I know, I know. This is supposed to be the North American Hunting Club, but I am absolutely, unabashedly hooked on shooting doves in Argentina. I just returned from my third trip to Cordoba, and now my burning goal is to figure out how to get back there again, soon.
The previous hunts with Tomas Frontera and his team at Frontera Sporting had always been on television assignments for one or another program NAHC was producing. Last week’s trip was a purely personal, purely for fun, paid for out of my own pocket with no sponsors hunt. This trip in the company of NAHC Founder Steve Burke, Member Benefits Director Doug McDougal and Life Member Jim Schweiter, this trip was even better than the first two … and both of those exceeded every expectation.
All I can say these days to anyone who asks me about my hunt last week at La Zenaida Lodge is, “You have to go! You have to go!”
For me, it’s a danged good thing Cordoba, Argentina is a $1500 airline ticket away and it takes 24 hours in transit coming and going. If it weren’t I’d probably spend the majority of my free time (and money) there shooting doves. It ranks high on my very small, personal AAA list of hunting destinations.
While the others in the group were all first-timers to Argentina, they all whole-heartedly agreed what a fantastic trip it was. All of us enjoyed every minute. So naturally talked turned to setting up an NAHC Life Member trip to Argentina. We tried it years ago, but didn’t get enough takers to make it a go. Of course, back then the Club wasn’t as large as it is today so now maybe there are a dozen or so LMs who want to give it a try. Doug recommended throwing it open for discussion in this blog, so … why not? If you’d consider joining fellow NAHC members on an Argentine dove shooting junket, please leave a comment.
Honestly, if you love wingshooting you must find your way to Argentina before you call it a hunting career.
The dove hunting is great. It goes on year round. The only limit is what you place on yourself. You want to shoot 500 a day? That’s fine. You want to shoot 5,000 – or more – a day? That’s fine, too.
But beyond that a trip to Le Zenaida or any of the other Frontera operations in Argentina is truly an all-inclusive resort vacation. They pick you up at the airport when you arrive and return you there when it’s time to fly home. (By the way, the claw marks you’ll see on the leather seats of their Mercedes bus are the ones I left when they pried me out at the airport to fly home last week.)
The meals are ample and fantastic. Breakfast is usually eggs and whatever you want to go with them. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day with salads, vegetables and at least three or four meat courses, plus desert. Dinner usually includes salad, side and a large, delicious entrée you selected from a menu at lunch time.
Every time you return to the lodge from a shoot – morning or evening – the staff is waiting for you on the front porch with your beverage of choice. Meals include terrific Argentine wines if you like and after the guns are put up for the day the bar is open.
There’s a knock on your door at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast is at 7:00, and you depart for the fields at 7:30. A huge advantage at La Zenaida (one that may be unique to their operation in Argentina) is the longest ride you’ll have to any shooting location is 10 minutes. Several times we walked just 300 yards from the lodge’s patio and started shooting.
When you arrive in the field, everything is ready for you. Your bird boy has built a “hide,” the guns and ammo are there, along with a chair if you like, and cold refreshments. You put on your eyes, ears, vest and gloves; load your gun; and start shooting.
The heaviest morning flight of birds generally lasts about 2-3 hours, but you’re welcome to stay in the field as long as you like. Lunch is served back at the lodge at noon.
Then it’s siesta time either in your room or outdoors in a hammock. Or you can just hang out in the lodge and read or whatever until about 2:30 p.m. when you head into the field for the evening shoot. That flight lasts until the sun is below the horizon. Then it’s back to the lodge to clean up, enjoy a cocktail and perhaps a massage of sore shooting muscles before dinner at 8:00.
Head to your room whenever you like to turn in and then … here’s the best part … do it all over again the next day. If I could only live EVERY DAY just like that!
Included in the base price o$1650 per hunter are in-country transportation, accommodations, meals and hunt services. Extras include shells, hunting licenses, gun permits or rental, incidental purchases at the lodge, extra services (such as massage, etc.) and tips. Tomas Frontera understands the importance of introducing young people to hunting and offers a special deal for parents bringing kids to hunt. An adult paying full price can bring a son or daughter (under age 24) for free. Additional sons or daughters can come at 50% off! (Naturally, this does not include the “extra” expenses.)
By the time you include airfare and extras, is it a cheap trip? Certainly not.
But it is on the economical side compared to a full-service resort-style vacation. And best of all you don’t just go lay on the beach for days on end! This vacation includes wall-to-wall wingshooting – as much as you want!
So, again “Who wants to go to Argentina?” Leave a comment and let us know.