Uruguay is one of the most stable countries in South America, and is very friendly to the Norte Americano. Montevideo is the capital city of roughly 1.8 million people. It’s a great entry and exit point, and I recommend a least one night in Montevideo. The food in the capital city is somewhat typical of Southern South America, with beef and wine being the main draws. Hotels are reasonably priced, with options for the budget minded or luxury traveler. A stroll along the river with a thermos of hot water and a mate’ (tea gourd) is an experience that adds to the trip and is an opportunity to interact with the culture of Uruguay, not to mention some serious people watching. (A mate’ makes a great keepsake as well.) Uruguay being a smaller country you can easily drive across from border to border in six to seven hours.
The Salvo Palace in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.
A gem for the avid wingshooter, there are numerous lodges in Uruguay that can accommodate any type of wingshooter and budget. Opportunities for perdiz, high-volume shooting, decoyed pigeons and ducks are available in many cases from a single lodge. Which is what makes Uruguay one of the top destinations: one lodge, four feathers!
Several reputable outfitters have lodges with the best mixed-bag options centering around Paysandu in the northwestern region of the country. Almost all of Uruguay’s great lodges can be found within a five-hour drive from Montevideo or Buenos Aires. With so many options I recommend calling a reputable consultant to get you a shoot that is what you’re expecting and matches your wants.
One of the stately wingshooting lodges in Uruguay.
Although shooting does not match the volume of Cordoba in Argentina, the potential to shoot a couple thousand doves per day is definitely possible in Uruguay. The shooting in Uruguay is truly high-volume, with most lodges having short drives to the field, and over decent roads. The terrain can vary from rolling hills to flat land and river bottoms. Roosts can occur wherever there is substantial brush, and many times can be found along the thick vegetation growing along a river. If you’re looking to shoot 10,000 doves in a day, there are better places. If you’re looking to shoot a couple thousand, then Uruguay has plenty of birds.
Perdiz are plentiful and are hunted behind pointing dogs. Expect a perdiz rise to be singles or pairs; a three bird rise is rare but not unheard of. Generally, 10 −15 flushes per hunt are the norm. Perdiz are very well accustomed to the cattle range and grasslands that spread across Uruguay, and can be found throughout most of the country. Shooting is normally in wide open country, with the only real difficulty being the propensity of perdiz to fly low, which makes knowing where the dog and other hunters are a high priority.
Pigeon shooting in Uruguay is very satisfying. They are hunted by either pass shooting or decoyed. The decoyed pigeon is by far my favorite (a byproduct of being a Missouri boy), with 60 – 80 birds per shoot a good representation or Uruguay pigeons. Most pigeon hunting is done over sorghum or other agriculture, or near one or the large feed lots that are popping up all over Uruguay – leading me to believe that we will start to see better and better pigeon numbers. Blinds for pigeon hunting are temporary and consist of poles and fabric. Some blinds will be cut out of the brush, depending on the outfitter.
Although dove hunting in Uruguay isn’t as abundant as in Cordoba, Argentina, the numbers available to wingshooters is still very impressive.
The duck hunting in Uruguay is as good as anywhere in the world, and one of the top destinations to shoot the Rosey Billed Pochard. Whether you are shooting the rivers in the west or the pot holes of the northeast, there is great duck shooting. You can expect 20 – 30 per shoot being a conservative limit, depending on outfitter and area. The ducks here are shot over water, either in lagoons and back waters of the major rivers, or well scouted potholes that dot the country side. Ducks in Uruguay are shot over species specific decoys, your blind will be handmade that morning or the day before and will hide you very well. These are not like North American ducks that are highly acclimated to hunters. A comparison is hard to make, in that the ducks of Uruguay get so little pressure that they rarely are bothered by a blind or the hunter.
A good day of dove hunting in Uruguay.
Uruguay is a wonderful country and a top destination for the feather collector. From wine to the shooting, Uruguay holds its own among any of the historic wingshooting areas of the world. Not being as well-known as Argentina or Bolivia has allowed a certain preservation of culture in the estancias of Uruguay, and adds to the overall feel of exclusivity. To me Uruguay is where you go when you don’t want to be like everyone else. Uruguay is a great alternative to Argentina and is a place that should be high on the list of any traveling wingshooter!