We all know that it can be pretty scary to book an international hunting trip. The big questions hunters ask themselves center around trust, enjoyment and performance of the outfitter you’re thinking about booking. After all, it’s not only the money involved but often a dream come true, the anticipation of memories created by hunting with loved ones or your buddies, or as some folks like to say checking off another item on your “bucket list.”
The aerial acrobatics that a pigeon can perform are awe-inspiring in the world of wingshooting. The pigeon can only be rivaled in speed by a teal or a dove. A pigeon can turn on a dime. It can barrel roll or loop to loop with the best jet pilots. So it’s no wonder that when I ask well-traveled wingshooters “What’s your favorite bird to hunt?” more often than not they answer “pigeon.”
There’s a term in international wingshooting called “High-Volume.” Most outfitters claim they have truly high-volume shooting, and in many cases they do. Especially when you’re talking about shooting doves in South America. But what is High-Volume shooting, and more importantly how do you determine what High-Volume shooting really is?
As a hunting and fishing consultant, it’s a daily task to make sure each one of my customers gets the very best trip they can possibly have. Part of my job is to ask questions, and match each client to a lodge or outfitter that best matches their expectations and desires. That’s why I believe working with an agent or consultant is the number one thing the traveling wingshooter can do to ensure a good trip. Since most agents have been to the places they represent they have insights as to how you can maximize your money and time. What follows are a few things that I recommend to my clients and think they apply well to most any wingshooting adventure.
While Uruguay has been a player in the international wingshooting scene for many years, the country has been slightly overshadowed by Argentina. Uruguay is a true wingshooter’s dream, and quite possibly has the best mixed bag of wingshooting in the world.
In the world of international hunting there are several ways to book your “hunt of a lifetime.” It could be at conventions such as Safari Club International, or a local show, the Internet, word of mouth or through a booking agent. The easiest, and honestly, most reliable way to book a hunt will be through a booking agent. Here’s why:
Wild quail hunting can be found from Mexico to the uplands of California to the northern Midwest across the country to the so-called Golden Triangle of Georgia. North America itself is home to several quail species that live in assorted habitats and regions. Given the incredible variety of quail hunting opportunities there are many ways a hunter can get on birds – making these challenging birds available for an array of budgets and skill levels.
I’m extremely proud of my good buddy, Eric Harrison of Joshua Creek Ranch, who received the 2017 Orvis Endorsed Wingshooting Guide of the Year. Eric and I have been friends for many years, and I know him as a great guide and father. Many of Shotgun Life’s readers have hunted with a guide like Eric or Eric himself at some point. I thought it would be helpful to sit down with him for a quick Q&A to discover what it takes to be a winning wingshooting guide and how you can benefit from hunting with someone like him.
In my early years of bird hunting I started a bucket list by pouring over the magazines by my father’s Lazy Boy. I would memorize item numbers in Lyon Country Supply, and dream of the day I had my own real bird dog. Dreams of skidding points, and huge Canadian geese in the decoys, banded green heads and woodcock over a Llewellyn or any other bird hunt I could read about and absorb.