Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Argentina Dove Shoot 2018

I've been interested in watching birds since about the 2nd grade.  I've been shooting at waterfowl since about the 4th grade.   I had never shot a dove in my life until this summer.  I had clients invite me to dove shoots in Southern California, in south Georgia, I think the in-laws even invited me once to shoot doves in TN.  I remember specifically going dove hunting one time in my life.  I was a senior in high school in South Dakota.  Never shot one that day and that was in the fall of 1971.

Fast forward to June, 2018.

My good pal who has hunted far and wide with me over the years found himself at an Alzheimer's Benefit Fundraiser about a year ago.   A few liquor drinks being involved, he put in the minimum bid to go on a dove hunt to Argentina.  When the night was over he had "won" the hunt!   I use the term "WON" here rather loosely, it is what my wife says when we depart benefit fundraisers and I softly remind her it really isn't winning.  The funds still come from the checking account. I bet you know well what I am talking about.

When my pal called to ask if I was "in" to shoot doves in Argentina I was thrilled.   Cheap trip for sure with the Argentinian peso on the ropes!   There were some great guys going and traveling from Dallas via Atlanta to Buenos Aires allowed us to travel together on the same flight.

We are all busy in our respective careers and figured that three days of gunning were enough to schedule.  We were correct in that assumption. It's a long way to Argentina however you decide to get there and flying south late on a Saturday night in the dark gave me a good look at the Cuban coastline and dimly lit cities that harbor the one-sided socialist republic in which political power is vested in the Communist Party.
Arriving into Buenos Aires on Sunday morning and a short layover before another flight into Cordoba, Argentina about 400 miles to the north-west of Buenos Aires.  We didn't bring any ammo, we didn't bring any guns.   We "rented" Benelli .20 gauge semi-automatic shotguns for $75 per day and paid $15 for every box of shells we shot.  Airfare round-trip ran about $1,800 and the total cost of my trip outside of airfare was between $2,500 and $3,000.   Lots of friends and acquaintances have asked me what the cost was so I thought I'd include it here.

The name of the outfitter we used was Maers & Goldman out of Cordoba.  The lodging provided was excellent.  The grounds were clean and well-kept.
The services provided by staff were outstanding and the food was simply world-class.

I wasn't worried about hitting the doves, nobody yet has ever called me a bad shot, probably has something to do with practicing shooting.  I was concerned that  with so many guys gunning week after week, year after year that somehow there wouldn't be enough doves to shoot at.  I. Had. No. Idea.     The number of doves was simply unbelievable.

This is our driver.  He always had a smile and could drive that rig through any greasy gumbo back road in Argentina safely.  He always smelled like a liquor drink.  Maybe there was a correlation there.

The first morning we had a great breakfast and board the Mercedes Benz travel van and were taken to the field where we met our guides.   The guide's job is make sure your gun is cleaned every night, to count the number of shells you shoot, to count the number of birds you drop and to make sure everything goes well because his income is dependant only upon the gratuity a hunter gives him at the end of the hunt.  My guide was Marcos.

Marcos was probably early 50's, spoke little English, and what English he did speak was very plain, "good shot Dean, good shot" or "swing, swing, swing" when I would miss.   The only exception to that was when I was shooting parakeets he would call them "tweeties" in his own brand of humor.  Marcos could put shells into my shotgun faster than I could.  His fingers were bandaged to protect them from putting thousands of shells into my gun.  Without the shoulder pad I had purchased the trip would have been far tougher.  Ear protection, eye protection, shoulder protection were very important.  I don't know what company manufactured the ammo we used but I had only 1 misfire out of thousands of rounds.

When the birds come off the massive roosts in the morning it was truly a spectacular sight.   Argentina does a couple of things very well.   The country produces soybeans and corn.  They also don't tax the citizens to provide welfare for able-bodied Argentians.  You either work and eat or don't work and don't eat.  Sounds pretty simple.  The SWAMP could probably learn a thing or two in that regard from Argentina!

This picture is what it is all about but it just doesn't give the sheer immensity of the birds coming at you.  It seems like there is no end to the number of birds.  How many birds did I shoot?  Alot.  I don't know how many I shot.  The numbers don't matter to me, much like the score on a big deer I might shoot.  I don't care.   Getting your hand burned by touching a smoking hot barrel is always possible!  Marcos was non-stop and I was hammering!


I did enjoy pounding wild parakeets.  They fly at tremendous speed and have the acrobatic ability and speed of a hummingbird.   Farmers have a hard time with parakeets because they make their nests everywhere.  Here is a parakeet nest that disabled a windmill.
Here are some parakeets I was able to kill.
The head honcho of the show, Mr. Goldman has been in the game for 33 years.  He told me there are more birds now than when he started due to the agriculture methods providing more food for the birds.  When the shooting stops in the morning the raptors are moving in to feed on dead birds and the puma's (mountain lions) are coming in the evening to feed in dark of night.  Lion tracks are everywhere in Argentina.
One day the guides picked up our birds.  This is a pretty hefty pile and am not certain how many  birds were in this pile.  We had dove for supper and they were delicious.  The other days the birds were left in the field. Nobody it seems wants to clean and eat dove when Argentinian beef is so common. 

Would I do it again, yes.  Would I try to do find a place closer to home, yes.  Mexico has great dove shooting.  Next time I would probably want to do some waterfowl shooting along with the dove shooting.  I liked the opportunity to get into cool weather during the American summer and loved the opportunity the currency devaluation in Argentina provided. The U.S. dollar goes a long way in some places around the world.

One question I need answered is with the dozens of hawks and eagles that swoop into the fields after the daily shooting, and how much lead they must ingest day after day, why aren't all the raptors dead in the entire country?   We read about the effects of lead shot in America and Argentina seems to be growing populations of raptors with lead shot!!

I am fortunate to have gone on the trip and thankful for such good friends who made the memories and laughter so great.

And to Argentina, thank you too.  I hope one day you elect honest leadership and are able to become a South American powerhouse.  And to the doves of Argentina, may you continue your torrid pace of breeding and raising so many broods year after year.  It is truly unbelievable until you see it for yourself!      


             

Thursday, August 23, 2018

NFL Wake Up.................

You graduated high school in 2011.  Your teenage years were a struggle.  You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.  Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.  Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football.  Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage  You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best.  They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s.  College was not an option for him.  On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter.  You went to summer workouts.  He went to basic training.

You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans.  Tutors attended to your every academic need.  You attended class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard.  You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.  Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.  He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did.  He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American's give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.

You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts.  You hired an agent and waited for draft day.  You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football.  Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach.  He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers.  You will sleep at the Ritz.  He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep.  You will “make it rain” in the club.  He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.

On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name.  For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week.  There are no adoring fans.  There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest.  He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV.  When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television.  While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.

To the players of the NFL:  We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys.  We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.  We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth  We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.  But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.  I encourage all like minded Americans to boycott the NFL

National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 11th, Veterans Day Weekend. Boycott all football telecasts, fans, ticket holders, stay away from attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums. Pass this post along to your friends and family. Honor our military, some of whom came home with the American Flag draped over their coffin.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Collusion 101

Glen Simpson lying under oath about when he first met Bruce Ohr passing to him foreign spy Christopher Steele's totally fabricated documents is not any sort of collusion or conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 presidential election however, Michael Flynn speaking to the Russian ambassador in his capacity as the newly appointed National Security Advisor is?  GMAFB 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Want some truth? Here's some truth..........

25 people were shot & 3 were killed yesterday in Chicago over a 2 hour span during “Barack Obama Day.” So where’s the liberal outrage? Where’s the mainstream media coverage? Where are the NFL players taking a knee? Where are the actors from Hollywood? Oh yeah, they don’t care.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

MY GREATEST DEER ...............

There aren't any do-overs in parenting.   My greatest work has been within the walls of my home.   I was blessed to be given the task of getting two sons into the adult world and along the way I tried my best to expose them to many of the sights and sounds of the natural world that I had the opportunity to experience with my own Dad growing up.   I have been hunting deer for over 50 years.  Along the way I have eaten a tremendous amount of venison.  Some years I shot alot of deer, some years I shot a few and some years I didn't shoot a single animal.   I have always had fun hunting.   Back in the early 90's I was privileged to hunt a private farm in Turner County, Georgia.    As a guest, I didn't care to impose on the resident landowner hunters and always tried to go out of my way to hunt areas on the farm where my hunting on foot wouldn't bother anyone.   I just would go for a walk.    Deer in south Georgia are as nocturnal as they come and hunting on foot, spot n stalk in the woods, with two sons tagging along in my footsteps was a whole new experience.   I am not certain how much luck there was that weekend, or good shooting, or just plain great stalking by the 3 Parisian boys but I remember we got one and the picture tells the story.  That was many years and many deer ago.   For me and for them.   It was a memorable hunt and one they will probably forget over time.  For me, it was one of the greatest experiences in the woods a Dad could ever have.     

Play through pain.........

When you break a finger and you want to be at practice you do what you have to do.   #AYFA    #AYFATrainingGround 

Unbelievable...........

To this day in my life, the heaviest mule deer I ever laid my hands on.    I can't tell you what we thought this deer would have weighed on the hoof.   One, you would have called us crazy and two you wouldn't have believed us.

It was crazy and it was unbelievable.   The coyotes and magpies done a job on him before we got back up there the next morning on horseback even after leaving some clothing draped on him.

Wolf Mountains, Crow Indian Reservation.  1983


Never stop dreaming.........

At this tender age i bet he never dreamed he would own a 2 mile stretch of this magnificent river.............


Friday, August 03, 2018

TANSTAAFL

Let's take a deep breath. Slow down. Look around. Now, look back.


Who is the culprit here? Who is to wear the crown of blame for our financial mess?


Ready?


He may be around the corner from your home. She may be on the PTA. They may sit next to you in church. You saw them at your kids soccer party.


That's who they are.


The 2008 crisis originated in the greed and failure to save by homeowners, their use of real estate borrowing for consumptive lifestyles. Their failure to save, their spendthrift ways.

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS