European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 847–855 | Cite as

Hunting management in relation to profitability aims: red-legged partridge hunting in central Spain

  • Beatriz Arroyo
  • Miguel Delibes-Mateos
  • Silvia Díaz-Fernández
  • Javier Viñuela
Original Paper


Game management is widely implemented in Spain, affecting more than 70 % of land cover. Management intensity may be linked to the financial aims of hunting estates, but no study of these aspects has been developed in Spain, where commercial hunting is common. Through interviews with game managers and field surveys, we quantified physical and economic traits, management techniques, and hunting methods in a sample of 59 small-game hunting estates located in south-central Spain (where red-legged partridge hunting has the highest socioeconomic importance in the country). We compared non-commercial estates (aimed for leisure, managed mainly by local hunting societies) and commercial estates (aimed at financial benefit); among the latter, we also assessed “intensive” estates (a special category of commercial estates licensed to release farm-reared partridges without temporal or numerical limits throughout the hunting season). Commercial estates had more intensive management, including more and larger partridge releases, higher density of supplementary feeders and more intensive predator control. Thus, any positive or negative effects on biodiversity of these management techniques would be higher in commercial than in non-commercial estates. Commercial estates also retained more natural vegetation, which may help to enhance the landscape and biodiversity value of farmland in central Spain. On the other hand, differences in management and hunting styles were most marked between intensive and other type of estates (both commercial and non-commercial); this indicates that intensive estates are qualitatively different from other small-game estates, both ecologically (hunting based on releases and driven shooting) and economically (higher inputs and outputs). It would be desirable to find ways to quantify the environmental or social costs and benefits of different management techniques, and integrate them in the economics of hunting estates.


Alectoris rufa Farm-reared partridge releases Hunting pressure Predator control Game commercialization 



This work was supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development through project HUNT (212160, FP7-ENV-2007-1), Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (CGL2008-04282/BOS) and the Consejería de Agricultura of Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha (JCCM). Additionally, this paper uses partial data from a project funded by the Fundación Fauna y Flora. S. Diaz-Fernandez had a predoctoral grant jointly financed by the European Social Fund and by JCCM, in the framework of the Operational Programme PRINCET 2005-2010. M. Delibes-Mateos is currently holding a Juan de la Cierva research contract awarded by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and the European Social Fund. We thank all game managers for their collaboration, and ADEMAC and the Asociación de cotos de caza menor Sierra de Alcaraz-Campo de Montiel for facilitating this collaboration with game managers. We thank Steve Redpath, Mick Marquiss, Justin Irvine, and two anonymous referees for useful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Arroyo
    • 1
  • Miguel Delibes-Mateos
    • 1
  • Silvia Díaz-Fernández
    • 1
  • Javier Viñuela
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC) (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM)Ciudad RealSpain

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