Monday, June 30, 2008

June hunt in Argentina for Ducks, Doves, and Perdiz

Duck Slaughter Royale

Holy Crap. I have never seen ducks in these concentrations anywhere. The ground shook when they got up. I could not hear my buddy Claude speak next to me in the blind. It was the perfect storm of duck hunting.

This is Alan, Claude and I after our first morning duck hunting. These are the birds that the 3 of us shot, 174 if I count right. That is 58 each. At home I would have worked my ass off to shoot 58 ducks in a season, and spent far more than this day of hunting cost, and this was an easy walk in.

Our guide Daniel at Rancho Salvaje has a great Duck area. We stayed at the dove lodge as there were no great houses closer, but it was worth the hour drive. They had flooded soy bean fields. With the situation this year with the Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner imposing an export tax on Soy Beans, it was more expensive to harvest the crop than to let it sit in the field. We had beyond world class duck hunting. We shot our daily limit of 50 ducks (or so) each and went in. A shooter could do that in minutes. I slowed down and picked drakes.

This was the first time I shot a truck bed full of ducks. I have never seen this before, not even in East Texas, and those guys are outlaws with no conscience, they catch them on trotlines baited with corn and hunt them with rifles. Sure there is video of me hunting Pigeon with a rifle below, but that is completely different.

Mostly I shot Chiloe Widgeon, Rosy Billed Pochard, Silver Teal (aka Cappuccino Teal), and a mess of Cinnamon Teal. There were also a lot of Red Shoveler, White Cheeked (Bahama) Pintail, Yellow Billed Pintail, Speckled Teal, and Brazilian Teal. I could have shot limits of drakes of any of those species alone. But I believe if fairness, so I killed them equally. Claude and I hunted together and we sort of took turns, unless one did something dumb like hover over the blind quacking, then we just whacked his feathered butt without mercy.

Dove Killin' with Claude

The dove hunting was off the charts as well. We shot piles of them, I averaged about 400 birds per hunt, but I was not on a mission to put up a 1000 bird hunt this trip. I spent a lot of time working with Claude on his shooting. Other than shooting a few ducks last season in Texas, he had not shot birds before. This was wingshooting boot camp, and he came out a killer. His first hunt he shot 8 birds, the next 49, the next 124, and it was on after that. He was killing 200+ birds a hunt from then on. I like to think it was the teacher, but the guy is a natural.

Once Claude got to killing them with ease, I developed a game as we are both insanely competitive. We called it "Dove in the Box". Basically you draw a big, say 50 x50, box on the ground in front of two hunters and if the bird falls dead in the box, it counts. This lends itself to some friendly wagering, too. A buck a bird is about right, bird boys keep count. That changes things entirely, and the smack talking and working on someone's mental game gets intense. I had more fun with this than I have words to write.

Perdiz Hunting

Man these things taste good. I would spit out a quail to lick the pot one of these was cooked in. They look kind of like a grouse, they run like a blue quail and hold until you almost step on them. The dogs really help on this, as you can walk over them. There are several species, little ones, big ones, and a red one that is protected. They mentioned the protected part about two seconds after I double tapped the trigger on my Benelli. Protected Red Perdiz tastes just like the other ones.

The brace of smaller birds Alan and I shot in the field. The three birds I am holding are the forest perdiz, and they are larger than the ones you see in the field but there is another one that is big as a chicken, and I missed. Just ask Alan he reminded me of it all day.

The whole group went out and shot Perdiz one afternoon. It was a blast to watch Daniel's dogs work, and we ended up with about 30 of them, and had fried Perdiz, sauteed Perdiz and the normal 4 other courses to the meal. Man those women can cook.

Pigeon Hunt

Now this is my favorite. I like shooting pigeon. They decoy like ducks, and are a lot of fun to shoot. The first video is Alan and I shooting some pigeons in the normal way most folks would imagine, well not really, I guess as normal as we are able. There are a lot of birds laying under the mojos, not that the mojo is necessary but they work better on pigeon than any other bird. Once you get a few of them on the ground they will keep piling in.

Now this is what happens when immigration is remiss in exercising their duties with care. Someone lets in a couple psycho-billy country boys with semiauto .22 rifles. I am not sure why I started listening to the voices, but they thought that shooting pigeons with a rifle might be fun. They were right. I cannot tell you what a kick this was.

I now hold the (disputed) world record for shooting pigeon with a .22 rifle, 300 yards. Alan and had one that was doing like the little yellow shooting gallery ducks you see in cartoons. Everytime one of us shot he turned around and started walking the other way. One of us finally drilled him, I know it was me because Alan can't shoot. Hear that hippie? I'm calling you out, I'm your Huckleberry!

The Weasel Attack

This was one of the craziest things I have ever seen. It was 11 in the morning and we were driving out of the Dove Hunting Field and a pair of weasels ran across the road.

We stopped to look, and as we walked into the brush near between the truck and the fence, a Lynx jumped out of the brush and yowled and ran off down the road. This scared the hell out of all of us, cause we were looking for weasels and found a 40 pound cat. Daniel, our guide found 2 lynx kittens in the bushes. All of the sudden in comes weasel #1, trying to eat him some kitty for lunch. This blue eyed sweet tea cup sized furball showed why size matters least. It turned into pure weasel hating fury and tore that thing up, and weasel #1 retreated down a hole.

As I tromped around in the bushes looking for weasel #2, and I have this on video but it is too large to post, Alan sneaks up behind me and gooses me. I thought a weasel was having my butt for supper. As much as I hate Alan, that was really funny.

1 comment:

Pat said...

June was a great trip to Argentina for duck, dove and other hunting. Daniel is great host and Roger is always a lot of fun even if mostly full of shit - not really but it is fun to poke at him.

Can't wait for our next trip top Rancho Salvaje to kill lots of shit.