Sustainable Hunting

Sustainable hunting could be defined as the continued use over time of game species as a renewable natural resource, in a way that does not imply their deterioration or the environment that supports them. If we look at the definition made by the Council of Europe, through the Berne Convention, in the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity, sustainable hunting is understood as: "the use of wild game species and their habitats in a way that is already a pace that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity or hinder its restoration.

Such use maintains the potential of biological diversity to meet the needs and aspirations of those of present and future generations, as well as the maintenance of hunting as a socially, economically and culturally accepted activity (based on the definition of "use sustainable” in article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)). When hunting is carried out in a sustainable way, it can contribute positively to the conservation of wild populations and their habitats, and also benefit society”.

However, sustainable hunting is more than that. There is a further degree of deepening that must be taken into account to fully understand the concept of sustainability in hunting. It is true that the above, hunting only a part of the population leaving intact its ability to perpetuate itself indefinitely over time, is what is normally understood as sustainability in hunting. This is essential and forms the basis of sustainable hunting: hunted populations must remain viable over time. But that's not all.

There must also be other parameters that guarantee that the maintenance of populations over time provides healthy, wild, viable populations as such by themselves; at the same time that their habitats are also preserved in a state of satisfying for themselves all their needs. And these parameters include that the population remain pure (genetic), be wild (not livestock), keep its wild character intact for survival and defense (not artificially fed, intensively or artificially managed) and its population is subject to the carrying capacity of the medium (it can be an ordered carrying capacity: naturally increased, without intensifying or artificializing the population or its environment).

All this encompassed in the conservation of biological diversity as a whole (species, ecosystems and genes) that must also be conserved globally (“the use of wild game species and their habitats in a way and at a rate that does not lead to decline long-term biological diversity or hinder its restoration”). Hunting is a renewable natural resource. Hunting species, as a renewable natural resource, are susceptible to exploitation. Hunting, as an activity, is subject to extensive regulation for its orderly and sustainable use.

Complete, integral sustainability in hunting therefore has two mandatory conditions: the non-overexploitation of the resource (its maintenance over time) and the non-artificialization of the resource (its maintenance over time naturally, without negatively altering its natural parameters or those of its habitats).

Integral sustainability in hunting is achieved when these two conditions are met:
• The hunting stocks remain viable for a sustainable use over time (without overexploitation).
• Game stocks are kept naturally over time (without artificialization).


Review of the Villuercas of the "Libro de la montería del rey Don Alfonso XI"

“The Valle de la Vieja is a good bear mount in Winter”. I am not saying it, but it was written by King Alfonso XI in his book 'La Montería' in 1345. So, almost 700 years ago, in this valley, King Alfonso Eleven said “la primera vez que corrimos este monte, fallamos ni diez osos, et soltamos a los seis et murieron los cuatro”. In the Libro de la Montería, written a few years after the construction of the Monastery, there are numerous allusions to our main historical roads and recently repopulated places:

1. 1. The road from Talavera to Guadalupe: It is the old cattle road that crosses the Tajo through the ford of Azután, the Sierra de Altamira, and through the Guadarranque valley, and through the Strait of Peña Amarilla, it reaches Alía and then to Guadalupe. King Alfonso XI tells us in 1345 while hunting in Las Villuercas: “La Sierra de los Puertos que está sobre el Puerto de Sanct Viceinte es todo un monte….et son las vocerías, la una desde el puerto, el camino ayuso…”, “que es cabo Halia… fasta el camino que va de Toledo a la casa de Val de Cadazos”.
Since 1385, when the Archbishop's Bridge was built by D. Pedro Tenorio over the Tajo River, the so-called Camino Real de Castilla a Guadalupe, which passes through Villar del Pedroso, Carrascalejo, Navatrasierra and the Hospital del Obispo, has gained special interest, reaching Guadalupe through the Puerto de la Brama or the Humilladero.

2. The Plasencia path: Path from Santa María de Guadalupe through Puerto de la Brama, the Ibor river valley to Navalvillar, La Avellaneda and the church of San Román, next to the Gualija. Cross the Tajo through the ford of Alarza in the direction of Malpartida de Plasencia and Plasencia. We can read in the Libro de la Montería (1345):
“…por cima de la cumbre que dicen el lomo de Halía, et dende hasta los Guijos de Ibor, et la otra fasta el camino de Plasencia…”

3. The road to Sevilla, through the Port of Cañamero (Puerto Llano), the Venta de la Laguna, El Rincón, Valdepalacios and Madrigalejo, where the Hieronymite monks of the Guadalupe Monastery had large meadows and a house-palace.

“El Covilar es buen monte de puerco en ivierno. Et es la vocería por cima de la cumbre, et son las armadas, la una en la loma, et las dos al río”.
“El monte de Val de Palacios es buen monte de puerco en ivierno… Et es el armada en el camino que va  de Palacios a la Parriella”
“La raña que es sobre Val de Palacios es buen monte de osos en ivierno, et en tiempo de colmenas; pero en este tiempo hay poca agua”.

4.- The Trujillo path: Guadalupe trail to Mirabel farm-palace, Castaño Abuelo, Ruecas river, Sierra de la Madrila, Puerto de Berzocana, Berzocana, Garciáz, Madroñera and Trujillo. Since Alfonso XI we have news of good hunting art in Navezuelas. A good mount of bears quotes the king marveled by the abundance of hunting species of the place. Although these scenes are already represented in the cave paintings of the region.

“Los valles de sobre Garciez es buen monte de oso, et de puerco en ivierno, et aun en verano, et son las vocerías la una desde el Robledo”…”et la otra al valle ayuso hasta el Camino de Berzocana”.