For those fortunate enough to have experienced it, words can barely describe the shotgun melting excitement that is Argentina dove hunting. To see a sky literally full of birds is something that American dove hunters have likely only dreamed about or seen on television. Even along the Gulf coast flyways and through Texas, where birds are plentiful during migration, our mourning and white wing dove numbers still seem modest in comparison.
In Argentina, the primary quarry is the Eared Dove. Very similar in appearance (and speed) to our mourning dove but somewhat smaller. Feeding mainly on grain and seed, eared dove populations have exploded with Argentina’s growing agriculture industry. Commercial plantings of sunflower, milo and other crops support ever increasing dove populations with the birds breeding four times a year. Recent estimates put the population at over 30 million dove in the Cordoba region of Argentina alone. Due to these incredible numbers it is not unusual for a single hunter to harvest 500 or even 1,000 birds in a single hunt.
The Argentina dove hunting experience is not just about the numbers, either. When you are lining up an incoming flight, looking for that 2-for-1 or even 3-for-1 shot opportunity. Where two faster birds are sliding past a slower one, then moving through the rest of the flight methodically until the gun is dry. Handing off the empty for the loaded gun and picking up your arc of swing where you left off.
Once immersed in a blend of rhythmic motions and intoxicating gunpowder you lose count of rounds fired and birds taken. That is when you are glad the bird boy has a clicker (or not) and your only concern is shooting your heart’s content.
We typically do not eat every bird that we harvest but the estancia ensures there is no waste as there is no shortage of poor people among the locals. Additional hunt opportunities are also available for those looking for a mixed-bag experience.
If you are exploring ideas for an Argentina trip, I’m always happy to help with information or to set up with a complete package. Don’t forget that seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere and when we are sweating our way through summer, it is wonderfully cool in Argentina. No matter when you go, you are certain to have new stories to tell when you get home.
This Guest Blog Post was Written by Ramsey Russell
Ramsey Russell is a certified wildlife biologist that owns and operates GetDucks.com, which is renowned for high-quality, turn-key wingshooting operations throughout the world. Originally from Brandon, Mississippi, his work takes him to the world’s foremost waterfowl hunting areas, but Ramsey’s favorite times are spent hunting locally with his 3 children, close friends and a gracefully aging retriever.