By Doug Larsen
Imagine a place where the dove flight is three miles wide and stretches horizon to horizon; where a temperate climate puts sunny alfresco lunches and dinners on your agenda every day; where hot-barrel shooting stops only for a tender steak, followed by a nap in a shaded hammock; and where the friendly staff pulls corks on tasty wines from nearby vineyards. Welcome to Cordoba, Argentina, dove shooters’ paradise.
The Hunt: David Denies owns or leases hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land in the foothills outside the city of Cordoba. With a population estimated to exceed 50 million birds, eared doves are present in plague-like numbers. Dove shooting opportunities are limitless, and the guides will put you under waves of birds each day. Most dove shoots take place within a one-hour drive from the lodge, and hunters usually opt to stay in the field all day. Lunch is served under canvas tents, and hammocks are provided for a midday siesta. David Denies strives to create a unique experience for visitors with personal attention and unparalleled service provided to every guest. Meals are prepared by top Argentine chefs, and wine cellars are brimming with extensive selections.
When to Go: The seasons in Argentina are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere—summer is from December through March and midwinter occurs in July and August. Temperatures are moderate, rarely below freezing in winter, with highs in the 60s. Dove shooting is open year-round. A typical trip consists of three days of shooting, which is just about right. From November through March, fishing for trout or freshwater dorado can be combined with a dove trip; from April through August, you can add duck, pigeon, and partridge shooting or big-game hunting to your itinerary.
Getting There: American Airlines recently began offering nonstop flights from Miami to Cordoba, or you can connect through Buenos Aires or Santiago, Chile. Most flights from the United States leave in the evening and arrive in Cordoba the following morning. Lodge staff will provide transportation from the airport to the shooting grounds. A valid passport is required for entry.
What to Bring: Hunters should bring clothes in muted colors such as tan or green, sturdy shoes or boots, eye and hearing protection, shooting gloves, and either shorts or a light jacket depending on the season. The full-service lodge offers 24-hour laundry service, so there's no need to haul a large duffle. In fact, many shooters take only carry-on luggage. Don’t bring a gun unless you wish to shoot something special. David Denies rents high-quality guns at reasonable rates and has a full-time gunsmith on staff to keep them in tip-top condition. Ammunition is also provided at a good price.
Share the Bounty: David Denies supports local food banks and community centers with harvested doves and other game. Ride along to deliver birds and pasta if you would like to see where they go.
Support the Ducks: In 2009, a partnership was formed between Ducks Unlimited and David Denies/Nervous Waters to provide DU event attendees with sporting opportunities at some of the world’s premier destinations. With an original donation of 60 hunting trips almost a decade ago, David Denies/Nervous Waters has become a cornerstone of the Ducks Unlimited Approved Outfitter Program, netting almost $4.6 million for wetlands conservation to date. Hunting and fishing trips provided by David Denies/Nervous Waters are featured at many DU fundraising events across the country. For more information about DU events in your area, visit ducks.org/events.