Santiago del Estero Lodge, located in the northern province of the same name, is a new frontier in dove and pigeon shooting, in an unpressured, rural area where the local folks are happy to make your acquaintance, where the pace of life is still tied to the land, and where the doves and pigeons can at times literally darken the sky. Here we have rebuilt a home of great consequence, a Spanish-styled manse with sprawling courtyards, which lends rural elegance to the exciting shooting at hand. Join us as we embark on a destination that is both compelling and unique. You will find the lodge elegant but not stilted, the service sharp but not bothersome, and the dining and amenities uniformly terrific. And all this as a framework for some of the greatest dove and pigeon shooting to be found in South America.
The lodge houses a large traditional dining room adjacent to a comfortable sitting room with a nearby bar. The recreation room offers a pool table, with a sitting area and bar. There is also a gun cleaning room and a wine cellar. After the hunt you can also enjoy time in the swimming pool, or just relax in the sitting area aside at our inviting fire pit.
There are 3 seasons to the “Dove Year”, as the birds react to seasonal changes in weather and availability to food and water. As with any wild hunt, these factors can vary, and as such, may affect the timing of the different seasons. Throughout the year doves are in search of food and water, it is vital for them to have access to it within a short range of our main roosts and transitional roosts. In years with unstable weather, which may affect these factors, the traditional movement of our dove can change. Doves react to these changes and we do too.
At David Denies we are prepared for these natural changes, and for this reason, we are in continuous geographical growth to provide comfort in daily logistics as well as the quality and quantity of doves you will enjoy during your hunt. Our daily logistics begins with our main scout who goes out to check the expansive area we hunt, and then once we are in the field, the other 3 scouts check the area near where we are hunting. This makes it possible to obtain valuable information that is then analyzed by our head guides.
The head guides are seasoned, professional hunters who take the birds’ movements into consideration and decide on the best possible hunting locations, prioritizing the quality and quantity of doves. The decision also takes into consideration the length of driving required to reach the field, but always with the mission of providing you with the best possible dove shooting experience.
The following calendar separates the year in 3 seasons, and each section highlights perfect times for hunting. All of this information is based upon traditional data compiled over our 20 years of hunting the area. Weather and other factors may affect the date ranges and drive times listed.
Weather: This is our autumn and mid-winter, and while we can have some rain in March, April, and early May it’s rarely more than three to four days of rain per month. Then our dry season begins.
Doves: During “The Harvest” period we find a high concentration of low-flying birds feeding or in temporary roosts. We can see high birds depending on the wind and how far we’re located from the feeding or roosting areas. The main reason the birds fly this way at this time of year is because they’re following combines that are harvesting sorghum, sunflower, soybean, and corn. During this time of year, we also shoot feedlots and water holes where the birds gather to eat and drink.
Driving distances: 5 to 70 minutes
Pigeons: Starting mid-April, pigeons start to concentrate in good numbers as they need to feed and get ready to pass the winter. We hunt on some feed-lots as well as on the fields where sorghum have mature grains. When hunting pigeons, we spend the day at the field, having lunch right there, not returning to the lodge. Normally the first pigeon hunts for the season are very good ones, as pigeons are very hungry coming from months where there is not much food around and hunting pressure is none-existent. Starting mid-June, with the winter approaching and first cold fronts, pigeons start to fly a little bit later in the day; so, it is normally to hunt those starting mid-morning all the way until late afternoon. Numbers are good during the entire “Harvest” season.
* Note – During May, June and July, hunters have the possibility (if water levels are good) to hunt ducks, instead of pigeons. If water levels are good, SGO del Estero lodge offers some excellent duck hunts on the marshes that inhabit the region, very close to the lodge.
Driving distances: 20 to 70 minutes
Weather: This season includes the end of winter & most of the entire spring. For the end of winter and most of the spring, we experience mild temps and blue skies carrying easterly winds; this is part of our “Dry” season with beautiful days and temperatures in the range 60 to 90F.
Doves: This time of the year doves start to nest on the closer roosts to the Lodge. As they roost we find them in great numbers on the fly-ways close to the roosts. Excellent season for high-volume doves. The volume depends mostly on weather and wind; although almost any given day hunters will see huge flocks of flocks of doves.
Driving distances: 20 to 45 minutes
Pigeons: As the harvest of grains comes to an end, this is the perfect time to set the decoys on the grain stubbles and shoot decoying pigeons. Fantastic time of the year to shoot pigeons both in numbers and style. We keep on going to the fields for the entire day when hunting pigeons, having a traditional Argentina barbecue at the fields.
Driving distances: 15 to 60 minutes
Weather: This season includes the end of the spring and the summer. This is the warmest time of the year with temperatures going from 75 to 100+F. This season is also the rainy season, and although we don’t have a lot of rain, occasional tropical rains can happen during your stay; normally strong and short rains. Days are longer ones, so during this time of the year we return to the lodge for lunch, pool and siesta!
Doves: This is the time of the year for a big volume of birds. Dove numbers increase as we go from the spring into the summer. Doves are congregated in the dove roosts and feed steadily and in huge numbers. We also hunt on flyways where doves are looking for water. For those that can support warm weather, we shoot early in the morning and late in the afternoon, returning to the lodge for lunch, pool and siesta. Best time of the year for volume of birds and drive time.
Driving distances: 5 to 35 minutes
Pigeons: Off season for Pigeons
To get to Santiago del Estero Lodge there are daily direct flights from many U.S. or European cities to Buenos Aires (Ezeiza Intl. Airport – EZE). From EZE hunters will need to make a connection to SDE airport (1.30 hr. flight) or transfer to the Domestic airport Jorge Newbery – AEP (40’ to 1 hr drive), and connect there to SDE.
Another option is to fly to Santiago de Chile (SCL Airport) with a connecting flight to Córdoba City (COR Airport); from there hunters can either:
* Note I – Hunters can also arrive into Buenos Aires and decide to book a private charter straight to our landing strip (2.30 hr.’).
* Note II – Depending on flight schedules hunters might need to spend 1 night in Buenos Aires city.
The Lodge is located in the south of the province of Santiago del Estero, in northern Argentina, 150 miles (250 km) southeast of Santiago del Estero airport (SDE). Driving time to the lodge is 3 hours by paved roads.
Santiago del Estero as a province is very unique in terms of hunting rights. The province is divided into zones and then zones are allocated to outfitters. Santiago del Estero Lodge has been allocated with a large and very productive hunting zone, providing absolute exclusivity over a huge expanse of land. This not only lets us manage our own pressure without outside influence, it also allows us the possibility to actively manage our resources by rotating different flyways and completely minimizing hunting pressure.
It is difficult to describe volume dove shooting to those that have not done it- the excitement and constant action makes it compelling like no other venue in sport. And here in Santiago del Estero we have high volume shooting as it was in the good old days. Imagine a semi-tropical plain, with trees of mixed heights and field edges and fence lines that would recall the best dove and quail habitat of the old south.
You’ll take a position near some flyway or on an obstacle that forces the doves to move higher or around it, and enjoy shooting many have only dreamed of. All day you will be assisted by able bird boys who will load your guns and replenish your ammo, provide drinks and good help- anything and everything to make your day enjoyable.
Not only is the dove shooting good, but we also encounter a phenomenal population of wild pigeons. The access to water through the Río Dulce river and its marshes combined by the food and acres and acres of trees and scrub makes this environment perfect for the development of wild pigeons.
Morning will begin with a wakeup call, approximately an hour before departure time. Breakfast will be served shortly thereafter, with everything from waffles to Eggs Benedict, all made to order. Hunters will depart the lodge after breakfast, usually around 8:30 – 9:00am. Drives vary depending on season, but generally average around 15-30 minutes.
The morning shoot will begin upon arrival at the field. You will be met by your field assistant, and escorted to your shooting position. Depending on the time of the year, you will shoot until noon each day, then return to the lodge for an incredible asado lunch, where you will enjoy Argentina’s wonderful beef and superb wines.
After lunch, and a good siesta, the afternoon shooting begins at around 3.30 to 4:30pm, and continues until around 6:00 to 7:30pm, after which you will return to the lodge, where you will be met with cocktails & appetizers, followed by a delicious dinner and time to relax.
Daily itinerary is the same, but we normally go out earlier and we spend the entire day in the field. For the Pigeon shots we normally drive a little bit more, ranging from 10 to 60 minutes.
Depending on the time of the year, you will shoot until noon each day, then enjoy an incredible asado lunch, shaded by a comfortable tent or unique hand-made shelter in the field, where you will enjoy Argentina’s wonderful beef and superb wines. We normally return back to the lodge earlier in the afternoon.
Our kitchens come to life through the use of fresh, locally sourced 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 prepare your meals, with an artisan’s touch.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – in our lodges, it consists of choices going from local free-range eggs benedict, fresh-baked bread and pastries, and organic & healthy foods – we change the options daily to keep things fresh.
Dinner menus, influenced by the earthiness of the surrounding landscape, will be enjoyed in our beautifully designed dining room and each day you will enjoy an outdoor lunch experience, where chefs prepare every dish from scratch to be served at a minute’s notice. Freshness is paramount and the flavor is key.
Our famed Argentine beef comes from Aberdeen Angus and Hereford steers, grass-fed, from our Pampas. We carefully select our suppliers, guaranteeing the highest quality, flavor, and tenderness of our meat. All of our inspired lunch and dinner menus are paired with some of Argentina’s—and the world’s—best wines; Bodega Catena Zapata.
In addition to our focus on fresh food with organic origins, we also celebrate our Argentine 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 2022-23 – All year round (Dove) & Apr 15 to Oct 15 (Pigeon)
Rates fluctuate between $700 and $850 per person per night. These rates are flexible based upon the month of the season, number of hunters in the group, and lodge availability— please CONTACT US for an accurate quote.
* Non-hunters: $450 per person per night
* Private parties: $8,950 p/night (up to 14 guests) + extras (Hunting Licenses, Gun Rental. cartridges & Tips)
* Pigeon session: $200 per hunt (2 hunters min.)
* Hunting Licenses: $70 per person per day
* Gun Rental: $115 per person p/day
Our research and experience tell us that over 50% of bird hunters are also actively interested in big game hunting, while over 60% are captivated by fishing. If you are a part of that majority, and are interested in adding variety to your sporting life, look no further than Red Stag Patagonia and Nervous Waters Fly Fishing. All three brands are proud members of The Kautapen Group – a single team of dedicated professionals focused on maintaining the highest standard of service and elevating your sporting experiences.