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It Is Raining Doves

As it usually happens, it was the first time for Stewart, Jimmy and Nathan in Argentina. And since they came through Buenos Aires, they stayed there for one day and there they visited stores and restaurants around Recoleta area.

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Once they arrived to San Javier Lodge, they met our other two guests who had arrived a day before: Brent and Kristie.

To get to San Javier Lodge you have to take a short flight from Buenos Aires to Santa Fe and then our company staff will get you from the airport to the lodge by pickup trucks. It’s like 2 hours driving, but hey, once you go for the first duck hunting I swear nobody remembers that driving.  

That afternoon Kristie stayed at the Lodge and Brent went for his first hunt at 5pm. We usually leave the lodge by 4 pm on our afternoon hunt but there are 2 flights from Buenos Aires to Santa Fe. One arrives at 10am while the other does it by 13:35hs, not allowing you  to leave the airport before 2pm. That afternoon Brent & Kristie got to San Javier Lodge by 16hs and while they were coming they asked us gently if we could wait them with some lunch. We always give our guests an appetizer with some cold drinks, something quick, and we go hunting. But this time we had some asado and medium rare tenderloin with salad... and even though we wanted to keep on talking and get to know each other... It was time for go hunting: We should be going Juan, advised us Francisco while he was getting into de dinning room. Without dessert but with a lot of energy, Brent jumped out of the table and went to get ready. 10 minutes later he was getting into the truck while I was doing the arrangements for Kristie’s massage. Kristie was at the middle of her massage session when Brent came back from his first Argentinian duck hunting. Karina and Teresa were waiting for him with a drink and a wet towel and while he was getting close to the fire where we were waiting for the guys with some appetizer, as usual, I asked him: 

J: Welcome back buddy! How was that afternoon, you saw some ducks?

He was with a long face, and he goes:

B: Oh it wasn’t a good afternoon.

J: What do you mean? They weren’t flying nice?

B: Oh no, I did my limit but I sucked!

J: Ohhh you scared me big guy!!

B: Oh no no no, there was a bunch of them!! It was me, I didn’t do it as I would have liked to.

J: You had a good time?

B: Oh hell yes!!

J: That’s what matters buddy!!!

We had some drinks good music and after a pleasant dinner Brent and I went to the living room for a few more drinks while Kristie went to bed. I was trying not to delay him too much, I knew there was a bottle of champagne at their room. Even though I did some efforts to try to get him early to his room, he still had one more drink and went to bed late. 

The following morning he thanked me about the champagne at their room and told me we all have it on the last night to celebrate.

That morning Francisco took Brent hunting while Gabriel went to the airport to pick up 3 more guests we were having those same days. Stewart, Jimmy and Nathan: one of the greatest souls I ever meet in my life. They arrived in time and after I showed them San Javier Lodge, the six of us had our first lunch all together. Brent and Jimmy realized they had grown up very close to each other's place but Brent later moved to Dallas. After lunch everybody took a nap and by 4 pm and after a few coffees they all went duck hunting. Stu and his boys came back really soon. We offered them a welcome drink and wet towels and stayed at the bar where we have a nice place to sit by the fire. Like one hour later Brent joined us (he needed to do his limit and help Kristie with hers). We had a great music session with a big, warm fire, drinks and some ducks for appetizer until 8pm when it was dinner time. We didn’t stay late that night. We stayed maybe 30 minutes after dinner and right away the first - Ok guys, I’m going to bed, everybody did the same thing.  – Yes, it’s bed time, said Stu from the other side of the table.

We had a blast the entire four or five days. Every time the guys came back from hunting they always had great things to eat, drink and good music. At the second day we did ducks in the morning and doves in the afternoon. It was cloudy and very windy that afternoon, so the doves were flying a little higher than usual and of course, very fast. It was the first time big volume doves for all the guys, so you can imagine how happy they were, even though they weren’t flying easy. 

Day 3: After a big breakfast they all went duck hunting (Brent joined them and started hunting with them and since it was a group of three, there was always the option to share the blind with someone. Jimmy and Nathan shoot together so that gives us Brent and Stu on the other blind.

They came back very very early that morning so they all decided to do an extra activity: Dorado fishing. Brent went in one boat with Kristie, Chela and Maja while Stu and his boys took the other one with Leo and Francisco. It was very cloudy and they had a bit of rain for a few minutes. But that didn’t keep the guys from catching some Dorados and Piranha. Jimmy caught the biggest one. He showed me a picture later at San Javier Lodge and I was very surprised that a day like that day (conditions weren’t very favorable) he was able to get what the guys thought it was a 4 or 5 pound Dorado. We all had lunch by 1pm and of course after a big nap they all went duck hunting.

On the last day the guys went perdiz hunting in the morning where they were only a few birds bellow the limit. Stu loved the dogs' work and he was very thankfull that the guys changed the field after he asked them if that was possible since it was a little muddy in some areas and he had left his big shoes at the Lodge. Of course the guys took them to a diferent hunting field that was not the best for perdiz but Stu was able to do the walking. Even though, they almost did the limit as well. That afternoon I went dove hunting with them and I still have this image in my mind: Jimmy was shooting and Stu was a few feet behind seating in a chair. We took him from the Lodge, having his beer and Cuban cigar watching his sons in law having the time of their life, going crazy shooting all the doves. I remember him saying exactly:

-Good God look at the biiiiiirds!!  

-Look at that!!! Jeeeeeesus. Gave the cigarette a pinch.

-It's raining doves.

I’m already missing these guys. I know they had a blast ‘cause I had a great time with them as well. Both in the lodge and that last afternoon in the fields shooting doves. 

Our drivers took them to the airport on the following morning and that night Stu wrote me these amazing words (read below!) I will remember for ever. Because there is not greater joy for us than friends leaving Argentina back to their homes with a new great experience in their shoulders:

Juan, we are resting comfortably at the BA Airport Lounge and I wanted to write and tell you how much we enjoyed our trip. I have been to a lot of hunting lodges/properties all over and I can honestly say this is the best overall experience I've ever had. The conventional school of thought is that an outfitter can do good lodging/hospitality OR good hunting, but not both. That is not the case at San Javier. All aspects of the combo hunt were great and the Dorado fishing was a nice bonus. Many thanks to your staff for the fantastic food and hospitality and all the support we got from the field team. It's the little extras that separate a good trip from a great trip. What a great group you have there. I'm telling all my friends! Stewart

Thanks a lot Stewart! 

You should be the next one!

Jota

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