San Juan Lodge is perched atop a knoll, with breathtaking views of the Uruguayan countryside. In addition to the fine view, the lodge also finds itself in the perfect mixed-bag location, where you can access water impoundments teeming with ducks, where partridge cover is abundant, plus incredible dove roosts are just a short drive away on good roads. With seemingly unending pastures and grasslands, this area of Uruguay is considered the perdiz capital of South America, and San Juan’s kennel of purpose-bred bird dogs have been trained from birth to pursue these birds. Add to this upland resource, fantastic flights of migratory ducks as well as roosts full of doves, and it is easy to see why the lodge offers an unparalleled Uruguayan mixed-bag hunting experience.
If you have been around mixed bag hunting long, you know the name San Juan as one of the premier lodges in Uruguay for doves, perdiz, and ducks. The new and improved San Juan Lodge is already welcoming hunters with gracious hospitality for the 2023 season. Similar to the diversity of sporting opportunities found at the previous San Juan, the new lodge’s spectrum of amenities and attention to detail makes this one of the elite mixed-bag hunting lodges in South America.
This brand-new accommodation will surely expand your perceptions about luxury and comfort in the field, and relaxation on the Lodge grounds. This Stone House provides excellent outdoor relaxation with its in-ground fire pit, outdoor seating, and views of the Uruguayan countryside. Featuring 5 double rooms and beautiful spaces to relax near the fire, it is the perfect home base for days spent in the uplands and marshes of charming Uruguay, on some of the most prolific hunting grounds that the country has to offer.
Stone and wood dominate, and its comfort, both in its outdoor spaces and in the common areas, are perfect for a stay that seeks to enjoy the days outdoors and the comfort of its warm and spacious interior zones. Indoor and outdoor wood-burning stoves, and the possibility of having lunch or dinner comfortably near them, makes the idea of enjoying the days of good weather conditions in winter to the fullest part of the experience of staying at the lodge. The cuisine of excellence, the good wine, and a bar that is always open give a plus to the hunting experience, in which the service and excellence that characterize the David Denies’ lodges are the seals of quality.
The hunting season in Uruguay is a long one, running from mid-February through mid-December.
Peak Season occurs from May through July when all the feather species are open and available at the same time. At this time you can enjoy excellent hunting for Perdiz over pointing dogs, Ducks over decoys, as well as decoyed Pigeons and high-volume Dove shooting. Within this May to July timeframe, there are some slight differences, that are mainly weather dependent.
During the early season, we are in the middle of the Fall and days are still long and temperatures are mild. The hunting days during this time of the year are very pleasant; at noon there is time to rest and to take a nice siesta.
There is an excellent forage for the birds to feed on at the farms we hunt, due to the recent harvesting of soy, sorghum, and corn, among other crops. During this fall harvest season, the dove and duck begin to congregate in great numbers, thanks to the excellent feed they have access to.
May is also “THE” time to hunt Perdiz over pointing dogs, with birds spread across the countryside, and many different options to pick from when choosing fields to hunt. Pastures are lush and green, providing great cover for the birds, and beautiful pastoral scenes for the hunter to enjoy.
During June days begin to shorten and the daily temperatures begin to slowly fall, as winter approaches. As a consequence, generally speaking, there is less food on the harvested fields of the nearby farms.
The doves start to concentrate in greater numbers, with flock sizes growing truly impressive. With the earlier sunsets, these flocks normally initiate the evening flights back to their roosts earlier in the day.
At this time of the season, the perdiz begin to concentrate more, as some of the covers in the pastures begin to wither away, pushing birds into the smaller stands of thicker grass, which still offer excellent food and protection for the birds. In general, where we find good, thick grass, we will find plenty of birds. Perdiz hunts during June are normally very good, as there are still an excellent number of options where to chase birds, on the variety of farms we hunt.
Ducks begin to migrate into Uruguay during Mid-April, with peak numbers arriving around this time in June. With the abundance of birds, it makes June an excellent time of the year to hunt ducks.
July has similar patterns as June, but days are a little bit shorter and temperatures a little bit colder. Many guests believe that since July is the last month of the season where we hunt ducks and perdiz, and after 2 months of hunting pressure, the hunting will be far more limited, but in reality, it is quite the opposite.
Due to the amount of land that we own and lease in Uruguay, this month can experience some of the best hunting opportunities of the season. New lands and fields enter into the rotation with an excellent concentration of birds. Pasture grasses keep on diminishing, so our farms, which still have grass, concentrate an amazing number of Perdiz.
As the migration is already over, or close to being over, ducks are plentiful in all our lagoons and ponds with a wonderful number of different species present.
The shorter and colder dates make the doves concentrate even more and the flocks start their flights in the early hours of the morning and return in big numbers to their roost in the early afternoon every day.
San Juan Lodge is located in the Flores Department, in central Uruguay, very close to Trinidad, the department’s capital town. The lodge is located approximately 145 miles (236 km) from Montevideo, the capital and the major metropolitan center of this small country. The driving time from Montevideo International Airport to the lodge is 3 hours by paved road. Guests have multiple means of arrival/departure from the lodge based on their point of origin or final destination.
VÍA URUGUAY – Usually, shooters will fly internationally to Montevideo Carrasco International Airport (MVD). From there, hunters have three options to get to San Juan Lodge:
1. Ground transfer from Montevideo Airport to the lodge, located about 235km or 160 miles away. Driving time is approximately 3 hours through scenic rural Uruguay via paved highway.
2. Private Charter from Montevideo Airport to Trinidad Flying Club located approx. 20 min away from the lodge.
3. Private Charter from Montevideo Airport to Durazno Airport located approx. 1 hour away from the lodge.
VÍA ARGENTINA – Those coming via Argentina, either flying through Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) or those who are spending some time in the country before the lodge stay, have the following options:
1. Private Charter from Buenos Aires to Durazno International Airport.
2. Private Charter from Buenos Aires to Trinidad Flying Club.
3. Ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, approx. 2 hours away from the lodge.
The program at San Juan Lodge offers a diverse mixed-bag hunt, with a focus on the hard-flying, upland Perdiz. Typically, you will be hunting multiple species almost every day of your stay. Most days feature hunts for two species, with mornings dedicated to perdiz over well-trained pointing dogs, or decoying ducks from dry-land blinds on ponds and lagoons. The characteristics of the land allow us to have a permanent roost right on the lodge property, though there are many different roosts located a short distance from the lodge that offer wonderful shooting as well. The proximity of important rivers and streams also provides the ideal habitat for hunting ducks, both resident and migratory species. Perdiz hunts in Uruguay are typically two to three-hour hunts through short cover and on flat or gently rolling ground. Hunters will go to the field in pairs and you will be joined by a guide/dog handler. You will walk up the birds, following the dogs until they make game, and then walk to the point for the flush of the partridge. After one field has been covered, you typically make a very short drive to another and will repeat the process with a fresh dog until the perdiz limit has been bagged.
Morning duck hunts will find you hunting from dry-land blinds, strategically located on ponds, before dawn. Your guide will get you set in the blind, lay out the decoy spread, and identify birds as they approach. You’ll see a variety of species, including Yellow-billed Pintail, White-faced Whistling, and Rosy-billed Pochard, to name a few.
Our afternoon dove shoots will take place in some of the largest roosts in all of Uruguay, there will be ample opportunities for hot-barrel shooting. One of the dove roosts is located right next to the lodge, and then two others are only 30’ away, so drives will vary depending on the hunting location. Your field assistant will be at your side throughout the shoot, providing you with cartridges, and refreshments as needed, and keeping an eye out for birds.
Mornings will begin with a wake-up call, approximately an hour before departure time. Breakfast will be served shortly thereafter, with everything from waffles to Eggs Benedict, all made to order.
For Duck Hunts, you will depart the lodge well before sunrise. Drives vary depending upon water conditions and location but range from ten to forty-five minutes. Shooting over decoys starts at first light and continues until 10 am or after.
For Perdiz Hunts, you will depart the lodge after sunrise, and hunt until your limits have been reached. You will return to the lodge for lunch, and some time to relax, or enjoy a siesta. Hunters will again depart for their afternoon hunt around 2 to 3pm.
Evening hunts last until 5 to 5:30pm, after which you will return to the lodge, where you will be met with cocktails and appetizers as well as a delicious dinner.
Much has been written about this very sporting and tasty bird. One of the highest concentrations of perdiz in Uruguay is in the region of Paysandú, where Uruguay Lodge is located. It offers acres and acres of short grass pasture, which is the perfect habitat for perdiz. These great birds are hunted much as other upland species, with guide and hunters walking abreast, following a good dog or two. The cover is short and the land is flat to gently rolling. Once a dog has established a point, the hunters move in to flush the bird, which is most often found as a single or sometimes a pair. After the shot, and hopefully a retrieve, the group carries on for more.
The eared dove is the most prolific dove in South America, and it’s also become, over the last several decades, one of the most important sporting birds for well-traveled wingshooters. Fortunately, the Uruguay Lodge property envelopes one of the biggest dove roosts in Uruguay, which is just 5 minutes away from the main lodge. Should that roost not be producing for some reason, there are two other exclusive roosts just 30 minutes away. We’re confident in saying that we have some of the best high-volume dove shooting the country has to offer.
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING DUCK – SIRI PAMPA – Dendrocygna Viduata (38 cm)
The White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) is a whistling duck, that breeds in sub-Saharan Africa and much of South America. This species is gregarious and, at favored sites, flocks of a thousand or more birds show at dawn and are an impressive sight. As the name implies, these are noisy birds with a clear three-note whistle. These ducks have long grey bills, long heads, and longish legs. They have white faces and crowns, and black rear heads. The back and wings are dark brown to black, and the underparts are black—although the flanks have fine white barring. The neck is chestnut. All plumages are similar, except juveniles have a much less contrasting head pattern. Habitat consists of freshwater lakes or reservoirs, with plentiful vegetation where this duck feeds on seeds and other plant food. These abundant ducks are largely resident, apart from localized movements of up to 100 km or more.
ROSY-BILLED POCHARD – PATO PICAZO – Netta Peposaca (47 cm)
The Rosy-billed Pochard comes from the species peposaca—derived from a Guaraní word for “showy wings.” The wings feature a broad white stripe that is only visible when stretched out. Male ducks have a distinctive red bill, while the females are slate-colored. Though classified as a diving duck, this pochard feeds more like a dabbling duck. The Rosy-bill is genetically linked to the Canvasback and the females of both species are virtually identical. The drakes are adorned in shades of black and white, with a flaming red bill featuring a fleshy knob at the base. The Rosy-billed Pochard is endemic to South America. The population in southern Argentina migrates northward during the austral winter, through Uruguay, reaching Brazil and southern Bolivia. It is a vagrant to the Falkland Islands.
YELLOW-BILLED PINTAIL – PATO MAICERO Anas Georgica 39 cm)
The Yellow-billed Pintail has a brown head and neck. Their bills are yellow with a black tip and black stripe down the middle. The tail is brownish and pointed. The upper wing is grayish-brown, and the secondaries are blackish-green. The rest of the body is buffish-brown, with varying size black spots. The species is sometimes confused with Speckled Teal but can be differentiated by yellow stripes on the bill and its larger size. Females hide their nests in vegetation close to the water and lay 4 to 10 eggs in a clutch.
Many of our guests find renting guns from the lodge they are visiting to be an easier solution than applying for consular permits and traveling with their own shotguns. It’s easy to rent a gun from the lodge and we have a good selection of guns that are appropriate for the destination, at each lodge. Just browse the gun rack until you find a gun that you like. Then, the lodge manager or your guide will note the specific number of the rental gun. That gun will be yours for the duration of your stay. However, you are welcome to change guns along the way and try something different if you wish. You are only charged for one rental so you can switch guns if you wish. We want you to shoot a gun you are comfortable and effective with! You will settle up for the rental at the end of your stay when you are charged for shells and other expenses.
Our kitchens come to life through the use of fresh and regionally representative meats and produce. By combining these elements, we create delicious flavors and varied textures that harbor hidden stories and package traditions on each plate. A top-notch team of experienced national and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques will create dishes, with an artisan’s touch, influenced by the earthiness of the surroundings and landscape, that can be enjoyed in our inviting dining room. Freshness is paramount and flavors the key.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At our lodges, it consists of choices from local free-range eggs benedict to organic and healthy foods – we change the options daily to keep things fresh.
Our inspired lunch and dinner menus are paired with some of the very best local wines. All our beef comes from grass-fed cattle raised locally to our estancia. We carefully select our suppliers, guaranteeing the high quality, flavor, and tenderness of the meat we serve.
In addition to our focus on fresh food with organic origins, we also celebrate our heritage with a wine partnership that brings truly world-class wines to our lodges. Our wide selection of finest wines, the best argentine malbec from our region in Mendoza, and a large variety of other grape selections, are served by a prepared team. We feel that the food we present and the wines we serve should mirror the sporting opportunities we offer—and be the very best available. While our vast country offers many options for traditional activities such as riding, hunting, eating good meats, and drinking good wines, we have chosen to blend fine food and outdoor activity at an even higher level.
Season 2024 – April 1st to September 15th
Rates fluctuate between $1550 and $1750 per person per night, based on shared occupancy & shared blind. These rates are flexible based on the month of the season, number of hunters in the group, and lodge availability— please CONTACT US for an accurate quote.
* Non-hunters: $650 per person per night.
* Hunting Licenses: $450 per person for the total stay
* Gun Rental: $130 per person per day
Rates fluctuate between $700 and $850 per person per night, based on shared occupancy & shared blind. These rates are flexible based on the month of the season, number of hunters in the group, and lodge availability— please CONTACT US for an accurate quote.
Note: For those hunters coming to shoot doves during the Mixed-bag season (May 1st until September 15th) they will have the possibility to hunt Duck in the morning for a $650 surcharge per person per hunt. We require a minimum of 2 hunters willing to take this option to apply this price per person.
* Non-hunters: $450 per person per night.
* Dove Hunting Licenses: $395 per person for the total stay
* Gun Rental: $115 per person per day