May 2011 Newsletter
Number 12Get PDF file
SHOOTING UPDATE From Alex Mitri
The best news is the early rains this year. Instead of suffering through a long dry spell, we had some nice rains in September which is unusual. This is perfect for the sunflower planting as it gives us time to spread out the plantings over 3 months. In the past 2 years, we had to wait until the last minute to plant sunflowers. Please note our sunflower season is January through March and is a sight to see!
Word from the Owner David Perez
Perfecto! That is the best way to describe the 2010/2011season! We finished our sixth season on March 31st and it was truly a great year. Many of our repeat clients commented on how their recent trip was their best trip ever. One of our clients who has been 10 years in a row to the lodge commented: “Los Chanares just gets better and better every time I’m there. The birds were more plentiful than I have ever seen. The food and the overall service as fine as it can be”. Part of the reason was the noticeable increase in the number of birds. Also our inclusion in the Beretta Trident Program helped give us good ideas for improvements around the lodge.
One of my personal favorite parts of the year was hearing the “economy” word less than in 2008/9. We also hosted many new clients who used to shoot Mexico on an annual basis. Finally we are naturally growing our client base since the more clients we host the greater the word of mouth, which keeps bringing in more clients. In total we had a record number of clients in our Jan-March sunflower season and we had almost as many clients as our best year in 2008. Muchas gracias a todos (Thanks to everybody)!
SHOOTING UPDATE From Alex Mitri
Best sunflower season ever! We had a tremendous amount of birds this year. There was no single season record broken, but Sommer Tucker did break the woman’s record shooting 2,080 birds with a 28 gauge shotgun. We also had some very high volume groups including Dr. Rooks and his Canadian/USA crew (75,000+ birds) and a US/Danish/Belgian group (80,000+ birds). Our average birds shot was definitely up as we ran out of 2,000 bird shirts toward the end of the season. That’s always a good problem to have.
Our sunflower crop this year was not ideal as it did not rain at the right time in October and November. But we compensated by throwing approximately three tons of corn towards the end of the season. Now I wish commodity prices would ease up a little. For next year the prospects look great as more and more land is converted to farmland in the north of Cordoba. In addition we still have ample amount of water and Cordoba has strict laws that preserve the brush where the birds live. So we are hopefully looking at another amazing year at the lodge.
Latest and Greatest Improvement
We bought a brand new Toyota Hilux, which continues our strategy of changing trucks every 3 years. Trucks are quite expensive in Argentina these days so lets go onto the next improvement before I change my mind and return the truck.
The next improvement is quite simple, but many clients have found Martin’s new patterning board quite useful. Basically it is a patterning board we built near the lodge that shows how you are shooting and how the shot is patterning the pellets around the target (dove). The shooting range is 10, 20, 30 and 35 meters.
The Latest and Greatest Improvement
Our latest and greatest improvement is more a general improvement than one particular item. In January we became the first international Affiliate of the Beretta Trident Program. The Beretta Trident Program (www.berettatrident.com) was launched in 2010 and is the first and only system to rate shooting sports venues.
Los Chanares and our sister operation, Sierra Brava Lodge, are the first international venues to affiliate with Beretta. Estancia Los Chanares received a Two Trident Rating in upland bird hunting and Sierra Brava was awarded One Trident in the same category.
The representatives of the Beretta Trident Program visited our lodge twice between August and December. After the August visit, they provided us a detailed report grading us on everything from the shooting to the lodging. Included in this report where specific items of improvements. We discussed these items and came up with over 25 areas for improvements. Many of them were small details that further enhance the client’s experience at the lodge. During the December visit, the Beretta Trident representatives reviewed the improvements and even gave us some new ideas. This was an excellent way for us to have an outside opinion on how to improve the lodge.
Featured Employee of the Month
Our latest featured employee is not an employee but rather a consultant for us. Assaf Shami is our web marketing person who is responsible for the great exposure we get on the Internet. Even though Assaf is not an employee he is part of the Los Chanares familia as he is responsible for so many of our new bookings. Thanks to Assaf’s hard work we are the dominant website for most dove hunting search terms. Many of our clients including the Chairman of Cadbury and many others first found out about our lodge online.
Assaf was born and raised in Israel. After serving three years in the Israeli army he moved to the United States where he majored in BA/MIS. Today Assaf lives in Miami with his beautiful wife and three children and still does what he likes most, promoting businesses over the Internet. You can visit www.RankAdvisor.com if you are interested in contacting Assaf.
Frequently Asked Question
When did you buy Los Chanares and how did you and Alex meet? This is a question we often hear at the lodge and even as we close our sixth season it seems like yesterday. So the story starts in 2004 with Rob McAndrew from Houston, who was mainly running a duck hunting operation in Argentina at the time. Rob was sending clients to Los Chanares, which was run by Serge Dompierre. Rob was also sending clients pigeon shooting with Alex Mitri in Bolivia. Finally to connect the dots, Rob was drinking beers on a weekly basis with me and had become a close friend of mine in Buenos Aires. I was working at a farmland fund buying estancias around Argentina. Rob told me Los Chanares was for sale and that Alex was the perfect man to run the deal as he had just married an Argentine girl Jessica.
After visiting the estancia and more importantly meeting clients at the lodge, I realized this was a gem. I quickly set-up a meeting with Alex and determined he was the perfect partner to “run the show”. I tried convincing the farmland fund to invest in the project, but to no avail. So I separated from the fund and leased the property on my own. I was 29 at the time and really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Six years later, I can happily say I am extremely lucky the way things turned out!
For those clients who wish to bring their sons to shoot world class doves in Cordoba, we are running a promotion this year. From June-Sept, sons go for 50% off and from October to December first son goes free and second son goes for half the father rate. We still have openings during the Thanksgiving and Christmas dates.
I certainly hope you have enjoyed our newsletter, bringing you the latest and greatest on the Los Chanares experience.
Thank you very much for your time and the next time I write I will be a married man (wedding June 18)!