We arrived at Cordoba Airport to be met by Facundo, our absolutely charming and attentive guide who looked after us for the duration of our stay at Cordoba. The journey to the lodge went without an incident, which was a bit of a miracle given the kamikaze nature of some of the local drivers. As the sun started to set we pulled off the main highway up the dusty track to Cordoba Lodge. After a quick orientation we were shown to our rooms to unpack before supper. There are four comfortable ensuite double bedrooms with bath and shower facilities, with a further two currently being added in one of the outlying buildings.
The lodge is a gathering of small structures, which combine local regional style with an honest elegance. The main building is light and airy with a very comfortable living area with a massive open fire for colder evenings. The living area leads on to the open-plan dining area. Guests are welcome here at all hours of the day when they are not shooting. It serves as the social hub to enjoy a well-deserved aperitif in the evening before sitting down for supper. In the basement there is a purpose built wine cellar for guests to enjoy the local produce. At the end of the accommodation building there is a hot tub to soothe the weary muscles after a hard day’s shooting. Should further pampering or correcting of physical ailments be necessary then a masseuse is also on standby.
Cordoba is the heart of the high volume dove shooting that Argentina is so famous for, the main roost boast 40 million eared doves. The doves have a breeding cycle of 30 days if the conditions are right. The result is nothing short of one of the biblical plagues from the Book of Exodus! Thus, there are no drives, no bag limits and no seasons. You really can shoot as much or as little as you want.
Our first morning found us on the edge of a local farm standing facing a small gully, which was located between the roost and a recently harvested sorghum field, one of the doves’ favourite food sources. On arrival at the shooting field we had been introduced to our bird boys who were both young local lads, Leo and Rambo. The bird boys are on hand to load, count how many birds and cartridges you shoot, as well as providing you with refreshments from their well-stocked cool boxes.
The birds were already on the move by the time we had entrenched ourselves in our hides. As it was our first day of serious shooting I decided there was no point in holding back and like a gardener surrounded by weeds, I picked up my scythe and set to work. By the end of the first 20 minutes I had shot my first hundred, and the morning continued at this rather alarming rate. After a couple of hours my friend came over to join me so we could shoot next to each other and, needless to say, we were unable to rein in our competitive streaks. The first challenge to tally a hundred was quite simply knackering, our shoulders and arms burning as we swung from left to right, right to left, upwards, downwards or simply aiming dead ahead! The next was the first to shoot ten birds in a row without a miss. I would reveal the results but a gentleman never tells… except that by the time we took a break for lunch I was informed that I had reached a tally of 650 doves with a veritable Everest of shells built up behind us. This place really is the stuff of legend.
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. A field lunch in Argentina is also quite something. Before you can blink the chef has the Asado lit and half a cow cooking before your eyes. After lunch it was time for a welcome siesta in the hammocks the bird boys had strung up while we feasted on the perfectly cooked flanks, ribs, fillet and a couple of sausages for good measure.
And then it was back to the shooting fields. Over lunch the wind had picked up so the guides moved our location. This time our hides were positioned in some thick bush on a flight path back to the roost. The birds came in waves but now they had the wind behind them, and were either coming like grouse or were extremely high. Coupled with the muscle fatigue of the morning’s activity, the experience had become truly sporting. After another few hours I reached my self-imposed limit of 1000 and with another two hours left on the clock I simply hung up my gun, popped opened a local Cerveza and sat to watch the birds, content to simply take in the beauty of it all. For 8 hours we had been shooting at a continuous swarm of doves and then all of a sudden the skies cleared and the land fell quiet.
For the next two days I took a more relaxed approach to shooting. With so many birds coming from so many angles it is a fantastic opportunity to learn and so I spent the time pushing myself to take shots I did not think I would get, whilst largely focusing on shooting at birds going left to right, my weakest swing. There is no doubt that by the time we had finished shooting I had found some form and I believe, ironed out a number of weaknesses, although I await the coming season to see if all this practice will pay off with my own guns back home.
As always at Frontiers we aim to provide you with the most up to date information regarding our destinations. Before we departed from Cordoba Lodge we dropped in to visit La Dormida and Pica Zuro, Cordoba Lodge’s elder brothers. Since our last visit both of these lodges had had their bathrooms revamped.
Argentina is the perfect sporting destination for a group of friends that want to travel to a relaxed yet fun destination. There is a vast range of shooting activities on offer all year round, which is combined with exceptional service and mouth-watering cuisine topped off with some excellent South American wines.
For those on a budget Cordoba Lodge is a cracking venue. With rates starting at $575 per person/night it will appeal to most parties. That said there is also the appeal of having a lodge to yourselves and your party. This lodge is unique to Frontiers Travel and further information can be seen at: Cordoba Lodge