Southern Outfitting and our partners are wing shooting specialists. Many big game species are commonly hunted in Argentina, but because our focus and our purpose are based around wing shooting in Argentina, this information is specific to the 4 main birds that are hunted in Argentina.
Dove (in Spanish Paloma)
The Golden Eared dove is the most commonly hunted bird in Argentina.
There is a 300,000 square mile area in the northern 1/3 of Argentina that boasts dove populations in the tens of millions and arguably hundreds of millions.
In Argentina, decoys are not necessary. Our scouts know where the roosts are, so generally, 1-2 days before the arrival of hunters, the scouts visit the roosts to determine where the dove are flying. They follow the dove to their end location, which is often a freshly planted field, a field under harvest, or even cattle feeding areas. Next, the scouts locate an area in between the roost and the feeding area and set up blinds or locate patches of trees for the hunters to hunt under. The doves will all fly by in the same general direction. After lunch, the doves change course and head to the water holes. Again, the scouts know where the water holes are, so you will often hunt the same field, but the doves will come from the opposite direction of the morning hunt.
This type of hunting is known as “Shooting Flyways”. No ethical outfitter will shoot at or near an actual roost, as roost shooting will cause the dove in mass to leave the roost and find a new roost which could be 25 miles or more away.
Duck (in Spanish Pato)
Hands down, ducks are the second most common species hunted in Argentina.
Because, of course, ducks require water, we hunt only areas with lots of marshes, lagoons, ponds, and river systems. For this reason, duck hunting in Argentina occurs realistically in 4 provinces in Argentina. First in Entre Rios near the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, Second in the Santa Fe Province on the western banks of the Parana River. A third area is in the lowlands of the southern Buenos Aires province, and finally in the northern part of Santiago del Estero near the Rio Dulce.
Each province has slightly different regulations regarding bag limits, but in general, the limit is around 25 ducks per day. A bag limit is quite easy to obtain most days, and, in most areas, it is common for an accurate shooter to bag their limit in a little over an hour.
The seasons are established by the respective provincial governments; historically, each province sets an opening day on May 1, and the season end on August 31.
Unlike most areas in the US, Argentina has a strong population of resident ducks, mixed with an immense population of migratory ducks. Most experts consider there to be 11 different species that consider Argentina home; however, it’s not uncommon to see or even harvest a duck outside of the 11 main species mentioned. (For more information about the species, see https://southernoutfitting.com/birds-of-argentina/argentina-ducks/ )
For the comfort of our hunters and the ease of access, most duck hunting lodges in Argentina chose to hunt in dry blinds. These blinds are set up on the edge of marshes, lagoons, or small ponds. It is rare that we hunt the bigger and faster-moving waters.
A typical hunt has you arriving shortly after your field guide has set up a spread of decoys which often include spinning wing and diving ducks, along with a variety of static decoys. Again for the comfort of hunters, the staff does all the work, the hunters enjoy their hunt, and the field guides retrieve the ducks, take down the blinds, and bring all related hunting gear back to the lodge to be cleaned.
Finally, there are two distinct differences between an Argentina duck hunt versus a US duck hunt. First, we extensively used number 5 lead shots in 20-gauge shotguns. Most US hunters are not aware of the stopping power of the number 5 shot traveling at 1300 feet per second as we haven’t been allowed to shoot lead shots for ducks for more than 30 years. Rest assured, this shot selection provides more than adequate stopping power, even for the longer shots.
Secondly, very much unlike the US, in Argentina, we bait heavily for ducks. The month prior to the season, the baiting begins, with the field guides placing hundreds of pounds of corn around the water holes on a regular basis. This practice is perfectly legal in Argentina and assures our hunters with the best chances of obtaining their daily limit.
Pigeon (in Spanish Pichon)
A common misconception about pigeon hunting in Argentina is that if there are doves, there are pigeons. This is only partially true, as yes, most certainly, it is common to see scattered pigeons while dove hunting. It is also common (and legal) to harvest pigeons while dove hunting. As a rule, the pigeons do not like competing with the dove for food, and the pigeons will always lose as there are so many more doves than pigeons in any given area in Argentina. Because of this, pigeons find areas where the doves are not feeding and have a very strong appetite for peanuts which are too large for the dove to ingest. Often your hunts will take place over a recently harvested peanut field.
Pigeon hunting is done in many areas throughout Argentina, with the best areas in the north-central agricultural regions. For example, Santiago del Estero, which is due north of Cordoba, has exceptional pigeon hunting; Salta province in the northwest of Argentina has immense peanut agriculture, thereby boasting a tremendous population of pigeons. Finally, another excellent pigeon hunting area is the province of San Luis which is south and slightly west of Cordoba.
Many consider decoyed pigeon hunting the beautiful mix of high-volume dove hunting, with lower-volume duck hunting providing a medium-volume decoyed shooting experience.
I personally consider an Argentina decoyed pigeon hunt to be a pleasurable hunting excursion that can be had anywhere in the world.
A typical hunt involves your field guides setting blind along the tree line or a hedgerow, adding several carousel decoys 30 or so yards in front of you, with a mix of spinning wing and static decoys. In addition, the first ten or so pigeons you harvest will be set near your decoy spread, adding even more appeal to your spread.
Pigeons are smart, skeptical, and cagey. While they don’t fly as fast as the dove, they can certainly change direction more quickly and “shuck and jive” far better than the dove. A seasoned pigeon hunter knows to wait until the pigeons come to the decoy spread with wings open before moving and taking their first shot.
There is no season for pigeons; however, it is proven that April through September are the most productive months. Additionally, there are no government-regulated bag limits; however, each lodge sets its own daily bag limits to protect the sustainability of the pigeons in the area.
Some lodges have daily limits as low as 75, while other lodges offer as many as 200 per day.
Be sure to check with your outfitter and verify the bag limits they enforce.
For more information about the pigeon, please see https://southernoutfitting.com/birds-of-argentina/argentina-pigeons/
Partridge (in Spanish Perdiz)
The perdiz is related to a kiwi; specifically, they are the tinamou, and while not technically a partridge, they are very similar.
Perdiz are walking birds meaning they feed on the ground and travel from their roost to the feeding areas on the ground. Only when threatened do they take flight.
The perdiz is native to the areas of Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.
Considered an upland game bird by US hunters, perdiz hunting is done over pointers.
Like the quail, partridge, or pheasant, as the pointers locate their scent, the birds are moving in the grass away from danger. It’s important to keep up with the pointers as if they point and creep, then point and creep again; the hunter is not walking fast enough to keep up!
The season for perdiz is May, June, and July, and the daily bag limit is 8 birds per hunter. Perdiz hunting is certainly not considered a high-volume hunt, but due to duck season coinciding with perdiz season, it is very common for our hunters to duck hunt in the morning and perdiz hunt in the afternoon.
If you have any questions or would like more information about Argentina Wing shooting species above, don’t hesitate to reach out to Southern Outfitting for more information.