After a great Buffalo hunt in Cordoba I went home for 12 days and got ready for another adventure. This time I was going to La Pampa Lodge. Another beautiful place where we do lots of different hunts, but mostly, Red Stag and Water Buffalo.
It was the second time at La Pampa Lodge for Tim and his son Royce, but the first for Bish and Jesus. The guys flew from US to Ezeiza (Bs As) Airport and from there they flew to Santa Rosa; arrival time 11 p.m. Me, on the other hand, I left Buenos Aires by 15hs. Took my luggage and the cameras to the truck and started driving west. It is a 7/8 hours driving for me from Buenos Aires.
I arrived by 10p.m to the Lodge, where Nico and the staff where waiting for me. I took my stuffs to my room p.d I went to the bar, where I met Mark. Mark is a cool 50 years old man from Michigan. While we were having some cold beers he told me he got a Stag that morning, he was very excited. Like 10 minutes later we had a late dinner just the three of us: Mark, Nico and myself.
I really like Nico, he is a very good friend. Not that kind of friend that you see often when you have the time, but the kind of friend who, when you see him after a long time, it seems you just saw him few days ago (I see Nico during season so I guess we see each other every 8/9 months).
After dinner, Mark and I played pool. I took my speaker and there we were, listening to good music, drinking beer and playing pool while waiting for the guys to arrive. I think we played 2 or 3 games when the guys finally arrived to the Lodge. Horace, one of the guides, went to the airport to pick them up. The guys had a small appetizer and after one Miller bottle of beer we all went to bed.
It was a long traveling day for all of us. I went to the room, set the hunting gear for the next day, set the alarm and turned off the light. I checked messages at the phone and got asleep: A new great adventure was about to start.
The following morning, we all woke up by 6 a.m., had a big breakfast and by 7 a.m. we were all ready to leave. The four hunters went out by their self with one guide each. I didn’t know who to go with. So I talked to the guides and asked them in which truck there was more room so I could join them.
By 8 a.m. we were already at the field looking for our first Red Stag. I went with Jesus and his guide: Gonzalo (Gonzalo was going to be Jesus guide for the entire trip). It was a very nice morning, little cloudy and wet, but a nice morning anyway. We walked for hours. In some areas it wasn’t that easy to go through due to the branches and thorns.
It was like 11 a.m. when we finally saw one. It was a very nice one. The guys took their time to check if this was the kind of Stag Jesus was after at and after a few minutes they realized they were staring at a “Silver” Red Stag.
It was very easy to tell that Jesus was very exited and as soon as he gave us the green light we started crawling in between the branches. We were getting closer and closer, very patience. Taking our time. We stopped like about 50 yards from him and the guys were looking a spot for a clean shot when we suddenly listen to a riffle shot in the distance.The entire group was doing bow hunting, so we realized this was Mark shooting somewhere far away from us. It wasn’t too loud but it was enough to get our friend scared. He started running and 10 seconds later we lost him in between the branches.
We all looked at each other and couldn’t believe how close we were. We walked for another 40 minutes and we went back to the Lodge. Once at the Lodge we had a great lunch. Jesus told the guys about his morning hunt and how excited he was when we got really close to the stag. The idea was to go back to the field by 16:30hs. They recommend to the hunters not going earlier than that, since it is very hot and the animals are going to be lying down and it is very difficult to see them.
That afternoon Gonzalo talked with Nico and they decided it was a good idea to go to the blind and wait for a Stag when they come for some water. Keep in mind that bow hunters have to be very close to the prey (Average 50 yards). It's a totally different story with riffles, where you can be minimum at 150 yards.
So there we were. Hiding in a 3 meters high blind waiting for something to come close to us. Gonzalo told us that we probably had to wait until sunset when they usually go down for some water. But, luckily for us, we only waited like for about 30-40 minutes when Gonzalo saw a “Monster” Stag coming down for some water.
I turned left and started watching him through my camera. I was recording with my camera through a very small window. I was very anxious to do some photos too, but this was not an option. It doesn’t matter if you set you camera in “silent” mode. It always makes a little sound when taking photos (is the shutter when it opens and close). Jesus was on my right but I never stopped recording this gold monster stag (I was like hypnotized).
Jesus did well and he took his time for shooting the Stag. It happens very often, that hunters get very anxious and they don’t take time enough to do the properly set. Well, this was not the case. Jesus took his time and wounded the Stag very well. A little in the back, but the arrow went through one side to the other. Doing serious damage. Our gold friend started running and about 140 yards from us he laid down to the ground.
Usually they go running as far as they can. We waited at the blind for 50 minutes and Gonzalo asked Jesus if he wanted to go and check the stag or wait for little longer (we were able to see him for the first 40 minutes when he was with the head up. But the last 20 minutes he was fully laid in the ground).
Jesus said he preferred not to go in case he was still alive. We waited for another 90 minutes and when it was getting dark Gonzalo asked him again what he would like to do. And Jesus, in the smartest but most difficult call he decided not to go near him and go back to the Lodge. He preferred to leave him all night long alone. The less he moves the better.
Once at the Lodge we had some appetizer with drinks. The guys told each other their different stories and by 9 p.m we went outside close to the fire where chef was doing barbecue. We had a great dinner with some greatest wines from Nico’s reserve (his family has one of the best vineyards in Argentina).
It was time for the truth. That morning we went back to the same blind hoping and praying “goldie” was still there. This time Tim and his guide, Horace, joined us (Tim killed his stag the day before and he was not planning to hunt anymore until his friends would had their trophy). We stopped at the top of the hill and Gonzalo checked with his binoculars.
- He is still there!! At the same spot. He didn’t move not even an inch. But we should be careful. He is still alive.
Horace, Tim and myself stayed at the truck. While Gonzalo and Jesus went down with a rifle and a bow respectively. The idea was not to make too much noise and, on the other hand, to have a good view in case Goldie started running away (every guide has a radio to communicate each other and same way with the Lodge). We didn’t need them anyway. 15 to 20 minutes later Goldie was down and we all took a relief breath.It was time to celebrate now. After doing some photos and getting goldie to the truck we all went back to the Lodge.
Royce and Bish couldn’t got their stag yet. They saw a few but they weren’t able to shoot them. Royce got his stag on the following day while it took another extra day to Bish to get his Stag. It had nothing to do with Bish of course. It is hunting and sometimes you are lucky enough to see them at the first day or, like Bish, on the very last one.
That very last night we had some great homemade pizza with great drinks and once we finished the guys didn’t stay longer since their flight was scheduled for 6 a.m. and they had to leave the Lodge by 4 a.m. We stayed a bit little longer with Jesus, and once he went to bed, I stayed for one last beer with Nico close to the fire celebrating what it was another great adventure.
You should be the next one!
Edited by Carolina Diez