.
Other dogs will try to cut the running of the game in order to catch it. This task is normally taken by the biggest dogs of the team, the Big Podenco or the Spanish Alano, sometimes even Dogo crossed with other breeds.
The pure breeds of “prey dogs” as the Argentine Dogo, Prey Canary dog or the Mallorquin Dogo have their place also on a Rehala due to the necessity to help another dogs on the process of ” to catch” and to stop a dangerous keiler or a dangerous wounded Stag . These “prey dogs” were on the past “the Heroes of the Monteria” and thanks to their task gave to the “Monteros and Dog Keepers” the opportunity to catch the game to kill and finish it immediately with “white weapons” as long knives (like the traditional Monteria’s knive) or with long spears. That happened when the fire arms didn’t exist, long time ago. However the Dog Keepers are still using now one day this “Monteria long Knives” in order to preserve the integrity of their dogs, especially when these one, catch a keiler.
The Dog Keepers always carry a first aid kit to help the dogs with cuts and wounds on the skin and try to reintegrate them in the Rehala whenever possible. In any case, transporting them to the back by one or even several dogs at the same time is not the best option.
The activity is frantic and there is not much time even for the injured, except in circumstances of extreme risk to the integrity of the dogs.
Some “small podencos” (it can be also other breeds, as fox terriers or other kind of terriers or small hounds) normally try to take the «emanation tracks” of the game that escape of the running. These small dogs are very sensitive and alert the hunter with a continuous barking. Some of them arrive to be as good ones that use different types of barking in function of the type of game they persecute.
The big Red Stag and the old wild boars do not like to run immediately when “The Release” named in Spain “La Suelta”, the start of the Monteria. They prefer to be quiet on the deep forest and to escape in stealth way, at the end of the driven HUNT, when the main part of the Rehala is completely tired or close to being collected on their trailer.
Those types of dogs are my favorite because they use to offer to me the best experiences on the driven hunts ever, with great hunting feelings and producing me high rise of adrenaline.
One thing that is Mandatory in a Monteria every time and every time:
NEVER shot in a point if you don´t identify at 100% the game you are shooting, and NEVER shot a target if it is close to a dog.
It doesn’t matter if the game is running or stopping, the possibilities to wound or to kill a dog are high if you don’t focus ONLY on really clean shots.
So, from now, when in a Monteria you see a close number of 350 to 500 hounds, don’t be afraid or surprised about it!!!
Be sure that this Spanish Hunting Dogs are an essential support for you. Respect them! Enjoy their work! For sure these dogs can offer you a Great Experience and a fantastic hunting day.
Enjoy the Monteria not only as a shooting experience, but also by “the feeling of the hunting running on your blood”.
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We wish you Good Hunt!