What a great time we had in Argentina in August!
We have this figured out when to go. In August when it is hot as you-know-what here in Houston, let’s go to Argentina where it’s winter. Their winter is very similar to ours, meaning not too cold – a light jacket in the morning and layer up for the rest of the day. We also like to go in late January or early February when it could get cold in Houston and it is spring there. That way we can hunt in our standard attire of shorts and shirts and sandals with a light camo cover-up. And what a time we have!
This year we went to three different lodges and shot three different kinds of birds — doves, pigeons, and ducks. The dove hunting was fabulous as it always is. It’s hard to explain to people how many birds there actually are and that the flights never stop.
Flatlanders Shooting in the Hills
Here’s an example of that flight:
The birds in Argentina have five hatches each year, so the birds are seen in numbers you can’t fathom until you get there. The birds are getting smarter, too. As the farmers plant their seeds, the birds come along after them and dig up the germinated seeds. The farmers figure they lose about 30 percent of their crop due to the birds, so they like the hunters coming to help clear some of them out.
We hunted north of Cordoba, in the hills, which made for some exciting hunts as the birds were higher and dipping and diving – more so than when you’re in the field. Gil and I even had one day where we didn’t read the birds correctly due to the hills and were missing a lot of the right-to-left quartering birds. Then Gil came over and asked me to watch why he was missing so many.
We didn’t realize that we were on a side of a hill and the birds were actually going up to go over the hill. So the line was higher: right at 11:00, not 9:00. That happens when flatlanders go to the hills. But it helped everyone in the group when we were teaching and they were missing those same birds. We’re always learning something!
The Challenges of Pigeon Hunting
We next went to the pigeon lodge an hour south of Cordoba to a beautiful lodge on a river.
Pigeons are a different animal; you decoy them like ducks, only without the water. We sat in a blind with our bird boy who looked out for the pigeons and told us where they were. He had a MoJo decoy out to get the birds to come in and when we shot the birds, he would go out and get the dead bird, put them on a stick, and stick it in the ground to look like there were more birds on the ground. We wanted the pigeons to think this was Shoney’s and come close to us and eat.
Gil and I were in the same blind and we had a great hunt – over 200 birds in the afternoon. What fun! Pigeons are bigger than doves but not really like the ones we see around town under the overpasses. It’s a really pretty bird and a blast to hunt, but they are hard to kill.
The next day we had a morning hunt that was not quite as good as there weren’t that many birds. But that’s the way it is with pigeons – they’re unpredictable.
That morning, I experienced something that had not happened in many years: I couldn’t hit anything. I had shot so well at doves and then couldn’t hit these bigger birds even though the day before I had done a good job of taking them down. So I began to try to “fix” the problem… Well, we all know how that goes. Not good.
I was so focused on what I was doing wrong that I couldn’t fix it. I even tried to see a space between the gun and bird (oh my) that did not go well. So I sat and watched the birds go by, just focusing on their heads and getting my head out of my backside. Then I began to shoot again and felt better about my shots. We had lunch in the field and the afternoon went well.
We went back to the lodge for a whole roasted pig dinner – and of course great wine. It was our 38th wedding anniversary and it was a great celebration. Last night in this lodge and on to Buenos Aires tomorrow to the duck lodge.
Duck Hunting – Bring Your Waders!
At the duck lodge, we also learned that even though the outfitter says don’t bring waders, BRING THEM! My waders were two sizes too big, so the minute I stepped into the mud to go to the blind I almost came out of the chest waders. The guide quickly grabbed me and escorted me to the blind after he took my K-20 so it would not get muddy.
We made that the plan for each hunt. For the afternoon, I wore three pairs of socks so I wouldn’t walk out of the waders. In the first hunt, we had three people in the blind and shot 78 ducks. There is no real limit for ducks in Argentina but we didn’t feel the need to stay any longer than that. What a hoot.
We did three more days of duck hunts and really learned how to shoot ducks. I have not done a lot of duck shooting over the years, so this was a great learning experience for me too. And did I say how much FUN it was? Watching the birds come to the decoys and identifying which were ducks and which were not was my goal for the trip, and I was able to accomplish that. Gil was able to get a lot of great duck kills for the website so we all accomplished our goals.
A great trip with beautiful lodges, excellent food and great friends to shoot with… what more could you ask for? We have already set the dates for late January 2014 so come join us for great fun, good food, great shooting and the best learning experience on live birds you can get… Plus, it’s winter here in the States and summer in Argentina. Want to get out of the cold? Come on down.