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Tips for a High-Volume Shoot – Bolivia 2019

I’m home from Bolivia. Gil and I had a great week seeing old friends, making new ones, and instructing in the field on how to best take the dove and pigeon shots.

Everyone did their gun mount homework. Slowing the birds down was big for most. But there is always a but! Since we had one student who had never been on a high-volume shoot, we took very good care to make sure that there was no damage to the shoulder.

I started making a list of things people should know about going on a high-volume hunt to share with you.

What to Bring on a High-Volume Shoot

The first thing you want to know is what the weather is going to be like at the lodge. Call or email the outfitter, they can tell you the nearest city. Put that location in your weather app and watch it. We were checking the whole week before we left and we packed perfectly.

Bring three changes of clothes plus the clothes you are wearing. After three days, get the lodge to launder them for you, that way you don’t over-pack your suitcase. You will need four brown, green or camo shirts. It was in the 80’s and 90’s in Bolivia; we wore shorts each day. I had one pair of long pants that I wore down there. I could stay warm if it got colder, but it didn’t.

Remember you will be out in the field, so you will be shooting in the brush and may want to pack two pairs of pants. I also take something comfortable to put on for the evening or times when we are in the lodge, nothing fancy but comfortable.

Camouflage rain gear in case it rains, or it is colder one day. Rain gear is lighter weight and doesn’t take up too much room in your suitcase. You will be glad to have it if a rainstorm comes up. It is the first thing we pack when we are going anywhere. And don’t forget, camo hat, chokes, gloves, shooting glasses, hearing protection, sunscreen, personal toiletry items like shampoo, soap, etc.

Passport, of course. Remember to check the expiration date; you will not be allowed to leave the country if the passport is going to expire within six months. Some countries require you get a visa; if there is a consulate near you, that is the easiest way to have that checked off. If there is no consulate nearby, then you can bring cash and buy the visa when you get to your country. At least that’s the way it works in Bolivia.

We always take our guns. It’s a long way to travel and expensive, so why shoot the lodge guns that don’t fit you? Your call, but given the distance and expense, why wouldn’t you take the gun you were comfortable with? Just saying…

Make sure your gun has a good pad on the butt of the gun. You will get hurt shooting so much with a less than adequate pad.

More Advice for Shooting in Bolivia and Argentina

You will pay your “bird boy” at the end of your trip. Bring cash for them in small denominations like $10 and $20. No torn bills as the banks in Bolivia and Argentina won’t accept them. Ask the lodge manager what he thinks is fair. It will be around $25.00 per hunt; we always add an additional hunt fee to their cash. The staff at the lodge will also need to be tipped.

Here again, the lodge usually tells us, but it is usually between $120-150 per person for your stay. Most of the lodges will let you pay for your shells and anything else you might purchase with a credit card, so you don’t have to carry around so much cash.

Practice Your Gun Mount!

Finally, be prepared to shoot – a lot! Get the gun out and play with it.

  • Three weeks out (at least) mount the gun 100 times EACH DAY.
  • Two weeks out mount the gun 200 times EACH DAY.
  • One week out mount the gun 300 times EACH DAY.

You don’t realize how many times you will lift the gun. Be prepared to have your front arm hurt, so take some pain reliever. OR get physically prepared to shoot a lot. Most of the lodges have a massage room, so schedule a massage for one of the days during your trip.

I hope to see you next year!