Hunting stories

Dove Shooting in Argentina


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Dove shooting is a speciality of La Dormida lodge in the Córdoba Province of Argentina and is considered to be the dove shooting capital of the world.

With over 250,000 acres of fields and rolling hills, the land offers guaranteed diversity and sporting challenges and an excellent retreat for all shooting parties. 

With a population of 50 million doves, the lodge maintains 55 shooting fields. The lodge also supplies the local village kitchens with thousands of doves, making sure that not one dove goes to waste. Shoots often run from dawn til dusk and offer an excellent day out in the fields. Staying hidden and still in a good blind, is the key to success.

Wing shooting in Argentina has always had a kind of legendary status with most of the people I speak to and so I’ve only ever heard the stories and all I can say is that they’re totally true. It’s not just the magnificent landscape and it’s not just the beautiful wilderness that’s out here. There are more birds here than I have ever seen on any continent of any species in my life. Argentina truly is an absolute haven for wing shooters.

Dove shooting

The morning started off early, with Ian getting up around 6am for breakfast. Although Ian was shooting during the Argentine winter, you wouldn’t expect Argentina to be that cold, and that has an effect on the birds. Fortunately for Ian he had chosen the effective New Game Bonded Fleece Waistcoat and the Deerhunter casual shirt range to keep him comfortable throughout the days shoot.

At the start of the day there were a few birds flying in two's and three’s and singles that would give Ian a good shot at around thirty or forty yards but the majority of the birds going over were extremely high, maybe even a hundred yards high in the sky.

They were flighting from where they roost in the evenings, over to where they feed during the day. So even though they were a little high for Ian, he knew at some point during the day he would see them return again.

The morning started off with some pretty challenging shooting. Doves have great eyesight and they react very quickly to any movement they see on the ground. Even though Ian was standing still waiting for the doves to fly over, the minute he moved that was it, the doves broke left, they broke right, forcing Ian to make his decisions very quickly.  

Dove shooting

This type of shooting really does hone your skills, it makes you more reactive and more responsive, it’s not like you can track the bird because it could change direction. You’ve got to make a decision and go with it. The highlight of my morning wasn’t the birds that I had shot, but it was how they were used afterwards. In this area of Argentina is a haven not just for doves and pigeons and all manner of game birds but also birds of prey. We saw umpteen species of eagle, of hawk, magnificent birds of prey. A couple of times I took a dove only for an eagle to swoop in, gather the bird and then sit in the tree in front of me and eat my quarry. But it’s good to know that even the birds that we don’t pick don’t go to waste.

The mornings and the afternoons shooting were entirely different. A few single doves coming in turned into absolute mayhem. As the birds were flying back from the feeding fields they were just coming in droves, Ian had never seen a population like it. Forty to fifty, even a hundred birds at a time could fly in, which makes it almost impossible to pick out an individual bird. 

Dove shooting

As you’d get on one, the dove would change direction and another one would replace it, you’ve totally lost your sight picture and you have to readjust and they’re flying so fast, you really do have to shoot instinctively. Which although it’s not how I’m used to shooting, it’s a huge amount of fun. Strewn around the ground around me were a lot of cartridges than there were birds. But that’s what wing shooting in Argentina is about, it’s not just about killing birds, it’s about honing your skills and finding that target you find very difficult to hit normally. It’s great sport, a huge amount of fun and it really challenges your shooting ability.

Argentina offers a sensational day of shooting. There were a lot of birds, but it’s the teamwork that really makes it happen. It’s the communication between the loader and the shooter and making sure the cartridges go in and then get quickly onto the next bird. 

The scenery is breathtaking, the countryside is just phenomenal and this for me was a culmination of a lifetime worth of shooting and it really was a dream come true.

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