Take ’em, By Doug Larsen
By Doug Larsen, For The Retriever Journal. You have heard it from guides and hunting buddies. Heck, you have probably said it...
Bernardo Barran, co-owner of both San Juan and Uruguay Lodges, has more than 40 years of experience perdiz hunting in Uruguay, and is South America’s most noted upland outfitter. In the text that follows, he shares his knowledge about particular perdiz hunting experiences. Taking these 10 tips into consideration will not only make you a better perdiz hunter, it will make you a better upland hunter in general. Enjoy Bernardo’s insights…
1) Perdiz hunting is done during our winter season. You want to be in the field shortly after sunrise. Typically, it’s not too cold; you can expect 38ºF to 50ºF at dawn. The best way to hunt perdiz is in a team of two hunters. So each time you want to hunt perdiz take your dog and a fellow hunter with you. Don’t go alone–it’s a social hunt, where friendship, conversation and friendly competition are all part of the experience.
2) You will be hunting perdiz with only one pointing dog; but you will leave the lodge with two dogs in the truck. Using only one dog for the whole morning will be too much effort for your hunting partner. He’ll be tired after a couple of hours of running back and forth in the field, and will need to be switched out.
3) Before you depart, you need to decide in advance what field is the most appropriate to hunt. In order to get the best use of the field you choose, you need to walk the field according to a plan that you make before entering the field. To make this decision you need to take into consideration: A) The size of the field. B) The amount of time that you have. C) The direction of the wind. D) The kind of pasture. E) The topography. And F) very important, the way you access the field with your vehicle, so you can move hunters around the field. (Remember that you need to be all the time walking into the wind.)
4) Now get ready for two and half hours of easy walking, with your dog and your fellow hunter, through clover fields, natural grass, or alfalfa pasture. Early in the morning, the grass will be cover with dew. It will get dry as the sun heats the day. If the cover is five to eight inches high, you can consider that there is enough cover for the perdiz to live and hide in the pasture. In this natural habitat, they find seeds, and insects, which make up their daily diet.
5) You will be walking into the wind for the benefit of your dog; an easy breeze will allow the perdiz scent to get to your dog’s nose. Your dog will be running in front of you, from your left to your right and your right to your left, at a distance of not more than fifty yards.
6) You will find the perdiz in singles; they do not covey like quail. During the day, the perdiz will walk through the field by themselves looking for food. Only at the end of the season will they start to walk in pairs. However, during the night they get together in family groups. They spend the night close to each other, so they can improve their chances against attacks from possible night predators.
7) Managing time is a key aspect of your hunting success. Consider your objective and take into consideration the amount of time you have to achieve it.
8) Once your dog gets the perdiz scent, he will hold the point and wait for the two hunters to approach. Each hunter should position himself at five to seven yards, right and left, to the side of the dog, and follow him as he walks carefully trying to relocate the perdiz.
9) The dog knows that there is a perdiz somewhere in front of him; but he does not know where exactly. Once the hunters take their positions, he starts trying to locate and flush the hidden perdiz. You will never see the perdiz on the ground; they camouflage perfectly in the grass and will try to hide and escape from hunters. Therefore, you will never know from where the perdiz will fly. Once the perdiz takes off, never hurry; there is only one bird in the air, so take your time. Let it glide.
10) After your shot, when the perdiz drops down dead or wounded, take into consideration that if it is not dead, it will try to run away and hide, so don’t take your eyes away of the spot where it dropped, and be sure the dogs finds it in a short period of time, or you might lose it. Once you have the perdiz in your hand, you will see that males and females look exactly the same; you cannot tell the difference between them.
In approximately two hours, the team will get to their limit. It’s time to head back to the lodge and get ready to prepare a meal with your hunt. The perdiz is considered one of the best tasting game birds, a moist white-meat delicacy.