There are 3 major expenses involved in a dove hunting trip to Argentina and several smaller costs. The costs are broken down below.
Airfare- This is a significant expense depending on your home airport and your flight options. You can expect to pay for coach airfare anywhere from $1100 to $1600. So, for cost planning, use $1350 per person for coach airfare.
For Business Class airfare, a rule of thumb is coach airfare costs x 3 to 3.5.
Shells- Most commonly underestimated is your shell bill. The average price for a box (25) dove loads is $13 per box. Yes, some lodges may find shells around $12.75 and others around $14 per box, but most lodges land at $13 per box.
The average hunter shoots 1000 rounds per day. This equals 40 boxes, or 40 x $13 = $520 per day.
The average dove hunt is 3 days (sometimes 4 days). So, 3 days at $520 per day is $1560 in shells.
Certainly, a more aggressive shooter will shoot more, and it’s really easy to do, but for planning, use the number of $1520 in shells.
Lodge Fees- These are the last Major Expense. Many interested hunters get lost in the differences between a lodge that sells for $450 per day over one that is $490 per day. On a hunting trip that costs around $5000, the internal debate over $150 in lodge expenses isn’t worth the exercise.
In high season (March – September), the lodge fees average $490 per day, and in low season the lodge fees average around $440 per day. A 3-day hunt will cost in lodge fees $1650- $1320.
As you begin compiling the total costs of an Argentina dove hunting trip, I recommend planning for around $1500 in lodge fees. (The daily rate can range from $790 to $440, dependent on the location and luxury of the lodge)
Now there are 3 “minor” expenses. These costs add to the total expense of a dove hunting trip. However, they don’t impact the overall expense as the three main expense categories mentioned above.
Hunting licenses- These vary from Province to Province, with the highest being Cordoba at $65 per day and the lowest being Entre Rios at $150 for the entire trip. I recommend using a figure of $200 for budgetary planning.
Ground Transportation- Depending on the area you hunt and its proximity to the destination airport, there may be a charge for ground transfers. Generally, there are no transportation fees in Cordoba, but all other locations in Argentina use a budgetary figure of $200 in-ground transfer fees. As an important side note, you won’t necessarily “save” $200 in-ground transfer fees in choosing Cordoba as your hunting location. The flights into Cordoba are often $200-$300 more expensive than if you were flying into Buenos Aires.
Gun Rental- Each lodge has an inventory of guns, generally Beretta 391, Beretta A-400, and Benelli Montefeltro. The standard gun rental fee is $75 per day for a 3-day hunt plan on $225 in gun rental fees.
Tips- It is customary to tip your house staff and, most importantly, your bird boy. The staff works tirelessly to see that your every need is taken care of. Generally speaking, you can plan on tipping your bird boy $60 per day. ($180) and your house staff $40 per day ($120) for an equalling $100 per day or $300 for your total hunt.
The expenses listed above are required to make your trip happen. The summary with the total is below.
Lodge Fees $1500
Hunting licenses $200
Ground transfers (intentionally left blank due to Destination airport)
Gun Rental $225
You can now easily see that a Dove Hunting trip to Argentina will cost around $5000. As mentioned above, a trap that interested clients often fall into is spending hours and hours trying to find the “cheapest” lodge or the “best price.”
After more than 20 years in the Argentina hunting business, rest assured you will find this critically important information. The airline sets your airfare price, and you can’t control it. Your shell price per box is a standard in the industry, and no matter how hard you shop around, at best, you will shell .25 cents less expensive per box. (Shoot 3000 rounds or 120 boxes, and you have “saved” $30)
Hunting license fees are collected by your outfitter but paid directly to the Province in which you are hunting. There is no negotiation, and the fee is a set price. Gun rental is set as a standard at $75 per day. While some lodges offer “free” gun rental, you are paying for it, but the fee is hidden in the cost of the lodging. Tips are customary and do not vary from lodge to lodge or location to location. $100 per day is the typical cost.
What is left is your lodge fees. This is the only expense that can vary from location to location. There are budget lodges in Argentina, but you get what you pay for. On a trip that will cost you around $5000 and require you to fly 5000 miles, I suggest to my clients that it is simply not worth the risk and the time to spend hours and hours to save $30 in shells and possibly $200 in lodge fees to stay with a budget lodge. At best, the savings is around $230 or less than 5% of the total trip cost, but the savings never outweigh the risk of an awful hunting experience in Argentina.
Southern Outfitting is here to provide our clients with the necessary information and help them choose the lodge and the right location for them and their hunting partners based on their budget and hunting interests.
Call or email Southern Outfitting today!