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Gary Lewis Outdoorsman Podcast S4 E121

Gary Lewis Outdoorsman

Listen to Rancho Cristobal’s founder James Jenkinson discuss dove and wingshooting in spring in Argentina on the Gary Lewis Outdoorsman Podcast.


Speaker 3: 0:27

You’ve found a podcast called Gary Lewis Outdoorsman, and this is where we talk about hunting around the west and around the world. And today we go back to Argentina and we’re gonna talk to James Jenkinson from Rancho Cristobal . Did I get that right, James?

Speaker 4: 0:49

Yep . That’s, that’s , uh, that’s dead . Right .

Speaker 3: 0:52

All right. So when I love talking to you, because you remind me of my friends from New Zealand. So tell me , uh, tell me your story a little bit.

Speaker 4: 1:03

So, yeah, so I’m from New Zealand , uh, born and bred. Uh, grew up hunting and fishing like , uh, most New Zealanders, and then , uh, left New Zealand. Uh , I managed to get a scholarship to study in, in , in Berkeley, in America. And , uh, then went into the corporate life for a long time. And then , um, during that I used to go , uh, Whiteman hunting , uh, in, in Mexico and , uh, in August. And so I got a little bit of a taste for, you know, shooting , shooting Dove in Mexico. And then during that , uh, we had a lot of stories of fellow hunters that, that were shooting insane amount of dove down here in Argentina. And I didn’t really think that much of it. But after Mexico shut down, because of all the problems with the cartels , uh, we started coming to, to Argentina in , in, I think 2007, 2008. And it was just unbelievable. I fell in love with it is , is the first time I came down here. I came every year and then a few years ago , um, I managed to sell my share of , of the company that I helped build in , in London. And since then I’ve been, basically the last two and a half years I’ve been building this, this lodge here in Argentina that’s , uh, really focused on high volume dove , um, pigeon as well. And then in the wintertime we also have , uh, duck and padis , which is a type of partridge,

Speaker 3: 2:36

Partridge partridge. Okay. S So before we go any farther, how can people find you Instagram, Facebook. Tell us, tell us how people find you.

Speaker 4: 2:47

Uh , so , so all the different platforms on Rancho Crystal be , you can find on Instagram, Facebook, myself , uh, on the web , it’s www rancho . And my email

Speaker 3: 3:02

And then the Instagram handle, what’s your Instagram handle? Yeah ,

Speaker 4: 3:08

It’s , uh, at Rancho Kristabell Lodge.

Speaker 3: 3:10

Okay. And so that’s R-A-N-C-H-O-C-R-I-S-T-O-B-A-L-Y.

Speaker 4: 3:20

Yeah . It doesn’t have , yeah . Correct. That’s correct. Yeah .

Speaker 3: 3:23

Okay. Well, you told me that you’ve born, you’re born on the north island, the south end of the north island, and you’ve lived in San Francisco, New York, London, Portland, Seattle. So what that tells me is you found a place you want to live. Tell me why.

Speaker 4: 3:53

Um, so yeah, I had , I got to travel with my job all over the world, and , um, when I had the opportunity to, to start this venture, as I said, roughly two and a half years ago , um, it’s just Argentina is very unique, right? It reminds me a little bit of, of my home country of New Zealand. But , uh, you know, with the , the quality of the, the food and obviously the, the wine and the hunting you can pretty much hunt. It’s similar to a lot of places in Africa. You know, you can, you can hunt so many different species. And of course our, our our sort of favorites or our focus is on high volume dove shooting, where , you know, you can, you can shoot over a thousand a day, no problem at all,

Speaker 3: 4:48

Unless you’re a bad shot.

Speaker 4: 4:50

Unless you’re a bad shot, then you can stay out a little bit longer. <laugh>

Speaker 3: 4:54

<laugh> . Okay. You, you’ve educated me. I have a lot of friends who go to Argentina and hunt doves and ducks, and I’ve been as far south as Mexico hunting doves and ducks and then hunted rabbits down in Chile, <laugh>, and when I was fly fishing down there. But you talked about the impact on the growing dove population, its impact on the Argentinian economy and the global food supply chain. And then the light bulb kind of went on for me about what’s, what’s going on with the doves and the pigeons. Why don’t you describe where it is that your lodge is located?

Speaker 4: 5:57

So we’re located in, in the middle of, of a province of Santa Fe , uh, which is between , uh, on the western side, we have the province of <inaudible> , which is historically has been the home of high volume dove for the best part of 20 years. There’s, there’s up to 25 lodges that have been hunting dove there for 20 years. And in recent times because of the, because of the dependents on corn , corn and soy and cova , and the effect of climate change. Um, and obviously the number of lodges that are there , um, a lot of the dove are moving. And , um, 15 years ago there were very few dove here where we are, and now we’re overrun with dove. And , um, you know , the , we’re , we’re the only lodge within , uh, 200 kilometers , uh, in any direction, pretty much. And the farmers are coming to us asking for help basically. Because as I, as I said to you before, Gary , it’s just like when, when some of these crops are planted, the dove take a whole lot in , in a day or two, right? It’s just insane . Right? So farmers are just , uh, and al also the impact of , uh, you know , the Argentine economy is struggling and , uh, one of the big exports is , or the , probably the biggest export is agriculture, and that’s the one of the only ways they could get us dollars. And , uh, so the impact of, of Dov and , and Cova , um, here in Santa Fe and also into REOs and , and Charco and San Dro . It is, it’s massive. And , um, and as I said, farmers are really struggling and they’re coming to us for help. And , um, we’re, you know , we’ll do our best to help them and trying to control the dove population because the dove have , uh, three to four , um, uh,

Speaker 3: 7:55


Speaker 4: 7:56

Hatches per year. Yeah. Uh , it’s a lot.

Speaker 3: 8:00

That is a lot. That blows my mind. Three to four hatches a year. Yeah.

Speaker 4: 8:06

If , if you compare that to , to duck or pigeon that do that have one . Yeah. Uh , if, if the conditions are right , they could have at least, they could grow by eight times per year.

Speaker 3: 8:17

So you think there’s 20 million dos in the roosts in your area. It ,

Speaker 4: 8:25

It’s always hard to describe. Right. So we, we can’t really count them. They’re not like , uh, Hulk hunting or bread stag or anything like that. Right. But , um, when the dove leaves the roost in the morning, they all go the same direction, and it’s literally black with Dove. It , it’s insane. I’m going out , um, uh, going out this afternoons with some scouting and do some shooting in the morning. And in the morning you can’t shoot because there’s too many dove leaving because you just dunno where to aim , basically . And if you don’t aim , um, you generally don’t, you know, you , you’re not successful. So yeah, we think there’s, there’s at least 15 million here, and as I said, there’s no hunting pressure, so we’re their only lodge , uh, in this whole area. So they grow population wise . It’s crazy. Right . So , um, yeah, as I said, we’re, we’re, we’ll do our best to try and help out the farmers because end of the day the farming community is the number one , um, export for Argentina.

Speaker 3: 9:30

Yeah. What, what’s the timing for the hunts that you do?

Speaker 4: 9:38

So it’s, it’s a little bit different from some of the other regions of Argentina. Typically , um, in the mornings we’ll go out, literally a first light when the dove are hungry and they typically go out to to drink, and then they go out to eat. So first light in the morning, and then the afternoons , uh, would typically go out, it’s like three o’clock in the afternoon. And, you know , hunters usually shoot for, you know, two, two and a half hours, three hours depending on, you know , uh, the conditions and, and how long they wanna shoot for and how long they’re staying here at the lodge. But traditionally it’s sort of, you know, 4, 5, 6 hours a day shooting at a high volume. Right. So it’s quite , um, uh, you know, there’s a lot of stress on the body with , uh, with the amount of shots that you take.

Speaker 3: 10:31

Okay. So you provide shotguns for most of your guests?

Speaker 4: 10:35

Yeah. So when, when , uh, yeah, it’s much easier for us than we have the guns here. Uh, you can bring guns into the country, but it’s quite a hassle. Uh, there’s, it costs a lot of money. You have to get , um, you have to get an authorization from your local, from the Argentine consulate in your country. And then going through the airports you have to wait hours and hours to get , uh, to get your guns through. So it’s much easier to, to use our guns. And , um, rather than bringing your own guns into the country,

Speaker 3: 11:08

What are your guns?

Speaker 4: 11:11

So typically for high volume dove, we use , uh, 20 cal or 20 gauge , um, uh, semi-automatics. Um, some people use 20 eights as 28 gauge as well. Mm-Hmm . Um, but typically we use 2020 gauge five shop Benelli . Similar , my next shotguns .

Speaker 3: 11:34

Yeah. I know if I brought, I have, I have shotguns I love, but I know if I brought them I would wear them out and I would wanna just leave them there <laugh>. So it sounds like the Benelli is the hands down favorite.

Speaker 4: 11:49

Yeah, you know, you , we , there’s two guns which are favorite here, which is the , uh, Elli , uh, which has five shots versus the Beretta , which are better on the over and under , um, but only have four shots. So if you’re doing high volume, the Benelli is far and away the , the best number . ’cause you are , you know, the , you’re shooting, you know, some people here, you know , shoot two, three , 4,000 a day, and the wear and tear on the guns is extreme .

Speaker 3: 12:18

Yeah. How long do the guns last?

Speaker 4: 12:24

Uh , it depends on how well they’re maintained . So , um, there’s been a problem here historically with getting all the parts into the country. So a lot of the springs , uh, wear out. But , um, Argentines are very , uh, are very good at figuring things out. So these days they make all their own parts here within the country, so, oh, okay. Um, these guns last a long time. It’s if, if you are getting Benelli or Berettas , these things are , uh, are made for this environment, they rip out . Mm-Hmm . <affirmative> .

Speaker 3: 12:56

Okay. So what , uh, what’s your , uh, peak month and when do people start arriving and when does the shooting end in the season?

Speaker 4: 13:08

So for , for Dove, there’s no season, so part of the reason why I decided to make this investment is it’s , uh, you can hunt Dove 12 months of the year. Okay . Uh, as well as pigeon. Um, and then obviously for D and pdi , it’s , uh, it’s May through August. Um, but yeah, there’s no, there’s no real season and , uh, it sort of differs between , uh, do you wanna hunt when it’s hot or do you wanna hunt when it’s a little bit cooler? So , oh , I see . So you wanna hunt when it’s hot. November through March. April’s pretty hot down here. Uh, and then obviously it’s a little bit cooler during the winter, so it’s really the , the dove, it doesn’t really matter in terms of how much you wanna , how much you wanna shoe , um, dove and Pigeon is, it’s the same throughout the year. Um , it just depends on your preference and, you know, your holiday schedule and, and whatever, whatever else is going on. But it, it doesn’t make a difference.

Speaker 3: 14:07

Do you ever have somebody show up and they’ve never shot before? Yeah,

Speaker 4: 14:12

We actually had that , uh, had that recently where we’ve had , uh, either father son or or grandfather, grandson that would come and sometimes the, the , the , the kids haven’t shot before, so it happens. Um, usually people have shot some sort of , uh, birds before. But , um, yeah, as I said, we’ve had a case where actually I, I went and shop with them to give them a little bit of a tutorial on, on how to shoot Dove because Dove moved fast. Right. So Dove move about 60 miles an hour, so you have to, you have to have a little bit of practice with it to be able to shoot them properly.

Speaker 3: 14:53

So you have white wing doves, right?

Speaker 4: 14:55

No, we have a air dove, which is a lot smaller than a white wing . Oh . So yeah , they’re , they’re very small and very fast. And , uh, white Wing is, is up north of Mexico. We have a smaller version down here. Okay. Um, that , uh, as I said is , it’s, it’s, it’s probably half the size of the white

Speaker 3: 15:17

One. Yeah. Okay. So I’ve seen a , a small , uh, dove in Hawaii. Maybe it’s the size of that for Yeah , yeah,

Speaker 4: 15:30

Yeah. Now the small, so from a, from a , a shooting perspective , um, it’s sort of a , it’s a double whammy because you’ve got a wide wing and a little bit more like pigeon where, you know, they, you have to really, you know, they , they take a little bit of effort to shoot them, whereas the white wing , uh, sorry, the , the air do , which we have here is much faster, but they go down a bit bit easier.

Speaker 3: 15:57

So I think from what I gather from the people that I know who do this every single year, it’s the hospitality that keeps them coming back . And how do I, I know this is where your two favorite things intersect, hunting and hospitality, and man, I , I get that. Um, but how do you treat people there?

Speaker 4: 16:27

So , um, so the great thing about when you come to these, these lodges , um, for the most part they’re all inclusive. So you pay a daily rate and , uh, everything you eat and drink is included. Um, and what I always enjoyed it when I was a client is that when you, when you fly into Bons Aires , you spend a day turn Bon Aires , go to some restaurants, you take taxes everywhere to pay for everything. Of course, when you come to the lodge, everything is taken care of. You don’t have to think , uh, you have someone that looks after you. I’m obviously the owner of rancher, crystal ball , but I’m also, I will go hunting with clients. I also , uh, you know , eat with clients. And , uh, it’s, it’s, it’s just , um, a really immersive experience where you come to this place you looked after hand and foot , you know, and you have some of the, the , well , but I think I’ve been living here for a long time now, so my food supply chain is very good. So you have the best, best food, the best wine we can, we can get in Argentina, and you just have a great time. It , it’s , it’s not, it’s not that complicated, but in order to deliver it, it actually takes a lot of work.

Speaker 3: 17:42

Yeah, I can imagine. So you having lived and worked in San San Francisco, New York, London, how do the ingredients that are available to you differ in Argentina from the ingredients that you might have encountered in San Francisco or New York?

Speaker 4: 18:05

So it’s, it’s different in the sense that I don’t have a , a whole foods close to me, right. <laugh> Okay . Where I can go to Whole Foods and get every single thing from, from fish to seafood to everything that could be flown in from around the world. Um, here we obviously are renowned for, for beef , uh, which is, which is insane. Um, but everything’s local. So my whole supply chain was , is within a hundred kilometers. Okay . Also, I have a huge garden here at the lodge where we grow all of our vegetables. Um, so it , it sort of takes you back to probably when we were young, Gary, because Uhhuh we’re smaller ages and that you eat more seasonal ingredients apart from, for all the vegetables and , and all the aromatics and everything else. So , um, because obviously you can’t fly anything into the , literally we’re in the middle of, of South America. Yeah . So the food is, is, is seasonal. Um, our beef supplier , the factory is 70 kilometers away from the lodge, so everything is is very close. And , um, it’s so super tasty because we don’t have to worry about, you know , all of the pesticides and herbicides and, and stuff that we don’t freeze. You know, you don’t have to send stuff frozen, so everything is dead fresh. We obviously age all of our meat, but , um, apart from that, everything is, is very fresh.

Speaker 3: 19:35

Okay. Um, what about the wheat, the wheat flour? How is that different than

Speaker 4: 19:41

It’s not that much different? Uh, down here we have, because what’s interesting about Argentina is it’s, it speaks Spanish, but it should be Italian, right? So you have a huge, huge Italian of influence down here. So we have , um, a huge range of, of, of wheat flour . And obviously , um, Argentina , uh, wheat production is the fourth biggest of, of the different agricultural productions here. So it’s a huge industry. So everything is, is extremely local.

Speaker 3: 20:15

So these doves, they can wipe out a crop, is that right?

Speaker 4: 20:21

Yeah, so it depends. It depends. The worst, the worst part is when farmers , uh, first plant the crops. Mm . Uh , that is the biggest trouble. Um, and if the dove get hold of it , as I said to you before, it’s, you can lose thousands of tons of seeds in literally days. Right. And so that’s the, the first problem. The second problem is, especially when you look at sorghum and, and sunflowers, it gets closer to , uh, harvest time. Obviously the seeds are quite nutritious, so the, the dove and the pigeon can really attack it. And that , that’s probably the two biggest. Also, when the harvest take place, there’s a lot of waste on the floor. Um, last year we had a big problem actually with, with some of the crops, because we had a bit of a drought last year. Some of the, the corn crops did not get , uh, harvested. They just got felled and used for, for , um, for feed, for the, for the cows. And , uh, the dove had a great time ’cause um , because there was so much, so much corn and stuff left on the ground. It was, it was insane.

Speaker 3: 21:32

How do you stage hunters around a field?

Speaker 4: 21:37

Um, so it depends on what we’re hunting, but typically we’ll be what we call the dove highways, which are to and from the roost . So we’ve, we’re figuring out where they’re eating or where they’re going to , um, uh, to drink water. And we pick a place in between. And then we’ll typically put hunters, it depends on how many hunters. So it’s good to have four or five hunters , uh, hunting at one place where they usually have them about 60, 70 meters between them just for safety as well. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> . Um, because if you have a group of hunters, they can sort of, they can sort of , um, uh, when the dove come, they can sort of , uh, help each other out in terms of , um, fanning the dove towards them a little bit. So yeah . So usually we’ll have , yeah, 60, 70 meters between them. And , uh, and then depending on the number of hunters, if we’re having, we’re probably like, we’ve got groups of sort of eight, nine people, we’ll probably split them up into two different groups and put them into two different areas , um, uh, just to make sure that , um, you know, they have a great experience.

Speaker 3: 22:47

Yeah. Okay. So the crops are sunflowers, sorghum, winter, wheat, corn, alfalfa, millet , and then, then cow pastures. And I know that doves like to show up in cow pastures too.

Speaker 4: 23:03

<laugh>. Well , we call them feedlots, right? So yeah,

Speaker 3: 23:06

Feedlots, right?

Speaker 4: 23:07

Yeah. So , um, the, one of my, my , uh, place, I’m actually gonna go shoot this afternoon is, is a feedlot, a small feedlot, not like a big American feedlot. Basically it’s, it’s a maybe a , I don’t know , 500 feet by 500 feet where , uh, farmers bring bales in each day. And the , the dove love the seed because they’re really, really nutritious, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> . And , um, and we typically like to shoot there. We do do some more traditional feedlot shoots, but , uh, they’re more for pigeon who are , uh, who tend to like to go to the more traditional feedlots of, I don’t know , they’re small compared in the us but maybe a hundred , a hundred cows, 200 cows that will be used in the feedlot. And uh, uh, uh, pigeon are quite lazy. So they <laugh> they tend to , uh, they tend to feed on the easiest , uh, areas that they can go.

Speaker 3: 24:04

Okay. And then what do, what are some of the unexpected things that happen that, I mean, unexpected that maybe you expect, but the, the hunter, the traveling hunter doesn’t expect?

Speaker 4: 24:21

Um, I think , uh, if I, if I look at dove, it’s the sheer numbers, right? Yeah . So it’s just like when , when I was shooting in Mexico for doing wild wing , you know, we would shoot 20 or 30 a day, you know , uh, you know, down here you could shoot, if you really want to set some sort of record, you could shoot a thousand dozen an hour, right? Mm . It’s just the you , for Dave , it’s like, you dunno where to look, right? It’s just, they’re just everywhere. And if they’re flying, if they’re all flying out to a crawl pool , they’re all going in the same direction. It’s insane pigeon. We have , um, it’s quite unique. We have pigeon and a lot of our clients really enjoyed mixing up the dove shoot with a , a pigeon shoot because we put these, what we call these spinners out, where we put a couple of a pigeon on them, and all of a sudden the , the pigeon flight , and we , we set them about 30 meters in front of , uh, uh, some tall trees. And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, these pigeon come flying straight over the trees and down to the, to the decoys. And it’s so exciting. It’s , uh, it’s, it’s , um, uh, people love it. I, I love it as well , uh, to shoot pigeon with these , uh, spinning decoys. It’s , it’s a lot of fun. And it’s a great , uh, a great , uh, experience when a very different experience to shooting dove, which, which move and fly in very different direction.

Speaker 3: 25:51

We did a European style driven hunt for pheasant just a few days ago, and my dog is 10 years old, and this was her 100th hunt. So my, my deal with her was that we would hunt 10 times a season together for birds. And so this was her 100th hunt in her life, and it could be maybe the last one that I take her on. Um, and ’cause of where she’s at and the , they’re just coming off the cliff, you know, and the dog, we have her on a lead or, or in a wire cage, and she’s just amazed. She’d never seen anything like this, that she, she’ll watch the bird , she sees it gets hit and it lands right next to the cage and , you know, she’s freaking out and yiping and , uh, it is like a , it’s like her very best dreams come true. It’s like a , the riches of the skies are, are falling at her feet. And, and because of her condition right now, she can’t smell very well, but she knows where the birds landed . So she’s running out, you know, through the sagebrush trying to, trying to find them and pick ’em up. Uh, but if I’m with somebody and they’ve never shot birds before, I say pick, pick a spot, you know, focus on the beak or focus on the eye. Do you tell people that?

Speaker 4: 27:21

Yeah, so I , I’ve done the same , um, I’ve done a lot of ridge hunting in the UK we do the driven shoots, right? And , and it’s, it’s basically similar to that, but the birds don’t stop coming. Right. So they don’t come in waves like they do when they’re driven. Yeah . They just keep coming nonstop. Yeah . And so , uh, the most important thing here , ’cause the , the dove fly fast, is you have to, you can either, there’s two types of shooting. You can either pick a , uh, pick a spot in front of the bird, or you can sort of lead in terms of shooting. So there’s different ways and, and it also depends on how far away the birds are. So as that , if you’re shooting quite close, then you can pick a spot. But the better way, if you’ve been a perfectionist and you think you , if you wanna try and shoot over 80% accuracy, you’ve gotta learn to be able a lead quite a lot because the go move really, really fast.

Speaker 3: 28:14

Yeah. Do people tell you that they went home and they were better shots at home? Or, or do they fall apart and have to come back and practice the work

Speaker 4: 28:26

<laugh> ? Well , um, uh, I think the, the answer is because you get so much practice here when you shoot high volume, yeah. You get, you get much better because like, I’ve had clients here that probably , uh, if they’re coming for, for three or four days, which is the normal time people are here, they, they start out at so 30, 40% accuracy, and then by the end of it, they can get up to 60 no problem. Because you’re shooting so much. It’s not like, it’s not like duck or, or a duck especially, right? Where you might shoot 10 or 20 in a day, or partridge or here you , it’s, it’s unlimited. So naturally you get a lot of practice.

Speaker 3: 29:08

Mm . Man. Okay. So then you shoot in the morning, you come back and have lunch. Uh , is there time to hit a swimming pool or the hot tub or what , how’s that work?

Speaker 4: 29:22

It de Yeah, that depends on the time of year, but , um, um, yeah, so we have both, we have a big 50 meter cold pool and a big jacuzzi here. So typically they’ll come back and , um, and we would , uh, have lunch and then they would choose to either , uh, have a siesto or relaxed by the pool. Um, and then, you know, as I said, depending on the , on , on the, on the season , um, right now we would go out, like literally today we’ll go out like three o’clock and come back about six o’clock. Um, and then there’s time for typically be people like to go on the jacuzzi because there’s all the wear and tear on the shoulder if you’re shooting. Oh , yeah . A lot of rounds. Yeah. So people like to get on the jacuzzi and relax and then have a shower and have dinner, and then , uh, go from there.

Speaker 3: 30:11

Okay. What if somebody needs a massage?

Speaker 4: 30:14

We can, we have a treatment room. So I built a , I built a part of my facility here is we have a big German treatment room to take care of hunter’s shoulders, basically.

Speaker 3: 30:25

You got a big German guy in there to work on people.

Speaker 4: 30:28

We have a big Argentine <laugh> . We have both . We have both. So some people prefer guys and some people prefer the girls. Ah ,

Speaker 3: 30:37

There you go .

Speaker 4: 30:39

We have , we have both on stop . My , uh, the guy that we have is , uh, ex Argentine champion bodybuilder. So there’s , uh, there’s no problem with strength.

Speaker 3: 30:48

Oh , I gotcha . Okay. Um, what about horseback riding? Is that something available?

Speaker 4: 30:55

Yeah, so we have, we have about, I have about 300 acres here , uh, and , and where my lodge is located. So we’ve got a bunch of horses here. In fact, I had a, a client here last week and she went horse riding. Um, so yeah, there’s not a problem. We can, we can arrange that in 10 minutes.

Speaker 3: 31:17

When, when I , uh, fished off horseback in Chile, I was struck , uh, the size of the horses , uh, was different than what I’m used to back home. And the saddles, the tack was all just a little bit different. The , the stirrups were carved out of wood, and there was this strong gaucho culture. I’m sure it’s the same way there, right?

Speaker 4: 31:43

It’s , it’s , it’s even more so here in Argentina. Yeah . The gaucho culture here is, especially because we’re in the agricultural heartland, right? So most farms would have gauchos and with their horses and a number of dogs that patrol the, the fences. Uh, we also have a lot of puma here. So the , the gauchos have to be careful in case they’re losing livestock to puma. So, okay . Um, yeah, it’s extremely strong here. Uh , and, and my business partner here , uh, who has the horses, he is probably, you could call him a gacho if you like, <laugh>.

Speaker 3: 32:23

Um, with the, you, you talked about the corn harvest where the doves were actually flying into each other in midair. There’s so many of them .

Speaker 4: 32:38

Yeah. I , I have to send you the video of it. It , it’s insane to, to watch. I would , I was there with a, with a friend of mine in these , in these fields, and literally you just hear this, this pops and the , the dove hitting each other. We , we were like trying to figure out how many dove we were thinking in a couple of fields . There must have been three, 4 million dove . It was just blackwood do . And it’s just like, you know, and, and the, the farmers were literally harvesting at that time. And God knows, you know, I said earlier that, you know, it’s, it’s not quite as bad when the harvesting, but, but that many dove it’s hard to say they’re not losing , uh, you know, a , a decent percentage of the, the harvest to the dove at that .

Speaker 3: 33:24

Do you try to time your appearance in each field so that it maximizes the benefit for the farmer then?

Speaker 4: 33:34

Yeah, I sort of, we have, we have a , a couple of different , uh, types of hunts, right? So we, if we know the , the farmers are harvesting and they tell us, okay, we’re, we’re harvesting on these days, you would , we can go and do those types of hunts, which tend to be a bit more chaotic ’cause the D are moving in every possible direction. Whereas the more traditional , uh, hunts are when the dove are , are leaving the roos and either going to, you know, going to a field, you know, 10, 20 kilometers away, or they’re going to , uh, a rivers or lakes that we have, which is more of a consistent sort of flow of dove. Mm . Uh , it does vary. The, the, the , the harvest hunt suggests that it’s just pure chaos.

Speaker 3: 34:21

<laugh>. Okay. Literally

Speaker 4: 34:24

<laugh> .

Speaker 3: 34:25

Do you, do you look at these, are these doves viewed as an invasive species?

Speaker 4: 34:31

Yeah, they’re not native to argent. They’re not native. I think they , they come from up north , uh, more towards Central America, but uh , obviously they’re mainly here in Argentina. They’re also in , in Uruguay . But in this central bout of Argentina, which is , uh, absolute agricultural powerhouse. And also here we have huge lakes and huge rivers. And also they live in mesquite. And these trees that are , have extremely sharp needles. Right. And so predators can’t get to them.

Speaker 3: 35:07


Speaker 4: 35:07

So it’s this , this, they have the habitat, they have the food. They, they have the water, and they thrive unless they’ve been overshot or they have lack of water, then they just , uh, they reproduce, as I said, like crazy.

Speaker 3: 35:26

Man, it boggles the mind. Okay. Um, what about Spanish lessons? Can somebody learn, learn the language a little bit better?

Speaker 4: 35:36

Yeah. Uh , along with me as I was , I have a , we have a , I have a full-time , uh, translator who’s also teaching me Spanish. So yeah, it’s , uh, a lot of people, a lot of people actually, especially if you’re in the, from the southern states of America, they, they, they do speak some Spanish. Um, but yeah , uh, we can, we offer Spanish lessons here at the lodge. Um, that’s , uh, no problem at all.

Speaker 3: 36:05

So the Perez that’s a partridge is probably like what we would call a French partridge. It looks quite a bit like a chucker. Am I right about that?

Speaker 4: 36:13

Yeah, it’s, it’s , it’s quite small. Uh, we have a , a a couple of different types, but generally they are very small. Um, and we would hunt with, we’ve got a couple of very fast dogs that we, we hunt with here. Um, um, so do

Speaker 3: 36:28

They point them?

Speaker 4: 36:30

Yeah, they point them or either flush them or point them ? Yeah. Um , but , uh, yeah, and the , the of all the, so of all the, the duck , the pigeon, the , the , the , um, and the dove, the padis are just fantastic to eat. They’re probably the , by far the best.

Speaker 3: 36:50

Right. You probably have the gray partridge too, the Hungarian partridge.

Speaker 4: 36:54

We have a red part , a big red partridge as well. So we have three different types. Oh, okay.

Speaker 3: 36:59


Speaker 4: 37:00

Okay . A gold partridge.

Speaker 3: 37:01

And then what kind of ducks do you have?

Speaker 4: 37:03

We have a lot. So there’s like 12 different species of duck that, that , uh, oh man, that come to this part . There’s three that you can sort of legally shoot. Um, but there’s a huge variety of, of , of duck here.

Speaker 3: 37:18

Do you have any of the tree ducks?

Speaker 4: 37:21

No, we don’t. No , not , not . Um , maybe we do because this is a really big place, but in <laugh> Santa Fe, we don’t <laugh>.

Speaker 3: 37:30

Okay. Yeah. I gotcha . Okay. What airport do we fly into then?

Speaker 4: 37:35

So all , well , for the most part, most people will fly into Bon Esa , which is the, which is the , the big international airport. And then , uh, uh, take another flight from the domestic airport, which is about a 50 minute flight to , uh, to Santa Fe. And then we would pick clients up from Santa Fe and bring them from a lodge , bring them to , to the lodge, and then deliver them back to Santa Fe.

Speaker 3: 37:59

Okay. And how far from the Santa Fe airport to your lodge?

Speaker 4: 38:07

So we’re about hour and a half, two hours , uh, depending on the traffic. So it’s , it’s a little bit, little bit longer than some of the other lodges. A lot of people can also fly private. So they can take like a , like a Cessna caravan from, from Bon Airs direct to San Creta be , which is the local town. Uh , some other people take jets from America and they can land about an hour away from here. Oh, nice . Um , but, but then we’re a little bit more off grid than some of the other places, but then we’re very close to the hunt. So yeah , our local , the , the , the , the most , uh, local hunt is five minutes away. And our big, our big roofs are 20, 30 minutes away from the lodge . So they’re , you know, it’s, they’re pretty close compared to some of the, some of the , um, some of the other lodges which can have longer drive times.

Speaker 3: 38:59

Where do the birds roost at at night? What is that like?

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