On May 8, several Dallas Safari Club members traveled to Cordoba, Argentina to hunt doves and pigeons with Sierra Brava outfitters.
It was a return trip for four hunters — Bob Harper, Dr. Conrad Speece, Kathy Speece and Dr. Jim Speece — and an eagerly anticipated experience for the four newcomers — Dr. Mike Jones, Robert Jones, Dr. Andy Gauthier and Richard Huff.
Sierra Brava Lodge and hunting grounds are about an hour and a half drive from Cordoba, the “hub” city for wing shooting in Argentina. The roost is approximately 5 miles wide, 10 miles long, and is estimated to contain as many as 50,000,000 doves. The birds are a plague to the local farming community and you are encouraged to kill as many as possible. Under normal to ideal conditions each female bird lays two eggs every 90 days, which causes the overpopulation problem.
There are 46 different fields Sierra Brava rotates between, never hunting the same place two days in a row. Our party shot dove for two days and then, on the morning of day three, shot decoying pigeons at a cattle feed lot. Each of the six hunters who did the pigeon shoot took their 100 bird limit in about two hours. The pigeons readily decoy and it reminds you of ducks coming into a spread of decoys. In three days the party of eight killed over 24,000 dove, with Dr. Conrad Speece the top gun with 3,000 kills in one day. All birds possible were picked up and distributed to local farming families and a nearby orphanage.
Some shared thoughts if you are planning a dove shooting trip to Argentina.
- Buenos Aires customs and gun clearance/registration is a big hassle. Transfer of airports is costly and time consuming. It is much better to fly DFW to Santiago, Chile and change planes with a brief layover and then on to Cordoba. Sierra Brava staff meets you at baggage claim and handles customs and gun registration for you.
- Four members of our group rented guns from the outfitter, and they experienced no malfunctions. Shoot 20-gauge shells. I personally shot my 28-gauge and was very pleased at its reach and killing ability. Argentina shells are very well made with only three or four misfires the entire three days for all eight shooters.
- Use a semi-auto if possible. Side by sides and over/unders take a toll on your shoulder and will spoil your trip by day two.
- Take your own gun if you want to. It costs $100 for a gun permit.
- Our trip was booked through Adventure Unlimited (John Barth-DSC member). Flight arrangements were made by Travel with Guns (Steve Turner-DSC member). They were very professional, handled all the details and I highly recommend them.
- We hunted in May, which is an ideal time. May or even late September are my preferred dates. Temperature is cool in the early morning, pleasant to hot in mid afternoon and cool at night.
- This was my 6th trip to South America to shoot birds. I have experience with four different outfitters and Sierra Brava is far and away the best value in Argentina.