For more than 30 years, Cordoba has been the dove hunting capital of the world. There are multiple reasons for this which are described below.
First, Cordoba traditionally has been easy to get travel to. There are daily flights from Lima, Peru, Santiago Chile, and Buenos Aires. Additionally, the airport in Cordoba is much smaller than Ezeiza in Buenos Aires, thereby much easier and quicker to pass through customs and immigration.
Secondly, the city of Cordoba is located essentially in the middle of the province of Cordoba, so the central location of the city and airport allows short drives north, south, east, or west to the hunting areas. A typical drive to the lodge in the province of Cordoba can be as short as 1 hour and generally never more than 2 hours.
Thirdly Cordoba is and has been an agricultural hotspot. There are more than a million acres of grain crops in the province. With this immense production of grain, there is always plenty of food for the dove to eat without traveling far.
Finally, due to the landscape, climate, and more than ample food sources, the dove has created many massive roosting areas.
While Cordoba remains the dove hunting capital of the world, things have changed since 2017. The population of doves in this area is declining for various reasons. The Province of Cordoba stopped dove hunting in November and December 2018 and 2019 to study the people. The Covid pandemic stopped all international travel in March of 2020, and hunting did not resume until early 2022. Effectively the dove had no hunting pressure whatsoever for two solid years. All expected the dove population in the area to continue to historic levels. Much to the surprise of everyone, it did not, and for this reason, outfitters have had to adjust to the present conditions, which will be discussed below.
The most experienced and seasoned experts with dove populations attribute the decline in population to 3 main issues. While nearly every expert agrees that the actual populations are healthy, they also agree that the dove has moved to other areas in many cases.
Traditionally resident dove populations do not migrate as there is no need to migrate. Still, a sequence of events over the last 4-5 years has forced many dove to move to different areas.
Reason 1) The Provincial agricultural department oversees what a farmer can do with his land. The price of grain has risen to the highest level in years, and the farmers want to expand their fields, but the department of agriculture won’t allow it. What is known is two major roosts were decimated by fire. The cause of the fires is “unknown” but it’s speculated that local farmers were directly or indirectly responsible for the destruction.
Reason 2) The big smoke from the fires choked out wildlife for hundreds of miles around the actual fires.
Reason 3) Again, the price of grain has risen to historic levels. Dove eats the grain, even standing grain, and grain is stored in bins and feedlots used for cattle. Experts agree that farmers have poisoned the edges of fields on some scale to control local populations. These experts can’t accurately determine the extent and scale of this practice but are confident that poisoning is taking place on some scale.
Reason 4) Studies have shown that active groups of hunters killing thousands of birds a day don’t negatively affect the population significantly because the dove is the prolific breeding machine. Still, these same studies show that over time dove realize there are safer areas for them to roost, eat and drink, and that is away from hunters.
In summary, while it’s unlikely a panel of experts will agree unanimously on the scale of the percentage each reason above has attributed to the decline in Cordoba dove populations, they do agree that each of the four reasons has had negative effects on the population in the hunting regions of Cordoba Argentina.
Southern Outfitting ownership and partners from day one have been strategic in the planning and selecting hunting areas in Argentina. We have partners in North, West, East, and even Southern Argentina. Our lodge offerings range from Entre Rios in the east, Salta in the west, Cordoba in the central, Santiago del Estero in the north/central, and San Luis to the south. Our partnerships in each area allow us to provide consistent high volume dove shooting year-round.
Southern Outfitting built the business around high-volume dove shooting, and we will not send our clients to locations with poor dove shooting.