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...
It has been twenty-eight years since we welcomed our first guests to hunt in Uruguay, and with every year’sending, I get the same feeling: satisfaction. Satisfaction for having given our guests a fantastic experience, with hunting as the main activity that not only surpasses their expectations, but also incorporates some of the finest service and attention at the lodge.
I also feel a wave of nostalgia because another year has passed. The guests have all gone and I will have to wait another few months to begin a new hunting year in May of next year.
The season that just ended was excellent.
The Summer and Spring leading up to the beginning of the season facilitated an apt breeding environment for new perdiz, duck, and dove populations to prosper. We knew well before the season started that the hunting would be abundant, which we later confirmed, measured by the season’s progression.
Following March and throughout the entire duration of the hunting season, the weather was quite dry. Due to the lack of rain, we experienced delightful temperatures during the months in which our guests arrived to hunt in Uruguay. We hardly had any days of rain, nor low temperatures thus making days in the field pleasurable. As could be expected, the weather had a significant impact on the hunting. Toward the end of the season, the grass covering the plots of land began to become scarcer and the Perdiz that depended on it to protect themselves from their natural predators lost their hiding places. This reduced the number of plots that we were able to cash out on per day. However, making up for it, due to the water drought and the abundance of ducks, there was a high concentration of ducks in the ponds and the duck hunting was exceptionally good.
As always, the dove shooting was incredible. Like every year, much to the surprise and admiration of the guests, the roosts housed millions of doves.
For almost the past thirty years, the address of the lodge, service to the clients, the food, and the logistics, were directed with talent and sensitivity, by Mercedes. Sofía’s logistical support, attention to the guests, and management of the lodge were outstanding and, together, their participation has transformed into an essential part of San Juan Lodge’s success. As he has been for many years, Martin was a fundamental factor in the division of the work, the logistics, and the direction of the guides in the field. After two seasons, Álvaro’s ability to juggle guide and lodge host was one of the most outstanding parts of this season and incorporating the extra task of local photographer truly made him one with which to be reckoned. The other guides that worked this year are those that have been doing the same job for a while now: Martín and Sebastián, as the main guides, and Pablo who handles the ducks.
Inside the lodge, 2015 was the best year thus far since we started so many years ago due to the fact that many of the same people have slowly been gathering experience over several seasons. Directing the kitchen was again chef Nicolás, now completing his second year in San Juan. Joining him also was the house staff Verónica and Evelyn.
A very important aspect, that our guests especially value, is the quality of our pointing dogs. Amongst our guests are many that have their own at home and so they know perfectly well when we have a pointer dog of really high quality in the field. This season we included a few new ones that will contribute to our excellent and unique canine bloodline with which we have steadily been breeding, all from the descendents of the great Dalí. This year we incorporated Van Gogh, Gaudí and Jazz, and for the 2016 season we are preparing for the debut in the field of several of Dali’s granddaughters: Maga, Frida, Lucy, Arlé and Gala. All have already shown their magnificent conditions. This litter of young dogs will be extremely important to ensure the necessary quantity of good dogs in a season where we will have two lodges. In addition to San Juan, this year we will open another lodge called Uruguay Lodge with the same standards of service to our guests and the same type of hunting exhibited in San Juan. We do hope you will come and visit.