NEWS & REPORTS
Adrenaline rush I
We are now with our last Big Game group of the 2018 Season. Ben, Ken, Alex, and Jimbo. They came to do some Dove Hunt at our lovely “La Loma” Lodge in Cordoba and hunted for three full days. If you want to keep reading about this program, we have a bunch of great stories about it here.
We are here to talk about BIG GAME!
Picture this: We are in my truck heading to Rincon Lodge, a lovely place where we do mostly Water Buffalos & Red Stag. On my right hand is Ben, and in the back seat, Ken is drinking his hot coffee. On a different truck, we have George, the guide, Alex, and Jimbo.
Before we go any further, I just want to let you know that I had a blast with these four friends from Texas & Kentucky (Jimbo). It’s been a long time since I had to listen to so many amazing musicians as we did this four days! These guys love good music and they know a great variety of it.
We weren't so far from the lodge, but since the route has lots of turns it took us longer than it should have. To give you an idea, it takes about an hour and thirty minutes just to go from the bottom of the hill to the very top, where the lodge is. And that’s my favorite thing about this place, that it is completely isolated and peaceful. There’s not a soul in miles, besides our guest and staff for 5 whole days. I love visiting this lodge since I can relax and don’t stress over the hassle and noise of the city.
The whole drive there, from La Loma Lodge to Rincon Lodge, I was playing my tunes. But then, when we pull over for a quick bathroom stop, I asked Ben if he could play his playlist because I realized that he knew most of the songs that I was playing and honestly, I love listening to artists I’ve never heard before. So I was very surprised that we had such a similar taste in music. And let me tell you, after this, all of them felt as if they were longtime friends!
We finally made it to the lodge by 6 pm and the guys had hunted birds that same morning so they were pretty tired. Once at Rincon Lodge, Jesus, the Operation Manager, was waiting for us with cold drinks and appetizers. The lodge’s staff, George, and Osqui helped everyone settle in and half an hour later we were opening the first of many bottles of wine. And it wasn’t that long since we got a call for dinner! It was a long day for the guys so after one last glass of wine after dinner we all went to bed feeling very excited about the days to come.
I woke up with Jesus’ phone alarm. We all did by the way. I checked my phone: 6:32 am. Ok, I thought, let’s do this! So I joined our guests in the living room for some coffees followed by a tasty breakfast with orange juice, croissants, scrambled eggs, bacon and multiple deliciousness.
I was surprised to see the guys making jokes and having fun that early. I’m one of those guys too. We got a heads up that the horses were ready for us and I immediately thought this is gonna be great. I love horses, I do horseback riding since I was 6 years old. And now we are going both; horseback riding and hunting! I couldn’t be more excited!
We split up into two groups. Ben & Alex with George and then Ken Jimbo and myself with Osqui. I like to go with the guys with my cameras and do some photos and videos. I explained to the guys that since we use them for our website, I was going to send them all for free after the trip. So I asked them if it was ok If I could join them. Yes! Of course, you can!
It’s 11 am and we are after Ken’s trophy; a Red Stag. It could be a classic or an upgrade he said. He wanted to decide on the spot when he sees him, he’ll know! While having breakfast, that morning, we agreed with Osqui that if he sees a classic he will give us a signal, and if he thinks it’s an upgrade, he’ll do a different signal for us. It was a good idea because even though I was there to translate, sometimes everything goes to fast and there is not enough time to translate what kind of Trophy it is.
We saw a few but none of them close to the kind of Stag Ken was looking for. 2 hours after getting on the horses Osqui stopped and checked again with his binoculars.
-I see one!
-Where? -Asked Ken while grabbing his binoculars…-is it a good one?
-I think so, yes. We need to get closer and double check; he is too far.
-Oh yes! I see him. I think we have good chances there. Let’s call him Red!
We got back in our horses for another 30 minutes and started going. He was behind a big rock. Osqui was leading us, Ken was following his steps and I was in between Ken and Jimbo, who was the last of the line.
After 15-20 minutes walking and crawling we finally were at a shooting distance. But we were on top of a rock so he didn’t have a clean shot. Ken was tempted to shoot but Osqui advised him not to take the chance. Red finally saw us, or smelled us, who knows…and he started running. We tried to stay close to him but he was too fast and that ground was dangerous to start running. We are hunting in the middle of the hill with a bunch of rocks and slopes. We stopped five minutes to catch some air and have a cool drink.
-He is beautiful! said Osqui.
-Oh yes! You bet he is! Affirmed Ken.
I was checking my camera. That was really exciting I thought. It’s a pity we didn’t have a clean shot.
-Let’s go…From what I saw, I think we have good chances to see him again. But we must be very silent.
-You are the man Osqui, I said. We’ll follow, you lead.
It was lunch time by now. But there was no way Ken and Jimbo would pass on this amazing opportunity to have lunch! So instead, we got back into our horses and 40 minutes later we were almost at the highest part of the hill. We pulled over and Osqui started searching the area.
Ok. It’s taking him a lot. He might’ve seen something, said Ken. He got off the horse and followed Osqui’s previous steps.
Jimbo and I stayed close by the horses. I took out my jacket and used it as a pillow. They should be here in 5-10 minutes I thought. More than enough time for a short nap.
I suddenly woke up 12 minutes later. I felt very dizzy and disoriented for a few seconds, but it was a great nap! I got back on my knees while stretching and I saw Jimbo at about 50 yards sweeping the area with his binoculars, so I approached him and he said:
-I lost them!
-Where was that? I said.
-Last time I saw them they were going behind that rock over there.
Jimbo pointed me to a big rock that was at about 300 yards from us. I took my camera and I started walking towards the rock and once I got there, I turned round to see if Jimbo was following me. He didn’t move. He was still searching with his binoculars. I walked 200 more yards the same direction when I finally saw the guys. They were hiding behind another big rock half a mile from where I was. 10 minutes later we were all together, except for Jimbo who was behind us.
We saw Red again but before we could have a good shot distance, he started running again.
We went back to the horses and once we were ready to move on Osqui said:
We have two options. Either he went even higher to that area (he pointed Northeast to the very top of the hill, like a mile from where we were), or he kept on running and went back close to that area, close to that small river.
-What do you think Osqui? What’s your hunch? Asked Ken.
-Mmmm, he could be in both places. But, if you ask me. I would check the top of that Hill and if there is no signal of him, we can go to that area by the river.
-I like that, said Ken. I agree, let’s do that.
10 minutes later we were stalking again and before we could get any closer to the top Osqui requested us to wait for him in hiding, so he could check without been seen. That was a good call! 5-10 minutes later he was back with us.
-He is here! Follow me guys and remember we should be very quiet.
Ken grabbed the rifle and after crawling for around 30 yards he set up the riffle. I was on his left all set up to get video footage of the action. I was trying to set up the camera with the big lens when I saw ken loading the bullet from the magazine! No time for the big lens I thought. I left it on the ground and started filming with a GoPro instead. And, suddenly...
Ken took the first shot. He got the “target” but Red was still standing. He couldn’t run, but he started walking very fast.
-Take the second one! I said. I do not know why I told him that. He was already pulling the trigger. But I guess I was as excited as them. And, once more...
The second shot and Red went down before Ken could even reload his gun. A perfect shot!! Big smiles and celebration everywhere. It was really a great hunt! Red slipped thru our fingers three times, but there was no way Ken would go home empty handed!
Once Ken got a grip of the adrenaline rush, we started walking towards Ken’s trophy. We took some great pictures and Osqui started to skin him. There was no way we could take the full trophy back to the lodge. You can’t get with a truck over there. So Osqui cut him for a shoulder mount and put the head with the skin in a bag. We also took as much of the meat as we could take back in our horses and we started our way back to the Lodge.
Once back there we joined Ben, Alex and the rest of the lodge staff. We had a great glass of wine with appetizers. The guys shared all the pictures and stories from the day and 40 minutes later we were having scrumptious dinner.