Does gun fit really matter? Well, I drove 1,320 miles to find the answer.
I wouldn’t make the grueling round-trip drive from Maryland to Georgia just for anyone who claimed to be a gunfitter. This guy was the real deal — by all accounts the best: Chris Batha.
At an elevation approaching 3,000 feet, the high-desert terrain cut a razor-sharp horizon across Highland Hills Ranch. A chukar flushes, you wheel around, experience the rush of a game bird escaping against the silk-blue sky and when the stock of the 20 gauge touches your cheek a single detonation punctuates an indelible instant high on the threshold of eternity.
While the Cordoba region of Argentina has long been recognized as the high-volume dove-shooting hotspot, Cordoba isn’t the only area of South America that is plagued with a massive dove population. In the late 1990s Uruguay became a much sought after dove-gunning goal for many. After the turn of this century Bolivia became yet another dove shooting paradise – though most of the USA’s shotgunners have not heard much about the Bolivian shooting yet.
You recognize the spectacular beauty of Honey Lake Planation upon opening the door into the Pansy Poe Cottage and after those tentative steps into the softly lit passageway that whispers Southern secrets from the Gilded Age you happen to look toward the glow at the far end of the white bead-board living room, through the picture windows, surprised to see the pristine surface of Honey Lake shimmer in the Florida daylight.
On a brilliant autumn afternoon, a helicopter packed with oil men from Texas and Mexico touched down on a grassy field at Joshua Creek Ranch. With rotors revolving overhead, they filed out toward an idling SUV and three minutes later the contingent occupied a table on the limestone patio in the shade of a magnificent 400-year-old oak tree, the rush of the Guadalupe River rising from below, enjoying a hearty lunch and talking business.
You undoubtedly already know the catchphrase “Beretta 500 Years, One Passion.” In distinguishing the world’s oldest industrial enterprise, Beretta’s message resonates with an antiquity only assigned to shotgun sports royalty.
When it comes to putting together a bird-hunting trip, the power of the Internet marketing machine, good pictures and clever words go a long way in selling someone on the positive attributes of a location, a lodge and an outfitter.
As the oldest hunting club in America, Cabin Bluff exemplifies that celebrated down-home, Low-Country hospitality duly expressed when I received a pecan pie on the house for the ride home.
Wingshooting has been my lifelong passion and the motivation that has resulted in my occupation which runs the whole gambit of wingshooting worldwide. I have worked for several of the top gunmakers in England and Europe as shooting instructor, gun fitter, gunmaker and sporting agent (outfitter).
In Part I of the series “Dove Hunting in Argentina Beretta Style” we talked about our mission: To determine if a 12-gauge is overkill, compared with sub-gauge shotguns, for high-volume dove shooting in Argentina. For Part II, we reached our first hunting destination, the Sierra Brava Lodge. Now in the final leg of our trip in the fabled Córdoba region, we head to the sumptuous Estancia Los Chañares
I’ve never considered myself to be one of those pampered hunters who expects to be catered to and afforded the type of treatment normally reserved for royalty and rock stars.
I would not, however, completely exclude the possibility of occasionally experiencing such treatment (voicing just the right amount of protest, of course), all for the sake of reporting on one such operation, Rough Creek Lodge and Resort, a hunting and resort destination located a 90-minute drive southwest of Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.
Both Uruguay and Argentina have great dove shooting every month of the year. Of course, their perdiz and duck shooting takes place in their winter – May, June and July – in a few instances into August. Many prefer the combination of ducks and perdiz or perdiz and doves or ducks and doves. With some outfitters it’s possible to hunt all three.
In Part I of the series “Dove Hunting in Argentina Beretta Style” we talked about our mission: To determine if a 12-gauge is overkill, compared with sub-gauge shotguns, for high-volume dove shooting in Argentina. Now in Part II, we reach our first hunting destination, the Sierra Brava Lodge.