I am going to make an effort to write down some of my adventures for work and for fun. I don’t want to forget the details and I want my boys to be able to read these later in life. This one is alllllll fun.
Last month I spent an entire week in Argentina hunting with two of my close friends, Sam and Mandy. My friend Sam and his family have had a heart for South America and specifically Argentina for years. Right before Covid, they purchased a small hunting ranch in Cordoba, Argentina. Covid shut Argentina down and so they spent the last few years renovating the property to make it something special for their friends, family, and customers.
They wanted to do a dry run through the hunt and accommodations to gather some feedback before launching the full blown hunting operation. Sam asked if I wanted to go. I reluctantly asked my wife if she thought I should go and she emphatically said that I HAD TO! Of course I couldn’t turn her down… I needed to scratch the adventure itch. So I bought my ticket.
Why Dove Hunting in Argentina?
Due to the climate in Argentina their Dove, Pigeon, and Parakeet breed 3 times a year compared to the once a year in the US. Over the last few decades they have also experienced a commercialization of farming, which leads to large crop fields separated by small wooded areas for the birds to roost and lay their eggs. This combination has led to those bird species over running the area. They are considered pests. There is no limit for the number of birds you can shoot. Almost any farmer will let you hunt their land as long as you pick up your shells. Hunters travel from all ends of the globe to hunt here. The ideal times are their summer (January and February) and deep winter (July and August) where hunters regularly shoot over 1,000 birds in a single day. I could not fathom that…
Sunday: June 4th
I left Lubbock at noon with all of the adventure audiobooks downloaded onto my phone.
- Sandstorm, By: James Rollins
- Amazonia, By: James Rollins
Think Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code written by Michael Crichton. I flew from Lubbock to Dallas, Dallas to Miami, and Miami to Buenos Aires overnight.
Monday: June 5th
We landed in Buenos Aires but had to change airports to fly north to Cordoba. We had some time to kill and so our gracious chauffeur gave us a tour of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital.
Later we landed in Cordoba and drove an hour and a half north to the property, Estancia Las Palomas. I was not prepared for what I arrived to. The property was beautiful with various fruit trees and a brand new remodeled mini-hotel. I don’t know that I have stayed at a hotel in the states with nicer rooms.
The property was staffed with 6 rockstars that aimed to give us an experience. And they hit the target. One of them was a chef and the food was collectively the best food I’ve ever had. *I gained 4 pounds. Haha
Every night had some sort of entertainment, which included reviewing professional pictures and videos from the day’s hunts. One of my favorite touches was the entire staff greeting you at the property after every hunt. They would meet you with a warm wet towel and a unique refreshing drink made from the fruit grown on the property. Talk about next level first class!
Tuesday: June 6th
AM Hunt: Our first hunt was on the edge of a pasture. My field guide was named JJ and he came prepared with two shotguns and a thumb heavily taped up. When you shoot as much as you do there, the gun gets hot and can begin to break down and so you alternate guns while your guide loads the other. The tape keeps their fingers from bleeding, which is inevitable when handling a firearm that intensely. My first hunt I used a 28 gauge, which felt like a cap gun. The shots you take are further than what I would ever take at home but when the birds fly that often you eventually make adjustments and can hit them further out. That was not the case for me the first morning. I shot 350 shells to hit 53 birds…
PM Hunt: I pulled out the 20 gauge this hunt but still struggled taking 400 shells to hit 93 birds.
Day 1: 750 shells, 146 birds, 20% accuracy
Evening Activity: A wine tasting with wines and pairings from every region of Argentina. A sommelier gave us a history lesson for each region complete with colorful political banter. I.e. Cordoba is the Texas of Argentina. It’s the “best”.
Wednesday: June 7th
AM Hunt: We hunted along a river bank this time hiding along the tree line. My guide spent the morning telling me about the Caiman Crocodiles and Capybaras that frequent these Argentinian rivers. What an adventure!
During the hunt while trying to find a better position, my guide disappeared into the woods only to scream, “Albert! Bring your gun!” As I hunched over crawling through the thick brush he informed me that a snake had struck him and he was pinned between the snake and a tree. The snake was a highly venomous Yarara. Heart racing I crawled through the brush to find JJ and the snake and was able to remedy the situation quickly. The snake had only struck his pant leg not breaking skin and we were in the clear.
The shots this hunt were closer but faster than the previous and the goal was timing shots between tree clearings. I made some improvements here taking 450 shots to hit 316 birds. There is hope after all!
PM Hunt: That evening hunt was from a corn field where the birds were flying exceptionally high. I would never even attempt taking these shots at home but you keep pulling the trigger. 225 shots for 92 birds.
Day 2: 675 shells, 408 birds, 60% accuracy
Evening Activity: Campfire and Dove Tacos
Thursday: June 8th
AM Hunt: We began the morning at the edge of another pasture. This morning was particularly foggy and the birds just weren’t flying. The parakeets were though. Parakeets were considerably harder to shoot because they have thinner bodies and they don’t fly in a straight line. I shot 48 parakeets the start of that morning before our head guide called an audible to try Partridge hunting. In Argentina, they hunt Partridge like we hunt Quail, that is, behind a dog. The limit per hunter is 8. I was “on” that hunt going 5 for 5 bringing the morning total to 53 birds.
PM Hunt: This was the craziest hunt of my life. We set up on the edge of a corn field and the birds were flying! There was a 15 minute period where I did not stop pulling the trigger. I was trading the shotguns out faster than my guide could load them. I found my stride with the 20 gauge and was building confidence taking some long shots even dropping a pigeon at 50 yards. I ended that night with 431 birds with 650 shots…in one sitting. Wow!
Day 3: 775 shells, 484 birds, 63% accuracy
Evening Activity: Italian night! Argentina has a large Italian influence due to heavy immigration from Italy over a century ago. The Italian dishes were delizioso!
Friday: June 9th
AM Hunt: We were heading out around lunch so we had just enough time for a quick morning hunt. At this point my body was exhausted after the wild hunt the night before. Storms were rolling in and the birds weren’t really flying so I just took in the scenery and enjoyed one last hunt.
The flight home was a direct flight to DFW from Buenos Aires and I slept like a baby.
Overall: 2,425 shells, 1,130 birds, 47% accuracy
What an adventure! The accommodations were amazing. The hunting was world-class. And the company was incredible. I can’t recommend this hunt enough. Bird hunting anywhere else just doesn’t compare. I look forward to the day I get to take my boys on this hunt.