ARGENTINA: Nice Hunt With MG Hunting - Blackbuck & Axis Deer

HuntingGold

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My wife and I traveled to Buenos Aires recently to meet with the crew at MG Hunting to take them up on a hunt program they advertised for blackbuck and axis deer. After MG Hunting advertised the initial offer, a 2 day hunt, many, including myself inquired about other activities and additional days. Manuel Gil then posted a 5 day program for a husband and wife which included the original two days of hunting along with a fishing day, tours, and a tango show. After some additional posts and PMs, we settled on some dates and sent a deposit.

I will be posting this in stages, so please bear with me.

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jduckhunter

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Off to a good start!
 

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You took a wonderful black buck! Looking forward to the rest.
 

HuntingGold

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It has been about ten days since returning from Argentina and I now have a full work week under my belt. After waking up this morning and trying to get going on a cold morning, my wife and I started watching videos on YouTube. After a few videos, for reminiscing sake, we watched a travel video on Buenos Aires. We had fun pointing out the sites we had seen and those we had not seen. Shannon is ready to go back tomorrow, vowing to see more of the city and buying the grandchildren even more gifts. Once done with the videos, I decided I had to sit down and complete this write up.

Shannon and I have been married for nearly 24 years and through our blended family have 6 children. As such, there was always something going on that kept our vacations short and close to home. Further, we have a daughter with disabilities and she requires constant care. Therefor, vacations alone, together, just rarely happened. Though this daughter is now 21, she still needs constant care. After showing Shannon this package shortly after it was advertised, Shannon told me she would like to do this and had wanted to go to Argentina since she was a little girl. After reviewing finances, and arranging a possible care giver for our daughter, I surprised Shannon just before Christmas by telling her I had booked this trip with MG Hunting.

We drove from our home to San Francisco, stayed the night, and flew out from SFO to Atlanta, Georgia. After a short lay over we then flew to Buenos Aires. I did not take my own firearms as I did not want to fool with them or worry about their security while we were touring, etc. After landing we had a rather lengthy wait in customs as apparently several international flights landed about the same time. We then walked out into the main lobby to see it full of people waiting for loved ones. Finding MG Hunting seemed like it would be a daunting task but I was able to find my name on a sign within moments and introduced myself to Pedro. He took Shannon's luggage and off we went to his little pickup for our ride into Buenos Aires.

Immediately Shannon had her phone out snapping pictures of seemingly everything in sight. This continued over the entire course of the trip. I talked with Pedro, who speaks English fairly well and much better than my Spanish. Along the way, Shannon and I were captivated by the architecture and all the new to us sights. It really wasnt long until we were at our hotel. Pedro stayed with us to make sure we checked in ok and then told us Manuel would pick us up later for our tour of the city.

Both Shannon and I were exhausted and took naps. We then met with Manuel who had a driver and a small van there to take us around the city. Our first stop with the Recoleta Cemetery. This is something that normally I would not have been interested in but it proved to be a very worth while stop. Shannon had her camera out and as we toured the cemetery, she was snapping photos. Within this cemetery are many famous generals and former presidents, including Eva Peron.

We then did a tour by car, stopping to snap a photo or two, and eventually ended up in La Boca district. I don't think I could describe it accurately but believe it was originally settled by immigrants to Argentina and they didn't have much money to paint their houses and used the paint they had, eventually developing into a district of many colors. We took a short walking tour before sitting down for a beer and an empanada while watching a couple dancing the tango nearby. After the long flights, I could have really settled in here but there was more touring to do and off we went. Since we were fairly wiped out, we mostly just toured by car, all the while Shannon had her camera going.
 

HuntingGold

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After the tours, Manuel dropped us off at the hotel for another nap.
We took our naps and showered. We were greeted by a tour company and climbed on a bus for our ride to the Tango Show. At the Tango Show, there was some trouble with getting seated as the host could not find reservations for us. It was very busy, loud, and the host was a little impatient. I tried to explain our reservations could be under MG Hunting or Manuel Gil but this seemed to be lost in translation. Though a bit impatient, the host politely asked us to step aside while he seated the remaining guests. During this time we were able to reach Manuel by phone and I was able to connect him with our host. He was able to find our reservation and we were seated. Though this bobble was frustrating, it did not take away from the beautiful evening or the show. Many thanks to Manuel and the team for being available to straighten out the confusion.

We were seated and then ordered drinks and dinner. The Tango Show was highly entertaining and beautiful and we enjoyed it all. After the show was over, we jumped back on a bus to be taken back to our hotel. There were many buses lined up and there were hosts outside to help us find our correct bus. This was helpful as our bus was not the same as we arrived in. I was nervous as hell as we rode around Buenos Aires thinking we climbed on the wrong bus. I'm not very smart phone literate but was able to pull up google maps and follow our progress and could see we were indeed getting closer to our hotel. Finally we arrived and headed for bed knowing Pedro would be there for us in just a few hours!
 

HuntingGold

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The following morning, we packed our belongings and went to breakfast. The hotel had a very nice breakfast laid out and we quickly ate then out to meet the crew.

In the lobby we found Pedro and his father Marcelo waiting for us. We threw our luggage inside and headed for the estancia 2 hours south of Buenos Aires. Growing up in Oregon, I'm used to seeing mountains. This area was flat, flat, flat, without a hill or mountain in sight. It was still beautiful with fields lined with trees along with cattle and ranch houses. It was a nice drive.

Finally we arrived and went to the managers house to meet Raul. Again Shannon was snapping pictures as fast as she could go. We then went to another ranch house and off loaded our luggage. Outside of the beautiful lawns of this ranch house were open fields. While we were getting our gear in order, Pedro spotted some blackbuck not far away. We started our hunt right then and there! I must admit I had some reservations as I really didn't want to shoot my blackbuck so quickly without a chance for seeing more of the countryside or more blackbuck for that matter. As it was, Pedro led Shannon and I into a grove of trees lining the field and we began our stalk. This stalk took us a few hundred meters within the trees and away from the house. We then crept to the field edge and set up the shooting sticks and waited. We used our binoculars to look at the hundreds of blackbuck that were now within view. I had a borrowed Weatherby Vanguard in 300 Win Mag. After waiting at tree line I could see Marcelo's Ram pickup in the distance and then understood the plan. Marcelo would just poke along in the truck. The blackbuck, being nervous by nature would walk away from him and into our direction. It was not long and we had a hundred head or more within a hundred yards of us. A particular buck we wanted was likely only 80 yards away but a clear shot could not be had. Either more blackbuck were behind him or there was vegetation covering him. All I could see was his head from jaw up. Finally they figured out the scenario and were gone almost as fast as they were there.

We then walked back to the house. Other blackbuck had moved in while we were gone and the hunt was on again. There were two or three bucks that had Pedro's focus and we tried a few times to get on them. Again, the biggest just never offered a proper shot, always walking or having others too close to offer a safe shot. He walked out of my life. Unfortunate, as afterward Pedro told me he had five twists!

We then loaded up in Marcelo's truck with Raul and set out for other pastures. Shannon, Pedro and I were dropped off near a group of trees. We walked into the trees and waited while Marcelo drove to the opposite side of this large pasture. Meanwhile Shannon was snapping pictures of the green parakeets that were chirping in the trees above. This actually grew a bit comical as when the time came, Pedro and I set up a shooting platform and could see the plan unfolding before us. We looked back to see Shannon walking about in full view snapping her photos. I would never say that I gave my wife direction... but I think she understood somehow it was time to stop and wait. Again it was not to happen here as the blackbuck steered wide of our location.

Into the pickup again and to another field. This field had hundreds of blackbuck in all corners. They seemed to understand what our preferred shooting distance was and stayed outside of that range. We quickly moved up a fence line, set up, and Pedro would pick one out. I would get on him but was breathing too hard and the crosshairs danced everywhere but on the vitals. No shot. We repeated this several times with the same results. This just wasn't quite working for me. We then moved into some tall thistle for cover and worked our way into another field and found more blackbuck. We found some bedded under a group of trees and began a stalk. This stalk took us behind a line of trees and we were able to approach to about 180 to 200 yards. It looked good and after a few minutes of looking, I started to get into position to take one that was bedded. However when he got up, he got up and ran. Hmmm....

We then drove back to the estancia had lunch and a siesta. At 90 to 95 degrees, this break was most welcome. Marcelo cooked a great steak and prepared a wonderful lunch for us. Shannon and I found some shade and had a little nap.
 

HuntingGold

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After the siesta, Shannon wanted to just relax, read a book, and take pictures. She stayed at the ranch house while I went with Marcelo, Raul, and Pedro. As we were driving along, we found a pasture with several hundred blackbuck. It was quite interesting and it did remind me of pronghorn hunting here in the western US. The biggest difference that I saw on this hunt was that the size of the herds were quite large and the animals always seemed to be moving making for a difficult stalk. We moved on.

We drove into another pasture and saw some axis deer feeding out of the trees. After looking for a bit, Marcelo and I left the truck and did a bit of a flanking maneuver to get into the trees. We then moved through the trees and occasionally I could see animals moving ahead of us. Marcelo would lift his binoculars from time to time and then move forward. He once put up the sticks and I put the rifle up. We had some axis ahead of us but after a bit they moved out of site. We moved through the trees again and again the sticks came up. I could see axis ahead of us but could only see bits and pieces of their spotted hides. Marcelo got excited and tried to point one out to me. Marcelo can speak a little English and I can speak a little Spanish. It's normally enough that we can get our points across. In this situation, we were faced with using words that neither of us could find the words for. Marcelo was excited trying to point out a buck and saying "arbol, white" and then using his fingers to diagram where to look. I was able to understand that he wanted me to look to the right of the white tree (the trunk was white in the sun). I would put the rifle up and try to pick the proper deer out of all the spots I could see. There were about five axis co-mingled in the spot and it created a visual nightmare through the scope. Marcelo would again go through the "arbol, white" routine and I would look again, but I was only seeing bits and pieces and I had yet to pick a buck out with anything more than small antlers. After a bit of time, I just put the rifle down, leaning it against the tree we were next to.

I then started looking through the binoculars in an attempt to pick this mess apart. It was not long and a large buck walked out and stopped at tree line. I immediately reached down for the rifle and looked at Marcelo, getting his approval. I brought the rifle up, checked he was clear of anything behind him, and fired. I lost him in the recoil and looked up to see the place was boiling over with axis deer. Marcelo moved towards where I shot and stopped to look at the deer that were running out the opposite side. Marcelo had a worried look on his face and I thought I had made a bad shot. Beginning to question myself, I asked if I had hit him, Marcelo quickly said I had and we moved towards where my buck was standing only 80 yards away. Marcelo was about ten feet ahead of me as we approached where the deer had been. We were just about there when Marcelo looked off to the side, stopped, and said, "Congratulations." My buck was laying only 10 to 15 yards from where he had been hit.

We then started snapping photos of him in place and then moved him to a sunnier location for more. This is my first axis and appears to be good to me!
 

Red Leg

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HuntingGold

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We took our pics and loaded my deer. We were not far from the ranch and I wanted to show Shannon my deer. I knew she wanted to see it and actually wanted to be along for the hunt but it just didn't happen that way. In the heat of the day, still 90 or more, it just wasn't practical as the deer needed to be hung and skinned quickly. I understood and off we went.

Along the way, we stopped to look at some blackbuck. I was quite surprised when Marcelo got out and Pedro told me to grab the gun and go with him. I was a bit confused as we still had the deer in the back of the truck, but didn't ask questions.

Marcelo and I moved through an open field, somewhat using some small trees as cover to get closer to the blackbuck. We finally got to the last tree and ran out of cover. Marcello set up the sticks and would look at one group, then move to the other side of the tree and look at others. All were about 400 yards and out of my practical range. During this stalk, a cloud had moved in and darkened up the skies. I was wearing prescription sunglasses and though it was still daytime, everything looked fairly dark to me. Sometime later, I saw the white truck at the opposite of this field and realized the plan was again to put pressure on the antelope from the opposite side, hoping they would pass within range.

The plan was working and Marcelo picked out particular blackbuck for me. Through our broken English to Spanish and back to English, I found the right one and started tracking him through the scope. He was walking steady and I stayed with him. Marcelo and I continued to confirm with one another that I was with the right one. He continued to walk and I had to adjust myself with the sticks to keep up with his pace. As he moved along I found myself aiming at the buck. I took at breath and reminded myself to pick a spot. Marcelo had said 200 then 220. The buck continued to walk steady and was clear of any others when the crosshairs steadied behind his shoulder. The gun went off as if sounding it's approval. I lost sight of the buck in the recoil but clearly heard the thwack. I got back on the sticks and tried to find the right buck while Marcelo again tried to give directions. As I found him, I saw him go down and saw a leg kick.

We quickly collected the sticks and started walking. It seemed like a hell of a walk for 200 yards. For an open field, there was a lot of cover and it took a bit to find my buck. Pedro and Raul arrived in the pickup. After a little bit of discussion, we decided to use the extra height of the pickup bed to help find the downed buck. Pedro and I loaded into the back as Marcelo took the wheel. We only had gone a few yards when I saw something white and pointed it out. Indeed it was my blackbuck.

I decided I wanted photos of right where he lay. Pedro starting plucking grass and vegetation to get the best picks. He fell in a patch of mint and the added smell of fresh picked mint added wonderfully to the evening.

I will finish my report tomorrow. We have shopping, fishing, shopping, and last minute sightseeing to go!
 
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HuntingGold

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I'm typing from a lap top and adding photos from the phone. Thanks again to the moderator.

When Pedro arrived with the pickup, I found the axis buck had been unloaded to be skinned before he arrived in the field.

We took the blackbuck to Shannon for her to see before leaving the estancia for dinner. We snapped the last photo on our way out.
 
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Royal27

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Looks like a great time was had!

I've got to get down there one day.
 

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Great write-up. Enjoyed it very much. I am hunting red stag with them next year.
 

jduckhunter

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Looks like a real blast, glad you had a good trip! I'm going to have to do this sometime soon.
 

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Congrats, nice animals and looks like you´ve enjoyed yourselves !
 

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Once both animals were taken care of, we gathered our luggage and set out for a nearby town (which unfortunately I cannot recall). We settled in at a small motel and then went to a local restaurant. The restaurant was a beautiful little place that formerly was a general store converted to its current state. There were antiques and memorabilia on the wall that caught the eye. Marcelo ordered a type of sampler plate of several types of meats or meat cuts to try. It was a very enjoyable dinner.

Since both animals were taken on the first day, it gave us an extra day of exploring and shopping. Shannon wanted to shop but it was Sunday and many of the shops would be closed. Marcelo knew of a spot and went out of his way to take us find something for us. We found a antique/cheese/curio store that was open. It wasnt my thing but Shannon was in heaven picking though all the different things. Finally Shannon made her purchases and we went outside to find that Marcelo had found a deal of his own, a duck weather vane. I was, and still am, extremely jealous of his find. I live in a waterfowling community and love the waterfowling culture. I train retrievers and have carved my own decoys. This weather vane was absolutely an incredible find.

Once done, we drove into Buenos Aires where we checked back into our original Hotel. Along the way, we saw that not far from the hotel a weekend craft fair had been set up. We wanted to go but Shannon and I were exhausted and needed a nap. We woke up about six and scrambled to get there before it closed. We were a little late and some of the booths had been broken down but several remained. At THE VERY FIRST booth we encountered, Shannon found little leather purses that I assumed she was buying for our two grand-daughters and was shocked when she scooped up about 7! I just walked away and began my own search. It wasnt long and I found a belt I liked and found out the woman who was there had made the belt. I bought it for about 10 US. As we continued on, I learned that virtually everything we saw was hand made, usually by the vendors themselves and at times got to hear some stories to go along with the products. Inca Rose Stone jewelry was at many of the booths along with leather goods and other unique items. We only were there about 45 minutes before all the booths had closed. Shannon's biggest regret was not getting to this sooner. We have since learned this is set up every weekend and is worth the time to walk through to find gifts for loved ones at home.
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