Brad Meyer’s group arrived a Monday at 8.30 am to Cordoba’s airport where David was waiting to take them straight to the field. That morning the highway was quiet because it was a holiday in Argentina for San Martin death’s anniversary. José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras (25th February 1778 – 17th August 1850) was an Argentine general and the principal leader of the successful struggle for independence from Spain by the southern nations of South America.
Celebrated on the third Monday in August, this holiday commemorates the death of José de San Martín since he is regarded as the most important Argentinian founding father, who liberated not only a part of Argentina but also helped liberate Chile and Peru along with O’Higgins and Bolívar.
So, after an hour and a half of driving, they got to the camp and had lunch with another group of 8 people that had arrived 3 days before them and were leaving the next day. Right after lunch and a quick pause to get everything ready, David took them to the hunting spots, where the field assistants were waiting.
I wasn’t lucky this time because I couldn’t be that afternoon with the groups, but the guides told me that, since it was not windy and doves were constantly flying, it was an unforgettable afternoon hunt, mostly for someone that is in Argentina for the first time, knowing that Cordoba is the best place for dove shooting.
That night I went to the Lodge to introduce myself to the group and to spend some quality time with them. We had pasta for dinner and then we went to the fire pit to enjoy that beautiful night, but just me and Steve were the only ones left after a couple of hours, since the rest of the group was really tired after 24 hours of non-stopping activities and, of course, because of all the traveling.
The next morning, the group decided to stay at the lodge and relax a little bit. It was 10 am and everyone was ready. Some had scrambled eggs with bacon, others chose fried eggs with bacon, a cup of black coffee and a glass of orange juice. And then it was 10.30 am when I saw Martin arriving to the lodge with the Van to pick the leaving group up and, after him, I saw Facundo arriving too, looking for me and the group to take us that and the rest of the days to the field in a white Ford for 10 people.That afternoon we hunted in the hills, on a field located 30 km northeast from Villa del Totoral, town in which Plaza Real Lodge is placed. Totoral, as we call it here, is a town in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. It has 7,110 inhabitants per the 2001 census, and is the head town of the Totoral Department.
While I was climbing the hill, I found the first hunting spot in which there was Brad with Juan, his field assistant.
After 10 or maybe 15 minutes, we decided to move him to a different spot because, even though doves were flying great, they were unfortunately doing it too high and on a high speed because of the wind.
I kept walking, and I saw David and Juan in the second spot, cutting some branches to make a better spot for Brad, place in which doves were flying up on the flush of the mountains and coming across Brad, waiting for them around 20 to 45 yards away.
After a little while, Brad gave me his shotgun and invited me to hunt a bit with him. I’m not going to lie, it was super fun, and I still remember when not only one, but two doves came closer to us trying to land on a branch in front of us and I just could not resist the temptation and that’s how, from one moment to the other, laughter and feathers appeared.
I gently gave the shotgun back to Brad and, after I thanked him for inviting me to spend a moment with him, I left to check how the other guys were doing.
I walked something about 80 yards and found Steve. I asked Santiago, the field assistant, how was the afternoon going on this spot so far and, before he could even answer, I saw a group of fifteen doves approaching us. Steve killed 3 in a row, and missed other four for just a centimeter.
I decided to stay for about 25 minutes with Steve and Santiago to see how everything was going there. Then, I started walking uphill and I found Ricky and Emanuel on this amazing hunting spot of the afternoon since doves were flying low and slow. Ricky killed 345 doves that afternoon!
At the top of the hill I remember I saw Shane, who was hunting with his field assistant, Facundo. After 15 or maybe 20 shots, we realized that doves were passing just behind a tree that was not too big, but really dry, so we offered Shane to take a little break of 10 minutes and to grab an ice cold beer while we cut down some of the branches of that tree.
So that was how I climbed that tree and Facundo told me which were the branches that were bothering Shane. I stayed 15 more minutes with them and then I went down the hill where the last hunting spot was.
That was the biggest of them all, and it had the advantage of being in the shadows and, even though doves were not flying straight, they were doing it from right to left and the other way around, but don’t get me wrong, it was full of doves still!
To be continued…
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