What a great time we had in Argentina!
We spent eight days of shooting; first doves where we taught in the field and didn’t shoot, then on to the pigeon lodge where we shot those deceiving big birds.
They are quiet so they just appear and also appear to be moving so slow. But they are not; they are like B-52 bombers that you think are hardly moving, but they are.
Getting to La Zenaida Lodge
We take the shortest route to get there by going from Houston to Panama City, Panama, then on to Cordoba arriving there at 1:00 AM. But that is really 11:00 PM to us due to the time difference. We got to Customs and checked the guns in with no problem, then on to van to go to the lodge, which is 90 minutes away. We arrived there to a champagne welcome and went to bed until around 11:00 AM.
When we got up, we had lunch then went out to hunt doves for three days. On these hunts, we don’t shoot at the dove lodge. We are with each person in the group guiding them and teaching them how to become efficient killing machines. With the unlimited number of birds, you get a lifetime’s worth of shooting in three days.
We were at Tomas Frontera’s La Zenaida Lodge, where the staff is great, the food is delicious, the wine is fabulous, and of course, the birds are great.
During the next-to-last hunt the afternoon when we were leaving the field, the sky opened up and rain came fast and the lightning was even worse. The roads are mostly dirt, and when they get wet, they also get slippery. The roads are not very wide; when meeting another car, it’s close.
We were almost to the lodge and met another truck; we went to the right and slid right into the ditch. Even though we were only at a slight tilt, we were afraid if we moved, the vehicle would flip completely over on its side.
They got a 4-wheel drive truck to pick us up, and as we made the last stretch to the lodge, a beautiful double rainbow was shining in the sky. We knew all would be okay at that point. We arrived at the lodge wet and muddy but got cleaned up and ready to go to the pigeon lodge the next day, after a short dove hunt in the morning.
Pigeon Hunting Time!
The next morning the winds were howling and the birds were in turbo charge mode. The wind had them flying all different directions and even running into each other, as they had no control.
COLD? Yes, it was freezing. June is their winter. We have been in Argentina in June before and I don’t remember it being that cold on any hunt. We lasted about an hour and a half and the truck came and got us. Thank goodness!
We left four of the group at the lodge then the rest were off on the two-hour drive to the pigeon lodge after dropping one person off at the Cordoba airport so he could start his journey home. We arrived at the pigeon lodge and moved in for the next three days.
This lodge was built in 1603 and has a lot of history behind those bricks. They even had a chapel for the friar to live at. Really cool!
On to the pigeon field in the morning. Gil and I got to shoot and had a blast. You are allowed 75 pigeons and five boxes of ammo on each hunt, and when you shoot to your limit of 75 or five boxes, you are done. The outfitters are good about saving the resource since pigeons only have one hatch a year and the doves have five hatches a year. Pigeon season is May to September, so that helps them to keep everyone from shooting all the pigeons out.
The next day was an all-day trip where we would eat in the field and have our hunts there. On the third day, we had two different hunts and went back to the lodge for dinner and off to the airport at 9:00 PM for our 2:00 AM flight home. This is the hardest leg, as it is 2:00 AM, so you try to get some sleep for at least part of the six-hour flight. We got back to Texas at 2:00 PM, tired, but feeling great. We can always sleep tomorrow – and we did.
Tips for a High-Volume Hunt
Here are a few hints if you are going to a high-volume hunt like this:
- Start three weeks out doing your gun mount drills, since your arms get really tired.
- Have a good recoil system on your gun.
- Bring your own gun. The lodge has guns, but they are used so much that a lot of the time they won’t work.
- When looking for the birds, don’t keep moving your head around to see them. Keep your head and eyes still and you will be able to pick up the birds a lot faster.
- Don’t try to get your money’s worth all in the first hunt; you will be exhausted by the third day.
- Take a pouch to put your gun butt in so you don’t have to hold it all day.
- If you haven’t hit a bird in five shots, STOP, get some water, and just watch the birds and how they are flying. Just continuing to load doesn’t help.
- Come join us next year!