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Argentina – Dove Hunt

It’s Thursday morning and we are in the van again to make the trip to the Pigeon Lodge. This one is only four hours away.

We had a great time at Tomas Frontera’s Lodge La Zenaida or what is referred to as the Dove Lodge, where there is never a time without thousands of doves in the air.

It is the perfect place to learn to shoot live birds because you can work on one trajectory and really ingrain the picture and the move. On the first day, you need to be aware that you have three more days of shooting and not get too excited and shoot too much.

And, of course, no one shoots too much the first day. It’s hard to contain yourself being faced with so many birds.

We met everyone after we got in from the Duck Lodge, and off we went to the first afternoon hunt. The weather was perfect and the birds were really flying. The first hunt is to get used to the birds and see how they fly and to get your rhythm down.

The OSP system of shooting was deadly on these birds. Gil and I didn’t shoot; we walked the line and helped everyone. This is the great thing about this trip: we don’t shoot; we teach you in the field on the real thing.

The biggest reason for the miss was the fact that the eyes were not still to see the birds. There are so many birds darting and diving from all directions, making it is hard to find one bird to focus on.

I told everyone to watch the birds and see where they are coming from and which way the wind was blowing so they could find a place for their eyes to be and see the birds.

I always look way out with my eyes focused on something and let the birds fly into my vision. But because of the number of birds, it is hard to not be looking all around. The first day is learning that.

On the second day, the rain set in and it was wet all day. Not downpours, just sprinkling all day. But everyone hung in there and the birds flew all day.

The lesson that day was to learn to look past the raindrops and not try to keep your glasses clean because that’s all you would be doing rather than focusing on the birds. Remember, you only have 100 percent focus. If 60 percent is on keeping your glasses clean, you only have 40 percent for the bird.

The third day brought the howling wind – and it was cold, too. It became another day of challenging birds. When the wind blows, the birds have the advantage.

During the afternoon hunt the sun came out and the wind stopped blowing so hard. It was a beautiful day to kill birds. Everyone had big smiles on their faces when they got back in the van. A lot of learning had been done and all was good.

This is a special day for me and Gil – our 42nd wedding anniversary. And they said it wouldn’t last… So, at dinner, we were surprised with a special cake that had a story behind it.

It looked like it had a lattice hardhat on top of the cake. The “bride” has to break through the lattice hard hat for the marriage to last, so they gave me a spoon to break the sugar hardhat.

No pressure here — what if I didn’t break it?

You will all be happy to know that I broke through the hat, so I guess our marriage will last a little longer. Besides, we are having too much fun helping make students better shooters and better people.