Within the European shooting world, Frontiers has noticed an increase in clients looking for shooting as individual guns or smaller groups—not always as a full team. However, it poses the question of the best way to get a harmonious group and good value. Frontiers’ own Loren Booker has the solution.
Of course there is the odd exception, but shooting with people you have not met is not so daunting from a social and safety point of view. What's most worrisome is entering into a shoot and sharing the cost of an agreed bag and wondering if you might end up paying for someone else to shoot the bag.
UK estates will always try and spread the birds across the line; however, sometimes weather or other circumstances make it impossible, and some numbers drawn in the morning will inevitably be better than others across a day. It is at this moment that the UK market could look to the continent and to the Spanish. Of course they offer the option of a bag for a team of guns, but the appealing option for many is the model of individual guns choosing the number of birds that they would like to shoot and paying for exactly that, unless they shoot over.
In one Spanish line alone, there could be a gun shooting 60 birds a day and a gun shooting 60 birds a drive. Sure, there is a minimum amount of birds to be covered in one day to justify the day being operated, but over a line of nine guns, this is easily managed. The Spanish way helps manage and match expectations of the guns, taking into accountability experience and budget. Some guns might be looking for numbers; some for high, challenging birds and some for a combination of both. Remember, Spanish partridge shooting in its purest form is a test of accuracy at speed.
A trusted friend of Frontiers and well-known shooting estate, Ventosilla, has been encouraging and practicing this option for many moons and is one of the famous shoots in Spain. It has a reputation that is rightly earned. Home to the first-ever driven partridge shoot in Spain, held in 1884, it does not get more traditional than this. Frontiers and Ventosilla have enjoyed an excellent relationship for many years, and we always receive fantastic feedback from guests. All boxes get ticked—the amazing food, fine wine, beautiful bedrooms and impeccable service—but of equal mention is how they prefer individual costing over the system used in the UK. They are never paying for someone else’s birds nor do they ever have to worry about it. It makes for complete harmony among the guns.
A client who recently returned from historic Ventosilla said: “I have shot with parties who want 600 birds per day and others who want 1500 birds per day. However, I have always managed to shoot exactly what I want. In other words, if I decided I would like to shoot 100 birds during a 600-bird day, the estate always makes sure it happens.”
Another plus of a single gun not to forget is also one of the main joys of shooting: the comradery of a line of guns and meeting people. Frontiers is noticing an increase in single guns traveling to Spain to mix in with an unknown group that often return as lifelong friends and rebook as a group for the following year but still with personal bags. It can be tricky to raise a line of guns, and people often don’t come because they cannot raise a full party. In Spain, that is certainly no barrier to coming to enjoy the partridge shooting.
Driven partridge shoots at Ventosilla begin in October and continue through to the end of February. Frontiers can organize days for teams, individual guns, or small parties. Daily bags start from 500 birds for the line. For further information on Ventosilla and other partridge shooting in Spain, contact Loren Booker or Mike Fitzgerald.