Hunting, for me, was never a “dad thing,” where I was the hunter and dragged the family along. From the time the kids were old enough to shoot, in the early 1990s, we hunted as a family. This was our second out-of-country family hunt, and the destination was Argentina – to shoot doves and ducks. Now, there are lots of doves and ducks in the United States; one might ask why someone would travel to another country to hunt them. The answer is simply more shooting; there are more birds and fewer hunters in Argentina. The daily limit of ducks is 25 and there is no daily limit for doves.
There are best times and ok times to hunt doves in Argentina. Their fall, our spring, is usually the best time; but with the kids in school, the window was limited to our summertime, which was winter down there. It’s cooler then, with a bit more chance of rain; fine weather for duck hunting, but it does slow the dove hunting down a bit. Cold, damp weather can also affect the reliability of semi-automatic shotguns – this was the case with the Remington Model 1100s we took on this hunt.
It’s doubtful that anyone goes to Argentina just to shoot ducks, but they were an interesting part of our combination hunt there. We hunted in chest waders – wading into the potholes and sitting in makeshift blinds. For the most part the duck species are similar but different in Argentina (no mallards); and the ducks migrate to the south, rather than the north. The shooting was mostly passing overhead shots, but our guides put out a few decoys and some ducks showed interest and came close enough for a shot.
Now the doves were the primary reason we scheduled this trip – high volume dove shooting is at its very best in Argentina. Dove hunting is the easiest for the outfitters to organize, because there are so many doves and they reproduce multiple times each year. Hunting pressure doesn’t seem to impact their flying patterns; and because the farmers consider them a pest, it’s easy to find a place to hunt.
Pigeons were a small bonus on this trip. They weren’t in great numbers, but flew between the tall trees on the estate, along with a few doves. We didn’t need blinds, but simply stood in the open area, between the trees, and shot at everything within range.