NEWS & REPORTS
Lifetime Hunting Adventure - Part I
It was John and Neil last night at the Lodge but I could not stay to celebrate their “life time hunting adventure”, as one of the guys said. Instead, I drove 125 miles to San Luis city, picked up our new guests David and Troy Murrell.
Later, we checked in at the Vista Hotel and enjoyed dinner at a very nice restaurant one block from the hotel. By 11:00 PM we were in our beds; we left the following morning at 9:15 AM after a very good breakfast.
*(Vista Suites & Spa is a four-star hotel in the city of San Luis in Argentina. Simple, modern, sober and refined. Situated on the main avenue of the province, the hotel has 124 suites designed according to superior hotel management regulations. The rooms offer a magnificent view of the mountains making your stay even more pleasant. Take delight in tasting the gourmet menu from their Infinito Bar; enjoy exclusive Oxigeno Spa and dive into their indoor pool while contemplating the amazing mountains).
In order to make a morning hunt, we would have needed to leave at 4 AM. Instead we decided that resting up and recovering from jetlag was more important than a full day of hunting on the first day. So we arrived at the Lodge around 12:00 PM, where John and Neil met our new friends. Before we had time to get the new guest’s luggage out of the truck, John and Neil were already telling them how incredible the previous days of hunting had had been. Ten of us congregated around the lunch table for a hearty meal and good conversation. Yes!! A very big table.
It was the five of us, Fernando, Rodolfo and Galo (guides and hosts from San Luis Lodge). There was also another couple from Argentina (Luis & Marta) and Richard, who I had met 3 days before and had already hunted his 2 Red Stags. I will remember Richard for a long time. He is a very nice old man who fought in the Falklands war back in 1982.
After a power-nap we geared up and dressed ourselves in special hunting clothes. I grabbed my camera and joined David, Troy, and Fer in the pickup truck. Fifteen minutes later we were on the hunt for David first target: A Red Stag!
After two hours of walking, we could only see a big group in a far distance, just out of reach for David’s rifle. Time was not on our side as the sun began falling towards the horizon. Fernando and David began crawling towards the big group of females with four males among them. They needed at least 200 more yards in order to have a good shot at one of the bulls. Troy and I waited and watched behind some small trees four hundred yards in the distance. They got really close, but still needed like 80 more yards.
Bad news: David and Fernando could not close the gap between them and the group of Red Stags. Daylight ran out before they could get a chance to shot. The big bull of the pack got the gift of living another day.
We woke up before daybreak around 5 AM in the morning. After a big breakfast we returned to the same place we were the evening before. The weather was in our favor; it was neither cold nor hot. Nine hundred yards away, we laid our eyes on a very large group. The same plan was executed as the day before: Troy and I will wait behind the trees while Fernando and David began crawling towards the pack of Stags.
They nearly made it to a distance close enough for a shot and I thought for a moment that David might have the chance to drop a bull on the first morning hunt. When the two men were 200 yards from the pack, the wind suddenly shifted and the big group of stags moved to the other side of a small hill that David and Fer were climbing up. Troy and I joined them and we all relocated to get a view on the retreating group. We soon realized that the stags were heading north, in our opposite direction. Fernando and David were deciding on a path to pursue the bulls when we all began hearing a strong roaring coming from inside the woods 800 yards away to the west. We wanted to be as quiet as possible, so splitting up was our best bet: Fernando and David went to go check, while Troy and I waited in a camouflaged spot behind a small group of trees.
While waiting (lucky for us), a small group of females crossed in front of us from right to left only 70 yards away!! Unfortunately no male stags or hunters were with us. One hour later Fernando and David returned and I could not wait to hear their report:
- So? What did you see?
- It was a male, but not a big one… or at least not as big as we expected.
- Ok, we still have plenty of time.
- Sure, we just started buddy. Let’s head back to the lodge for lunch and then get after it again this afternoon.
And so it was, after a delicious meal, wine and a refreshing nap we headed back to the same field one more time (the third to be more precise).
This time Fer brought a shovel. His idea was to wait for them in the same place that we lost them the previous evening:
- The past five evenings I have watched them coming to this location to sleep and eat alfalfa, said Fernando. We will be more prepared this time.
The idea was to only dig a hole large enough for two people, so one more time, Troy and l waited for the action behind the trees, about 700 yards behind them. After about an hour, we heard a roaring from the other side of the small hill. It was a very active stag, roaring continuously for almost 30 minutes. The sounds only came from one direction in the distance. They weren’t moving!
Fernando finally decided to go and get a spot on him. Troy and I were far away from them, so we decided to wait for them behind those trees until they come back (the pickup was closer to us anyway. Troy and I waited while Fernando and David made their stalk. A little before sunset, I left Troy to go retrieve the truck. After I picked Troy up, we soon saw a big group of stags a mile away from the alfalfa. They were making their way down a small hill.
Fifteen minutes later we saw Fernando and David walking in our direction, another day without luck. It was time to go back to the Lodge.
Like the day before and every other, cold beer and cocktails waited for us, adorning a nice appetizer (ham, raw ham, cheese, and other local foods (toasts with different kinds of creams, mushrooms, etc.). After enjoying these appetizers, we all took a restorative shower and soon after, dinner was ready. I love Mariana; she never fails to cook an incredible meal! What a great chef!!
Dinner was phenomenal and everybody took turns telling stories about the day in the field. Remember, Luis and Richard were still there with us. Laughs filled the dining room as countless bottles of wine were uncorked and poured. We had a great time and dinner was fantastic! But it was time to sleep now. Time to mentally prepare for our next day.
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