To answer this question, it’s important to uncover the 3 essentials of survival for the Argentina dove. Simply put, these are Food, Water, and Shelter. With the essentials on the table, we will address each individually and then summarize where to hunt doves in Argentina and why there is so many dove in this country.
Argentina is blessed to have some of the richest, most fertile soil on Earth. We often say that if you throw a seed on the ground, it will grow. Along with the dark, rich soil, the northern half of Argentina has a very temperate climate and rarely sees temperatures below 45 degrees F in the winter, and generally does not experience temperatures over 93 degrees in the summer heat.
In the northern half of Argentina, it is not uncommon to turn crops three times per year.
The grains produced in Argentina are the livelihood of the dove. Doves consume as much as 40% of the harvest in some areas.
To the east are two huge rivers, the Rio Parana and the Rio Uruguay. These two rivers have very defined paths; however, they are responsible for creating an immense river/marsh/lagoon system that provides water supply for farmers as far as 50 miles away from the actual river beds. Of course, this irrigation water is also an essential need for the millions upon millions of doves.
In the north and west, there is a defined rainy season, these areas, while enjoying the rich fertile soil, are known as semi-arid. The rainy season is generally from late January to early March, and this rain is critical to the farmland in the area. Many lagoons, marshes, and canals in this area are used to store and distribute the vitally needed irrigation waters.
Finally, in the central areas around Cordoba, we enjoy an average rainfall of around 40 inches annually, spread across 110 days; these conditions create the perfect environment for grain crops.
The dove has natural predators, like larger birds of prey, including hawks and eagles. Additionally, several mammal species pose a threat to the dove. For this reason, the dove nearly always chose to roost in Espinillo and Algarrobo trees. Like many in Argentina, these trees have extremely sharp thorns, some as long as 4 inches. These trees protect the dove from the birds of prey from above and the mammals below.
The dove roosts, which often contain millions of doves, are scattered across the countryside. These roosts, of course, consist of thousands, even tens of thousands of the trees mentioned above. These trees range from a few years old to a few hundred years old. The farmers and landowners leave them in place as, for agriculture purposes, the land represents little value. The land these trees have naturally grown is filled with rocks and may have many features that make it unsuitable for agricultural purposes.
We have uncovered the 3 essentials for the life of the Argentina dove; now, we can cover the areas in Argentina where the 3 vital essentials exist.
In looking at a map and drawing a line directly across from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, one will need to focus on the areas north of this line. Areas to the south don’t share the same soils, climates, and roosts. Areas from this line north span the border of Bolivia to the northwest, Paraguay due north, and Uruguay to the east. This area is 600 miles long by 500 miles wide.
Every area inside this 300,000 square mile rectangle has the environment necessary for massive amounts of doves. Southern Outfitting and our partners refer to this area as the “Dove Rectangle.”
Let’s dial in the areas to hunt a little more closely; in this immense 300,000 square mile area, a hunter first needs access to the area. Cordoba has become the dove hunting capital of the world for two reasons. First, it falls directly in the middle of the perfect area for dove populations, and secondly, there are 4 daily flights into Cordoba from countries that connect to the US.
Lima Peru, Santiago Chile, Panama City, Panama, and even at certain times, Miami, Florida.
In addition to these international connections, historically, there have been 5 daily flights from Buenos Aires, making Cordoba easy to get to.
To be clear, Cordoba, while a great location, is not necessarily the best the only location. In this 300,000 square mile Dove Rectangle there are excellent locations with as many if not more doves than the province of Cordoba. For example, on the eastern side of this rectangle lies Entre Rios. This area is only 3 ½ hours by car away from Buenos Aires. In the northwest of this rectangle is Salta. This area arguably has three times the dove population as Cordoba. Admittedly Salta requires an additional flight, but Salta has proven to have massive populations of the dove. Moving north of Cordoba in the province of Santiago del Estero, this province shares a border with Cordoba and has the same landscape, as many doves, and far less hunting pressure. There are many ways to travel to Santiago del Estero, but the most direct route is a flight to Tucuman, Argentina, then a 2 ½ hour ground transfer. Last but certainly not least is the province of San Luis. This beautiful area falls in the southwestern corner of the “dove rectangle” A common way to arrive in San Luis is a flight to Mendoza and a 3-hour ground transfer, or a flight to Buenos Aires, then a connecting flight into San Luis.
An Argentina Dove hunter can safely expect to have opportunities to shoot as many doves as they like, provided they hunt inside the Dove Rectangle with a reputable company.
Southern Outfitting has studied the hunting areas of Argentina for nearly 30 years.
There is no better source of information for high-volume Argentina dove hunting than us.
Please contact us with your questions about dove hunting, where to go, and when to go!