Over the past 7-8 years I have tried my best to work off my bucket list hunts. Some are small things, others are a good bit larger. Some will be things I may only get to put on the list, but they are a type of goal for me. Some people enjoy hunting turkeys on their farm, others enjoy deer hunting a certain way, for me, it is the experience of hunting animals I’ve never had the opportunity to chase. Some maybe never again. Just being at a place you’ll never be again puts things in to perspective for me a little. Argentina has become a location that has provided me great opportunity to work off some of those hunts while also becoming a very comfortable planning experience. Each time I go, I’m more comfortable, because I learn more about the culture, travel logistics, and the people. I decided after my duck/dove hunt in Argentina last August, that I probably wanted to go ahead and work on a Red Stag hunt, while the knowledge and experience of Argentina was fresh on my mind. I kicked around burning my Elk or Mule deer points, but I’m really trying to hold out for better than I could draw right now. That made the decision for me to chase stag, as long as I could swing the money portion. I started scouring the internet looking for reviews, lodges, and references. I spoke to folks that had been and spoke to folks that sold hunts. My wife and I went to Dallas to the safari club show and checked in on the Houston Show. I narrowed my lists down to 3-4 folks and started to get pretty serious on placing a deposit with whichever one was had the best dates available at roughly the same accommodating deal. Right before placing the deposit with a group, I followed an auction at the Houston Safari show from one of my finalists. I placed an opening bid and won the hunt with no other bids coming in. It worked out better than I could have imagined. I was able to get a hunt for a Free Range Stag for a hunter and a wild boar for another, which meant my wife could tag along and be covered for less than I could have expected. We talked with the outfitter (MAPU Hunting Lodge) and I was able to secure April 1-5 for this year during the Roar. We booked our flights and got everything lined up for the hunt, and we were sitting perfect for everything. Then the Tuesday before our Friday flight happened. My Dad had not been feeling extremely well for a few days, but nothing seemed too alarming. About 11pm Tuesday night, he called me and said he needed to go to the hospital, he was having chest pains. An hour later we are in the hospital hooked up to the EKG machine and blood test showing he had a heart attack. The next 2 days follow with tests, heart angioplasty, and a recovery window that is a little slower than normal. Everything considering he comes out extremely lucky and prognosis is great. As Friday morning rolls around though, he is still waiting to be discharged, and at this point I’m not sure if I will get on a plane 8 hours later or not. After getting him home and talking to him and my mom, my wife and I decide to go ahead and go. I felt a little uneasy about it, but with my mom and my sister watching everything he does, there wasn’t much else I could do. We go ahead and jump on a plane in Charleston to Buenos Aires via that disaster that is Miami. Flight to Buenos was pretty uneventful other than the note that American Airlines flights are way more cramped than the Latin American brands. The leg room is poor, service is marginal, and food is terrible. We had a near 36 hour layover in Buenos and we stayed at a hotel I have stayed at in the past, Intersur Recoleta. We grabbed room service for lunch and caught the best nap of my life. Ate dinner in the hotel restaurant that is da bomb. The dollar is strong versus the peso, so all of our meals combined were less than $65 total with tips. Spent Sunday touring portions of Buenos Aires. Sunday night we took the only flight into Santa Rosa at 9:30pm. We were met at the airport by one of the guides for the ranch, but the first person I met off the plane was an owner from one of the other ranches I considered. He recognized me from Dallas. Small world, even 6,000 miles away from home. One hour drive into the lodge. I unpacked everything and checked my bow and everything looks ok. We are in the bed at 1am for a 6am call. Up at 6am and have a quick bite, shoot my bow twice at 20 and 30, and meet our guide Bob. Bob is from Montana and would fit in very well on this site. We head out just at daylight and start walking. Stags are roaring in the dark and the first morning is fantastic. We see three or four stags that roar and we try to intercept over the next 2 hours. Each one either has a hind, isn’t a shooter, or we can’t sneak in on. We head back in around 11 to the lodge for lunch and to formulate a plan. The afternoon gets to be like 84 degrees and it is bone dry, so we make the call to head to a water hole for the evening. The blinds they have set up are pretty awesome compared to what I am used too. Nice removable windows, insulation, carpeted floors. All this setup over a waterhole in the bottom of what they call a Piccata. Basically fire breaks that run for a mile and have been planted for the animals. We setup and saw a good number of hinds and little ones come in. About 6pm a pretty good stag comes into the waterhole to drink with his girlfriend. His bad. He went 200yds and piled up. It’s not my biggest “trophy” with the bow, but under the circumstances, my coolest. Arrow was spot on, but I did not get a pass through. Very little blood in fact, he bled in the chest cavity. Shot was 40 yards on the button, arrow was 475 grains, blade was Rage Hypodermic 2”. I had both slick tricks and the hypos in the quiver. I have seen great stuff on the hypodermics and the guide praised them from his experience on elk. I got 18” of penetration and need ~20” to get pas through on a stag. On this animal it made no difference as he was smoked, but I won’t shoot 2” hypodermics on anything over a deer again. 1.5” maybe, but probably back to the tricks. Blade hit a rib bone flush on both sides, and didn’t make it out. 20 yards or slipping a rib and I’m sure I’d have said they were the best ever. Got some pics and head in for a great meal and a few whiskeys. Day 1 over. Day 2 I woke up late with sort of a bad head. We had a nice breakfast and made the call to keep hunting stags on foot that afternoon. We hunted down in a dried up river bed that had one or two water holes that probably held cholera. Saw a few stags at a distance fighting and tearing it up. Pretty cool to see, but nothing too eventful on day two. Day 3 Was kind of the same plan. We got up early and decided we were going to make a play on a really large deer the owner of the lodge had seen the night before. We were able to spot him chasing the hinds up and down the fire break, but when we tried to move on him I the thicket, I don’t know if he winded us, heard us, saw us, or just plain slipped off. We made a few more plays on some other stags, but none of them panned out for an animal. We rode around and saw a great deal of the property and were able to glass some Buffalo from a distance. We formulated a plan for the afternoon and made our way back to the lodge for lunch. That afternoon the plan was to sit the same water hole from Day 1. The weather was hot and we figured that either a stag or a big buffalo bull we had seen would come in. It was sort of slow on the Stag side. We saw one good stag, but he wasn’t any bigger than my first and didn’t present a shot anyway. The highlight if the day was 7 buffalo that came into the water. There were 3 cows and 3 calves and one non-shooter bull. All in all a very nice hunt. Day 4 rolled around and we made the plan to make a move on the same bull we had been seeing the last few days. The situation was that the bull was coming from the free range area and was interested in some hinds in the high fence across the road. He would run the edge of the fence with his girlfriend and hang until the sun was up and then he slinked off to a shade tree. The plan was to slip in super early and set up on him. That morning there was a good inch of rain that fell and it was still coming down. I decided based on how nice the stag was and how wet it was, that I would use the camp rifle. Mistake number one is that the first time I picked it up was out of the truck at the bottom of the hill. The bigger mistake was not checking the eye relief on the gun. We got into position early and right where we wanted to be. As the light came in, we could see the stag, and I finally got a really good look at him for the first time. He was the biggest animal I had seen up to date. We were in a pretty good spot, but the rolling hills made it hard to get a good bead on him. One minute he was here, the next he was 200 yds further away. We got to a little bush and setup on the pack waiting on a good shot. By this point the big stag and two smaller stags had begun chasing a free range hind up and down the fire break. The hind raced past us, and I figured this was going to be a done deal. All I needed was the stag to pop up over the hill and he was toast. Well he didn’t do that, he eased into the bottom where I couldn’t see anything but the antlers. After a minute or two I could see his neck, but for whatever reason my mind was locked into a shoulder shot at 75 yds. Neck shot would have been easy, but it never crossed my mind in the speed of things. Finally the deer got super close and started to spook. I raised up and went to shoot him as he trotted off, but between him wheeling to again chase the hind and the scope crashing into my forehead as I shot right in front of him, I royally screwed that up. The stag continued to chase the hind at 150 yds, and under normal circumstances I could have reset and made a good shot and no worse for the wear. This time however, I was bleeding like a stuck pig and couldn’t see a damn thing. I think my guide thought I was worse than I was, and we aborted trying to sneak back up on him, since we knew he wasn’t really going anywhere. We got back to the truck and sorted out that the cut wasn’t bleeding that bad, wasn’t deep and no real ill effects. We decided to ease to the lodge and grab an omelet and make a play on the stag again. The good lord was in my corner for this one, as on the way back to the lodge we spotted a different stag at about 800 yards. As we got closer, we realized he was one that needed some more investigation. I got to 400 and knew this one was just as big or bigger than the one I just missed. We hopped out of the truck and hauled ass down the fence line to within 150 yds. The stag couldn’t see us for the fence and had no idea I was there. I rolled under the fence and shot him at 150 yds. He dropped right there. The time from when I busted myself in the face until I shot the biggest stag, I’d seen all week was 9 minutes. Pics, a lot of beer/wine all afternoon, and dinner wrapped up day 4. Day 5 I’ve shot doves, and ducks, and pigeons more than I ever really want too again, but I wanted my wife to get to experience some of it, so we take Friday morning to shoot some birds. It’s a really nice morning, with more birds than you need to shoot. I could have easily shot 3-400 birds if that had been the goal, but the relaxed atmosphere was way better than the blast and blast and blast or Cordoba. Few pics with some of the pigeons. Day 6-7. Flights into and out of Santa Rosa are once a day. Saturday morning is 6am. That means a 3am wakeup to go to the airport from the lodge. Flights were uneventful, other than after a long day in Buenos Aires, I upgraded our seats on the way home, and was markedly more comfortable. Made it home Sunday at 12pm. Saw the kiddos and took the oldest to baseball practice. You want a break from the kiddos sometimes, but you miss them when you’re gone that long. Lasting thoughts. This is a trip that exceeded my expectations in almost every way. I was beyond luck to have the outcomes I did all the way around, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do it. This is less of an issue on this site, but I hear all the time that they can’t afford it now, or that they won’t go while they have a mortgage, or while their kids college isn’t paid for, or because they’re waiting for 2020 or 2030, whatever. The truth is that this hunt was cheaper for me than a guided elk hunt in almost any state. Those same people that “can’t afford it now” drive a 70k truck and go drinking every weekend or gambling or whatever. Others that won’t go until their house is paid or college is paid, will just never go and are just fooling themselves into believing life will just change and allow a different mindset. You have to make the decision to go if you want to. My dad’s situation is that he retired at 62 and had a heart attack at 65. Don’t wait until your life is gone to chase the opportunities you have now. Don’t take out a mortgage to go stag hunting, but you can do it if you try. Celeste runs a great place. If you're interested in Stag, Mapu Lodge is a great place to go.