Argentina Dove Hunting

Two hunters engaged in Argentina dove hunting.

Share Me!

My grandfather Louis was an avid sportsman. Whether locally, throughout the United States, or around the world, he spent an enormous amount of time pursuing his passions — hunting and fishing.

He wasn’t a blowhard who liked to tell tall tales about his adventures. Quite the opposite. He kept a small notebook in his pocket where he recorded all the wildlife he harvested.

When he told people he “shot 1,157 rabbits off his favorite dog Sam over a twelve-year period,” he wasn’t bragging, it was simply the number recorded in his little notebook.

It’s no wonder that he passed at least one of these passions, hunting, onto his son and grandsons.

Three generations of hunters outside.
Three generations of hunters. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

Like father, Like Son (and Grandsons)

My dad Owen and I discussed recreating some of these trips for years, but there never seemed to be a good time.

It wasn’t until I retired that we finally booked our Argentina dove hunting package.

We were ready, excited, and had our digital tickets in hand so to speak, and in a week, we were off to Córdoba, Argentina.

That is until this little setback called COVID came up. That’s right, a week before our big Argentina dove hunting trip, COVID lockdowns hit!

No problem. We told the dove hunting lodge and the airlines to reschedule us for June.

The weather might be a little cooler, but in the Spring of 2020, we didn’t expect the world to grind to a standstill for so long.

Unfortunately, it did. Eventually, the airline issued a refund and the dove hunting lodge said they’d hold our deposit indefinitely.

We could’ve canceled and picked another of the many lodges around but we stuck with our lodge.

Fast forward to 2023 and here we go again. The dove hunting lodge had us down for five days and four nights.

And the Buenos Aires Savoy was ready to welcome us on the front- and backends.

Nothing was going to stop us this time!

Argentina Dove Hunting Season

Before you start searching for where to go, check your schedule and the Argentine annual weather patterns.

Because doves are considered a pest in Argentina, there isn’t a defined hunting season and you can dove hunt year round.

Just remember that Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere which means that their seasons are opposite of the United States.

September through March is generally a busy time for hunters, but we wanted cooler weather, so we opted for late August.

It was in the high 40s leaving the lodge in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon.

Beautiful weather to spend hours volume dove hunting from a blind.

Precipitation is the other factor to look for since the birds don’t fly in the rain.

They had a six-month drought when we were there, so this wasn’t an issue for us.

Where to go Argentina Dove Hunting

The local paper wrote an article on my grandfather and his friends back in 1999 called, “Flying High…Hunters bag a slew of birds in Argentina.”

This became a starting point, so we had an idea of where we wanted to go.

Newspaper clip from grandfather's Argentina dove hunting trip.
Newspaper clip about grandfather’s Argentina dove hunting in 1999.

But for those readers new to bird hunting in Latin America, your web search will likely pull up Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay.

You’ll have a few locations to choose from after you narrow your search to Argentina, but I recommend Córdoba.

You’ll quickly find there are several outfitters in Córdoba Province, Argentina.

But after talking to other hunters on our trip, they all sound similar.

So, there’s no pressure deciding who to book your Argentina dove hunt through.

In fact, you may see hunters from other Argentina dove hunting outfitters on shared leased fields.

The fields were huge, what appeared to be a thousand, yes 1, 000 acres, as you pull into your blinds.

We chose SYC Sporting, and by the end of this article, chances are you will too.

Argentina Dove Hunting Packages

SYC Sporting has several options, but the standard is five days and four nights.

You arrive in the afternoon and settle in, then hunt morning and afternoon for three days, before departing on the morning of the fifth day.

Doesn’t sound difficult, but you’ll be tired when you leave.

And, if you need a break, Argentina is also renowned for things like fly fishing.

How To Get There

You book your hunt through SYC Sporting, but travel to and from Córdoba is your responsibility.

We used Tripmasters to book flights from Roanoke, Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia, and then straight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We booked international flights, two nights in the Savoy Hotel, roundtrip flights from Buenos Aires to Córdoba, and another two nights in the Savoy on the way out.

Buenos Aires on the front- and backends was fantastic.

It shortened flight times and provided much-needed rest days in a beautiful South American city of ~16 million people.

Arrival

The flight to Argentina left at 8 pm and arrived at 6 am.

And since Argentina is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time, jet lag wasn’t an issue.

Money Tips

When you get into the Buenos Aires Airport (EZE) change a few dollars into Argentine pesos.

You’ll need your arrival boarding pass to change money the entire time you’re in Argentina, so don’t throw it away.

If you wait until you arrive, the exchange rate is much better in Argentina. We only exchanged about $200.

You can use a credit card for meals, and since breakfast is included at the Savoy, we only used the pesos for taxi rides, tips, entrance fees, and small purchases.

Once you get to the dove hunting lodge, everything’s included.

Most people and places are happy to take U.S. dollars because inflation is out of control in Argentina.

As soon as we arrived, our driver told us there’d been 120% inflation in 2022 and already 80% inflation in the first eight months of 2023.

Yes, 200% inflation in less than two years!

This tidbit means I won’t give many price examples in this article because they change daily.

The Taxi Ride

Furthermore, you’ll need to have your cell phone ready for the taxi stand QR code at the airport.

They’ve cracked down on taxi fares, so you’ll scan the QR code, type in your destination, and receive a set price to pay the taxi driver before you get in a cab. Have your hotel address easily accessible.

Be ready with your fare and a small tip when you get to the hotel.

Don’t flash your money on the street, instead, prepare your payment and tip before you exit the taxi.

The ride from the airport to the hotel was ~$17-20 USD or $6,000-7,000 ARS when we were there.

If you don’t have the Google Translate app and Spanish already downloaded to your phone, do it as soon as you’re done reading this article.

Vamos al hotel Savoy!

Interior of the Savoy hotel.
Hotel lobby at the Hotel Savoy. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

Check-In

If you book a large hotel the front desk staff will likely speak English.

This was the case at the Savoy where they were fantastic.

The other staff didn’t speak English, but the Savoy and most restaurants have Spanish and English menus.

Check-in time is normally 3 p.m., so have the bellhops store your luggage, grab lunch, and then head out to see some of the city.

The Savoy is in the government area or Congreso District, so there’s a lot of ornate architecture to explore right outside the door.

And if you turn right leaving the Savoy, the Argentine equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is only a few blocks away.

Of course, researching on your own gets you to the places you want to see in Buenos Aires.

It can be a bit of a mixed bag. For example, outside our hotel was a group of rowdy soccer fans continuously playing the drums and chanting.

Any time after 3 pm you’ll be able to finish check-in and get your bags.

Remember to tip the bellhop.

Pro tip, Argentina uses European and special Argentine plugs, so buy a few adapters before you go.

Back to the Airport

After a day or two in Buenos Aires, it’s time to head back to the airport.

There are two airports in the city, so make sure to tell the front desk which one you’re going to when you ask them to book a taxi.

There’s a high probability the airline staff will speak English.

Even if they don’t, they’ll be some of the most pleasant people you’ll ever meet. Yes, people will be nice to you at the airport, and everywhere else in Argentina.

The security screeners won’t speak English, but just do what everyone in front of you does.

Argentine airports are like airports everywhere else in the world, so it’s easy to navigate to your gate.

When you get there, you’ll probably spot a few other American hunters.

Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Virginia were well-represented on our flight.

Two men sitting at the Buenos Aires airport.
Excited for the adventure to begin. Buenos Aires airport. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

Córdoba

Your last official task is to pick up your bags at baggage claim and walk out to the lobby.

At that point, someone from the outfitter will be standing there with a clipboard with your name on it.

If it’s the manager Manuel from SYC Sporting, he’ll speak excellent English.

Your guide will lead you outside, put your bags in an SUV, and whisk you away to a dove hunting lodge about an hour from the city.

We stayed at El Cortijo.

The outfitter uses your information ahead of time to get your license and then tracks all your rounds in a logbook.

You won’t see any of the administrative details, so just relax and have a good time.

If you’re like my dad, not used to international travel and your first time in Latin America, prepare to be surprised by the level of service you’ll experience at the dove hunting lodge.

The Lodge – Proper Argentina Dove Hunting!

When you arrive, you’ll probably be greeted by staff bearing refreshments.

In our case, mimosas were popular arrival drinks.

Hunters greeted with mimosas after a long day of Argentina dove hunting.
The hunters were greeted with fresh mimosas. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

The end of August is considered off-season, so my dad and I were the only hunters at our dove hunting lodge.

You’ll receive your room key and be asked what time you’d like dinner.

Be ready, you’ll be asked what time you’d like breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day until you leave.

If you’re on a diet, that won’t translate at the dove hunting lodge because there’s so much food!

Breakfast is familiar, coffee, juice, water, fruit, cereal, and cooked-to-order eggs and bacon.

If you want something else, just ask, but be prepared to eat.

Breakfast portions are fine, but lunches and dinners are three to four courses every time.

They’re specially prepared by a chef that will keep feeding you, no matter how full you are.

If you’re wondering, yes, Argentine beef is delicious, and fresh dove breasts are a delicacy.

I can’t say enough about the gourmet meals you’ll receive at the dove hunting lodge.

It’s proper dove hunting Argentina style!

Argentina Dove Hunt Cost

You don’t need your Argentine pesos because food and drinks at the lodge are included in the package price.

The only cost variables are if you exceed the rounds included in the quote or if you want to leave extra tips.

We were slightly over the 2,000 shells per hunter that came with the package and we left extra tips.

To give you an idea, my dad was calling himself the “king” by the end of the first night.

The facilities and service were that good!

Morning Hunt

Days start early. 6 am wake up, 6:30 am breakfast, and 7:15 am depart the lodge.

Sunrise outside Cordoba during Argentina dove hunting.
Sunrise on the way to the first hunt. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

The outfitters use multiple leased bird hunting fields to follow the natural movement of the birds.

And the head guide will scout and make these arrangements just before your arrival, and then lead the hunting party each time.

The morning bird hunting field we used was about 30 minutes from the dove hunting lodge.

There were fewer birds than the afternoon bird hunting field, but I preferred it because of the closer ranges and variable speeds.

When you arrive at the morning bird hunting field on the first day, you’ll be introduced to the head guide and bird boys.

Yes, that’s what they call your assistant.

My bird boy was in his teens, but my dad’s was in his 60s, so the title didn’t really seem to fit.

There’ll be a blind or they’ll build a hasty blind if the crops aren’t high enough.

They’ll set up a stool, open a 500-round case of ammunition, and prepare your gun.

SYC Sporting rental guns are 20-gauge Breda and Beretta autoloaders for doves.

They’ll give you a quick reminder on the type of birds you’re allowed to shoot, hand you your loaded gun, and you’re off to the races.

The head guide knows exactly when the birds will arrive.

You might be 30 minutes early, but when he says they’ll be there, they’ll be there.

If you watch the video on the SYC Sporting webpage you’ll find that there are millions and millions of doves with no bag limits in Argentina.

Dove Hunting Tips

You can shoot as much as you want, but if you’re not a seasoned hunter here are a few dove hunting tips:

  • Wear tan, dark, or camouflage clothes with a shoulder pad and hat, and if you prefer, shooting gloves
  • Use eye and ear protection
  • Pick shots not past 25 yards and focus on a single bird

Normally, I shoot skeet and occasionally trap, so I just try to recreate those conditions.

The bird boys will point out everything, even if it’s too far or too fast.

Remember, you’re the one that decides when to pull the trigger.

How Much Do You Shoot?

To give you an idea, my dad shot 425 rounds the first morning, but I only shot 170.

Even with all the extra rounds, he only hit four more birds than me.

You can shoot as much as you like, but the most each of us shot in a single afternoon hunt was 750 rounds each.

There are 500 rounds in a case, so we each shot a case and a half in one afternoon.

How often do you shoot that many hunting doves or quail in the United States?

Another thing you’ll find that’s different is the bird boys load for you.

You’ll have 4+1 capacity in the rental autoloaders.

So, after you shoot, you’ll lower your shotgun with the barrel pointing up and out, turn it slightly, and the bird boy will top it off with shells.

If birds come mid-reload you can bring up your gun to shoot.

The system works well and you can cycle through a lot of ammunition.

Shooter in action during Argentina dove hunting.
Hunter in action in a larger leased field. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

Afternoon Hunt

We ended the morning hunt around 11 a.m. Some outfitters would stay in the field for lunch, but we went back to the lodge every day.

The bird boys will show you your round and hit counts, and then pick up the husks and birds while the hunting party shuttles back to the dove hunting lodge.

Yes, the staff had warm towels and mimosas waiting each time we came in from the field. Just take them, say Gracias, and enjoy your time in Argentina.

We ate lunch around noon and then rested until 1:30 p.m. before departing the dove hunting lodge again for afternoon hunts.

It’s the same every time.

Convoy to a bird hunting field where they drop you at your blind and the bird boy has everything set up.

The afternoon bird hunting field was further away but proliferated with doves.

The flocks were bigger, but they were also higher and faster.

Again, pick your shots and figure out your leads while focusing on a single bird.

Don’t let the birds disorient you as they split and maneuver.

We ended most afternoons around 5:30 p.m., but your bird boy and head guide will stay as late as you want.

You’ll start the day watching the sun rise out the window of your SUV and then watch it set out that same window as you retire for the day.

The warm towel and mimosas awaited us each evening and dinner was around 7:15 pm with a wine, whisky, or beverage of choice.

After a long day and full belly, it was all we could do to shower and fall into bed each night.

The next morning, we were at it again.

Money Talks

On the last evening, you’ll settle your dove hunting lodge bill using cash or a check.

They want you to have a great time, so the only time you’ll talk money is in the office at the very end of the last day.

Back to Buenos Aires

You’ll feel like an Argentinian veteran by this point and might even be using a handful of Spanish words.

We stayed two more nights in Buenos Aires, but some of the other hunters we met only stayed one.

The return flight to the States mirrors the trip time coming down. It left around 8 p.m. and arrived in Atlanta about 6 a.m.

Another popular route is out of Miami, and if you prefer to visit Chile, through Santiago.

Memories

High volume dove shooting in Argentina isn’t like most of the bird hunting you’re used to if you grew up on the East Coast.

If you’re a hunter, it’s a phenomenal trip, especially if you can talk your family and friends into going with you.

Trust me, you won’t regret this once-in-a-lifetime hunting experience!

Everyone I’ve talked to said that duck hunting is also great in Argentina, but I don’t have any personal experience with that – yet!

According to the “Flying High” article, my grandfather and his friends hit 45% on their trip.

Collectively, my dad and I were at 34%, and my solo rate was 42%.

As a point of reference, the best shooters shot thousands of doves per day.

Either way, my dad was somehow awarded the “champion” trophy before we left.

Man holding champion trophy during Argentina dove hunting.
Championship trophy. © Heselholt Group, LLC.

It’s true what they say, never leave it in the hands of the judges!

4 thoughts on “Argentina Dove Hunting”

  1. To Tobias you are a very Intelligent and Interesting man. I appreciate and your thoughtfulness and kindness to remember I love hunting. I enjoyed your trip with your dad and feel Honored to receive your information and I feel through your stories as though I was already there hunting.
    I was a tomboy as teenagers and enjoyed hunting more than my brother who entered the Army of 28 years
    You are truly a wonderful author and historical person .
    I will have to brush up on my hunting and clean my guns.
    I thank you for sharing your time and Adventure with me and happy that you and your father are getting to do the things together. you got an exceptional father and you are in his footsteps.
    Your Friendship is one in a Million.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top