The Game Bag – Autumn in the Argentine Bird Hunting at it’s Best!
By John and Vicky Jefferson
When I hit my first double, my new best friend and bird boy, Panzi, yelled out one of the few phrases he knew in English: “GOOD SHOT!” I was relieved that my Spanish is too poor to tell him! was shooting at the lead bird in the flight of fifteen or more when I dropped two in the middle.
But it took some getting used to in order to be able to Hit the fast flying, darting, eared doves of Argentina. And we were told they usually didn’t fly that high. Whether that was to make us feel better about our dubious shooting or was in fact a fact, we burned a lot of powder and littered the Argentine turf with much more lead than meat. Our first afternoon and the next morning were really frustrating. The doves seemed faster than our American mourning doves, and maybe a little smaller. What a mediocre shot doesn’t need is the psychological downer of a more challenging target. And sky-busting with number eight shot gave us another alibi. But before the hunt was over, our shooting had at least improved to almost average.
Our bird boys knew very little English, but broke out in understanding laughter as Vicky thanked them the last evening in broken Spanglish and hand gestures for having not laughed at our shooting. After all, we should have been popular with them – they had fewer birds to pick up. But practice makes perfect, and we had plenty of the former. The birds were there. I had seen pictures and videos, but could not believe the concentrations. A TPWD dove biologist the U.N sent there to advise the Argentineans agreed. It even beat Don Lanford’s at its best, and Valley whitewing shooting in the old days! By the last morning, the bird boys had even begun expecting us to score on each shot. The hunt surpassed our wildest expectations.
We booked the hunt through the Detail Company, the Houston outfit that generously donated the trip to the McBride Banquet that Jack Nash and his team bought. They are going in September, and there’s still time to join them and fill the lodge with Woods & Waters folks. Juan Jose, at Sierra Brava Lodge, where we stayed, said the hunting in their spring (our fall) is the best. We went when our schedule permitted, and loved the cool, fall weather there in June. Go when you can! Stay as long as you can! The Buenos Aires culture and night life, the fabulous food, the intriguing wine country of Mendoza near the Chilean border, the gracious Argentine people and, of course, the best wing shooting on Earth, combine to make this the trip of a lifetime. We’re already planning a do-over. Come see the pictures and hear more at the July 5 luncheon.