Shooting duck in Argentina is Elysium come early. Try something new and set your sights on South America.
Wildfowlers either grow to love the wet or pursue drier pastimes. Even so, we cursed Hurricane Betty – or was she Charlotte? Whatever her name, she’d partied hard in the south Atlantic, crashed out somewhere and left Argentina’s taps running. We’d travelled 7,000 miles to swap a dank Britain for soused duck shooting in Argentina. “They’ll be everywhere,” murmured Nick Zoll, raising a leaden eyelid from the back of the minibus to watch a pair of silver teal dibble in a ditch. “Bleedin’ everywhere.”
Difficult not to agree as we drove through Buenos Aires province, its green livery of wheat, soy and sunflowers now stringed with splashes of silver dotted with ibis, spoonbills and bobbing duck. Why would the duck ignore this bounty to come streaming into our fed flight ponds?
When we arrived we could see the question was exercising Charlie Lanusse, the manager of David Denies’ Jacana Lodge, but our optimism was rapidly restored as we sank a couple of margaritas and demolished a steak. “There is a lot of water,” said Lanusse, “but there are also a lot of duck. We can shoot 13 species here and you should manage to shoot 11 of them. In all, we’re working an area within 50 kilometres of the lodge and we have around a hundred two-man blinds out there. Every day we have a team of boys feeding the flight ponds with maize and they report back on how many duck they’ve seen as well as signs of them, such as preened feathers and droppings. The average bag is 75 duck per blind on morning flight and 35 to 40 in the evening. So let’s go and see what we can find. ”