I remember it was a saturday morning when I got into the truck and went to the airport to pick John and Randy up, that were coming hours before the rest of the group. Their flight was coming from Chile, arriving at 12.09 am.
The original plan was to have lunch at an excellent restaurant in Jesus Maria and then go straight to the field, so we would more time to be hunting that afternoon, but the timing was not as we expected to be so, since they were coming from Chile, they had to stop at Aduana – which took them several minutes- and it wasn’t till 1.10 pm that I could finally meet John and Randy (well known as “Randy 2 steps” after inviting one of the girls at the lodge to dance). Once we were inside the truck, and after talking a little bit, I told them that we had two options; stop at one restaurant half way the field to eat the best Argentinean barbacue, taking us a couple of hours, or to eat some snaks in the truk on our way to the field in which we would hunt that afternoon.
The decision was unanimous, the dove was their priority this time, because I remember Randy telling me that this was his fifth trip to Argentina, so he was sure they were going to have amazing lunches at the field the next days.
The clock was ticking 2.45 when we met David at the field, waiting for us with beef sandwiches and some french fries. I could also notice, while we were having our lunch next to the truck, that Guillermo and Nicolas were our field assistants that day, and David, in the other hand, was going to be in general charge of the field those five days with this group.
That first day, doves were flying as usual, Randy and John were happy to be sharing some action and a couple of beers with us.
After an amazing afternoon, we decided to go to the lodge and, once we got there, we took a shower and had a tasty dinner. Music, laughter, happiness and friendship. Randy showed us which one was his favourite country song to dance and it was then when he invited Soledad to dance with him, saying that he will show us “the way it must be done”. Soledad, Paola and another 4 girls are the ones in charge of running the lodge, so they treated us like if we were kings.
On the second day, we had the whole group together so we had breakfast early in the morning and then at 8.15 am went directly to the high lands of cordoba, where doves are really active at this time of the year. After 35 minutes of driving, we got to the hunting spots. That morning was individual hunting. The day was perfect; just a few clouds on the sky and a little bit of wind. As usual, David was waiting for us with the camp already set and, also, with lunch almost ready. Meat, chicken, and pork, of course accompained with doves in red wine with vegetables.
After lunch, John decided to take a quick nap, while the rest of the group decided to sit down the sadows of a tree and share stories and anecdotes of that morning.
At the very moment we saw the doves flying again, we all went to the hunting spots, but this time, we were in groups of two, with the field assistants, of course.
That day was amazing; Jeff Douglas was on fire ! I remember watching from another shooting spot that all the doves were falling close to him !! In the other hand, Tim, John, and Randy were at the top of the mountain so everyone was on great positions.
At the end of the day, we went back to the lodge and ate some appetizers with drinks around to the fire pit.
The third day was unbelievable! There were doves everywhere! They were flying high and low, in a short distance. From right to left and from left to right. It was an afternoon of huge groups of doves flying towards us; completely insane!
Music was playing while doves were falling one by one. That same afternoon, Tim junior was about to be a part of the 1.000 Doves Club! – in fact, he shot more than 1.000 birds! -.
That afternoon was so, so good, that the decision of staying at the lodge the next morning, was unanimous.
So that’s how it was, the morning of the fourth day we woke up, had a super energetic breakfast, as we are used to in La Loma Lodge and spent the morning just relaxing. At 1.30 pm we got inside the van to go straight to the field.
Since we had lunch before leaving the lodge, there was no need in setting up the camp.
This fourth day was different; our new friends decided that they wanted to start a competition, so that’s what we did.
Field assistants, clients, everyone was in. All the guides, along with their clients, were competing on the same hunting spot (in general, competitions were done when they are hunting between them four).
We were a total of 19 people on the same hunting spot, since David was making a team with Pablo who came to visiting us that day, and I was taking Grandpa’s place. 10 shots per person and every client shooting with its field assistant.
Finally, Francisco, one of the field assistants, won the first place, shooting 10 over 10. In the other hand and as I said before, I was replacing Grandpa and I could luckily hit 6 shots. Our team was the winner!
Now the best part comes; of course Francisco took the first place home, but what the guys didn’t know was that there was also a prize for the last place! Everyone was laughing at the idea of having last place prize, but it was a really original thing to do since the guys had never received a prize for being last !
After having so much fun, the last day of John and Randy was here. They wanted to stay at the lodge relaxing and getting ready for the flights and so did the group, because they wanted to spend John and Randy’s last few hours left together.
Those days were amazing. I feel super lucky to had been able to meet such a nice group! They where full of joy, so I hope to see them again soon, in dallas at the DSC in January or here, in Argentina, “the bottom of the world”.
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