Why You Should Organise A Shooting Trip To Spain
When people start shooting, they normally have a progressive learning curve where they start shooting amongst family and friends, and with time, if they really like clay shooting or hunting then they start traveling to discover other clay and hunting clubs around the world.
Due to the fast and organic growth I have had on instagram, in the lapse of 3 years, I have travelled more than many of my friends at shooting clubs to do collaborations with clubs all over Europe. I have visited hunting estates, castles, clay shooting clubs and I have been to some of the coolest places one can think of, so my opinion is based on facts after visiting some of the best shooting places in Europe.
I have put together a list of reasons why you should plan a trip to shoot in Spain this year before it is too late and new regulations & laws come into effect, and I will explain them below:
I lived in Sweden for 9 years, and I have also lived in London and Singapore, I am Spanish and I do have some perspective when it comes to telling you where you can shoot avoiding weather inclemencies. Sweden is beautiful, the weather is great during summer and it is great to plan a clay shooting trip, but if you want to play safe, you have higher possibilities of ruining the trip due to strong winds or rain in Sweden and the UK.
If you want to play safe, Spain is known for its good weather all year round compared to other countries in Europe. I wouldn't recommend you to come to Seville or Madrid in August because the temperatures are quite high, but if you are planning on bringing your friends over for a shooting weekend some time between September and June, Spain is the place to be. You can choose to go to warmer places where you have a great variety of clubs like in Valencia, Euskadi and of course Madrid, where you can also go skiing during winter, just 30 mins away from the Royal Shooting Club, or if you prefer to shoot at the beach, there are great clubs in Mallorca where you can also do that all year round.
LIVE PIGEON SHOOTING & OTHER SHOOTING MODALITIES
I must admit that learning to shoot in Sweden, where pigeon shooting was considered a brutality, I was never attracted to it, but coming to Spain and trying it a few times, has really changed my thoughts about it.
Clay pigeon shooting derived from live pigeon shooting, and I often wondered what it was like to shoot in the good old days. Pigeons were switched for glass balls, then clay discs and now there are only a few places where you can try live pigeon shooting like it was before. Today we also have helice shooting, which is considered to be the closest thing to live pigeon shooting, but for those who really want to get a sense of what it was like to shoot ages ago, then Madrid is the place to go.
Thanks to the efforts made by the director of the Royal Shooting Club in Madrid, the capital of Spain is considered by many, the Mecca of pigeon shooting. Portugal and Spain were the only countries in Europe where you could compete in pigeon shooting, and since its ban, 2 years ago, Portugal is no longer an option, leaving Spain as the only country in Europe where you can still go live pigeon shooting in a club. Not only that, but you can also find the biggest and best known pigeon competition in the world being organised here, called The Kings Cup, attracting around 1,000 shooters every year and where the first prize can help you buy your first home or a luxury car.
The president of Spain wants to ban this so if you have never tried live pigeon shooting at a club, I urge you to book your trip to Madrid fast, before they ban it next year– at least you'll have the possibility of telling your grand children that you did it before it was banned globally.
After talking about pigeon shooting, for those who are a bit reluctant to try live pigeon shooting, you can still come and watch and book a session of helice, skeet, kompak or any other clay shooting modality, as clubs offer a great variety of clay shooting, and combine it with many other activities like the Swimming pool, a fantastic restaurant and being 5 minutes away from the city, you can also plan other activities to dive into the Spanish culture after shooting, at of course, cheap spanish prices.
THE LONGEST HUNTING SEASON IN EUROPE
We talked about the weather before, which leads me to explaining why so many clubs and hunting estates are open all year round. the fact that the hunting season here starts in September and in some places last until late April, means that they can offer cheaper prices as they can accommodate more groups throughout the season. If you have never been partridge shooting in September or April, Salamanca for example is a great place to visit, as the weather there is great during those months.
For those looking to shoot at a Spanish clay shooting club instead, bear in mind that the weather allows you to shoot with less layers than you would when it is pouring in the UK or in Sweden. I have shot in a t-shirt and short sleeves during February in Madrid, to give you an idea.
Jamón, Cerveza, Vino, Croquetas, Cocido, Gazpachol... those are words many of you are already familiar with and I believe need no introduction, but if you are a wine and food lover, then coming to Spain will ensure you can combine your shooting with a great variety of food menus you'll never forget.
When I have been partridge shooting in Spain in October, one of the best memories I have of it, was when we had our elevensies at the top of a mountain where cava, jamón and croquetas were the least of spanish delicacies we had. Trust me, a cold glass of champagne with croquetas under the Spanish sun in January can be G L O R I O U S.
For those looking to go clay shooting, in the club where I shoot at in Madrid, the food is so good, that some times I take my work colleagues for lunch despite the fact that they don't shoot. Because the food is simply fantastic.
THE EXOTIC SPANISH CULTURAL OFFER
A shooting trip, we all must admit, is not just about shooting. It is about the company and how you spend the time when you are not shooting.
Spain is one of the countries in Europe with some of Europe's oldest traditions, and I am not just talking about hunting– Monterías, for instance, are the oldest hunting traditional hunts in the world, and they way people hunt in a montería is exactly the same as it was in the middle ages, as it hasn't changed a bit.
Bull fighting, Flamenco, the famous Semana Santa (Holy Week), San Fermín (where bulls run across the streets of Pamplona and people chase them) or Las Fallas in Valencia (where people burn down colosal wooden figures) can really be the icing on the cake of your trip, and mix it with relaxing at a great Spa or shopping spree– think of it, if you want to bring someone who is not interested in shooting, they will have a great offer to choose from while you shoot.
My favourite part. After paying extremely high taxes in Sweden, or expensive shooting trips across Europe, coming to Spain and pay 300-500 Euros for a simulated game where food, accommodation and transportation is all included, is like music to my credit card. I know for a trip like that could easily cost me 1,000 + Euros in Sweden or the UK.
And it is not just a matter of price, it is a matter of the service and quality of a shoot. The fact that the price is cheaper doesn't mean it will be bad. The Spanish culture and mentality really cares about the service, so in order to make people come back, the Spanish have really mastered the service they offer to people who come to Spain and shoot, and for that price you get the same service you'd get in the best shooting clubs in the UK.
To sum things up, shooting in Spain is very different to shooting in the UK, and if you are looking for the best and most technical targets in the world, really difficult ones, then my recommendation would be for you to go to the UK. However, if you are looking for a totally different experience, a fun yet challenging shooting trip with the best price and good weather, then come to Spain.
Get in contact with me if you'd like me to help you organise your next trip to Spain HERE
Thanks for reading! Andrea :)