RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE DRIVEN SHOOTS: HOW IT STARTED IN SPAIN PARTE 1
Although it is difficult to find exact data, the first partridge driven shoot in Spain glances date back to the late nineteenth century.
They were only organized in large private properties owned by the Spanish aristocracy in a very unique and traditional way that nowadays can only be found in very few places of Spain.
The golden age of red legged partridge driven shoots coincided with the reign of Alfonso XIII, the Spanish monarch was deeply passionate about this shooting modality, and he was a great shooter. In the year 1906 His Majesty was hunting at Windsor when he first discovered this way of hunting partridges, he enjoyed the shoot so much that he decided to bring with him a specialist from United Kingdom to develop these driven shoots in Spain.
At this moment, the largest and best-known Spanish properties started learning this technique, imported from UK by His Majesty Alfonso XIII, and start organizing this driven shoots. “La Encomienda de Mudela” located at Campo de Calatrava, in Ciudad real, becomes the red legged partridge shoot´s flagship in Spain, within it´s 17.300 hectares. In the year 1920, the records show a total bag of 1.858 partridges, 606 rabbits, 247 hares and 18 pheasant, making a total of 2729 pieces collected. Other properties along Spain were also able to organize days of more than 1.000 red legged partridges: “Lachar” and “Trasmulas” in Granada, or “Ventosilla”, “Castañar” and “Malpica” in Toledo. “Los Llanos”, in Albacete is at the moment one of the most famous driven shoots in Spain for partridges. His owner, El Marqués de Larios, was recognized throughout Spain for the fantastic shoots celebrated in his property. It is possible to say that the decade of 1920´s was crucial for the development of the red legged driven partridge, and every owner wanted to learn this technique and apply it to their properties.
His Majesty the King Alfonso XIII was not only responsible of importing to Spain this shooting modality, but also the best shooter of his time thanks to his precision and speed. At this moment, Don Carlos Mitjans, better known as Conde de Teba, born in 1905, was fifteen years old, but everyone already knew that he would be a future legend of shooting.
The Spanish Civil war forced the hunting and shooting activity to stop. But the seed was already planted, and as soon as the Spanish situation improved, the red legged partridge driven shoots started again in Spain, and a great future was waiting for it.