In November 2011, I had the pleasure of an Argentina dove hunt with Ramiro Allende of Puelo Expeditions. I’ve known Ramiro for quite a few years from his visits to the United States to attend hunting trade shows. I like Ramiro and he’s been very persuasive in his attempts to get me to hunt with him. Finally, the opportunity came up and I said “yes!” I’ve hunted doves in Argentina before and had a great time shooting an enormous volume of birds over 3 days. Ramiro kept telling me that his place was different – he had “balconies”. Yeah, I thought, what does that mean? When I visited Argentina previously with another outfitter, the dove hunting was very much like dove hunting in South Texas – just many many more birds – but the terrain was very similar – flat lands with moderately high brush lines and open fields. Ramiro’s place – Puelo Expeditions – was different – he has balconies! It was an Argentina dove hunt of a lifetime!
Argentina Dove Hunt Balconies
I’ve hunted doves in Texas since I was in my teens – mostly in Texas where the terrain is mostly flat with brush lines and water holes. Ramiro has that as well if you want but he has something even more fun – balconies. What are balconies? Great question. Ramiro’s family ranch in Cordoba is in a more rugged area with large hills that are as little as a couple hundred feet high to some that are several thousand feet high. Ramiro has built shooting stations for his Argentina dove hunt with blinds are various altitudes on the sides of the hills – thus – balconies! No matter how high the doves are flying or what you shooting skills, Ramiro can put you on the birds at an easy, close range with a horizontal shot, a moderately difficult range with a slightly elevated shot or a more difficult range with shots directly overhead of consistently beneath your feet. The balconies are simply cleared areas on the sides of the hills are differing altitudes with convenient brush blinds. This is something that we seldom experience in the United States – not to mention the thousands of birds that fly almost all day long.
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Long Range Argentina Dove Hunt
The doves tend to fly heavier in the morning and afternoon as they migrate to and from the grain fields where they feed during the day. Nevertheless, they will fly all day long and they will fly in numbers sufficient to shoot thousands of shells each day on your Argentina dove hunt if your shoulder and back can stand the punishment. I used one (actually several, I wore a couple out) of Ramiro’s Beretta 20ga semi automatics and was allowed to vary the chokes as I saw fit. I typically shoot a 28ga over/under but was very pleased with Ramiro’s weapons. I was stunned at the performance of the 20ga with a full choke – consistently knocking birds down at greater than 40 yards. Another advantage to shooting from a balcony is the increase in height of the birds – lends itself nicely to very long falls with very long trajectories – something we seldom see in the United States.
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High Overhead Shots from the Balconies
I’m a better than average shooter and enjoy the more challenging shots. I spent time in all of the various stations sampling the variety of distances and angles that Ramiro has to offer. My favorite spot was high overhead shots on incoming and crossing birds. A note of caution though, this type of shooting does tend to wear you out quicker than typical horizontal shooting. This was my favorite part of my Argentina dove hunt.
Lunch and a Siesta on my Argentina Dove Hunt
I’m as rugged as the next guy but I do enjoy creature comforts – and Ramiro knows how to put on a lunch spread – not to mention the fine dining each evening when we returned to the lodge. Each day we enjoyed a delicious, freshly prepared lunch with a variety of meats, vegetable and pastries in the shade of the trees. We followed out lunch with a little siesta but honestly, it was tough to sleep as the birds continued to fly overhead while we were resting. I was in for a short nap to rest my muscles but I declined much sleep since I was there for an Argentina dove hunt – not siestas.
Pigeons on an Argentina Dove Hunt
There are several varieties of pigeons that you will see during your Argentina dove hunt. While there are specific pigeon hunts, you can also find them in among the doves. You can easily recognize them by their size. They are easily three to five times as big as a dove and look like an optical illusion when you see them flying amongst the other doves. They were a little harder to kill, sometimes taking 2 rounds so Iw as quick to spot them to provide me with plenty of opportunity to knock them down.
Dove Hunting from the Balconies
The vertical shots from the middle balconies were my favorites and I found myself returning to those balconies frequently. This was my favorite location during my Argentina dove hunt. Ramiro’s family ranch is a rugged place but he’s done a wonderful job of building cleared areas to hunt from with easy to walk trails between them. Again, the variety of places to shoot along with varying ranges made jhunting with Ramiro a magical adventure.
Argentina Dove Hunt Lodge
No matter what, you do need a place to sleep and eat during your Argentina dove hunt and Ramiro sets a new standard. I’ve stayed in some very nice lodges before. That said, staying with Ramiro was like being treat as an honored guest in his home. The lodge where we stayed was immaculate and nestled in among a large grove of trees with small creeks running throughout the property. The meals were top notch, the scenery was beautiful and relaxing and the service was impeccable.
Summary of an Argentina Dove Hunt from the Balconies
An Argentina dove hunt from the balconies was a very unique and tremendously enjoyable experience. You can easily shoot several thousand rounds during a single day and having a variety of places to see and shoot from adds a spice to a dove hunt that I’ve never experienced before. Ramiro has built balconies at many different altitudes with a variety of shooting ranges and angles. The doves are too many to count and there are occasional pigeons to spice things up. No matter your shooting skills or attention span, Ramiro has something unique to offer. Finally, shooting several thousands doves is hard work and staying at Ramiro’s lodge is to be treated as an honored guest in his own home. If you’re going on an Argentina dove hunt, do yourself a favor and go with Ramiro at Puelo Expeditions.