April 2008 Newsletter
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Word from the Owner David Perez
There is only one way to describe the last 3-month sunflower season at Los Chanares – “record-breaking”! We broke the record for most birds shot in one day – see below shooting update. We broke the record for most clients hosted in a single month (February). We broke the record for highest percentage of repeat customers in one month (over 75%!). We broke the record for most sunflower and corn fed to the birds. We broke the record for most employees completely worn out (ask Alex and Jessica).
So as you can see, we had a fun 3 months. We are now off April and May during the harvest migration season. This is the time to maintain the property and more importantly charge our batteries because it looks like the future is going to continue being record-breaking!
Shooting Update from Alex Mitri
As usual, the shooting in the Jan-March sunflower months at Los Chanares was special. We started off the sunflower season by setting the Los Chanares record. On January 13, Russell Pagel from Houston, TX broke the Los Chanares single-day record. Russell shot from 7am to 6pm. He shot 6,015 doves on 7,250 rounds or an 83% average.
Our game management program was in full force this season and the sunflowers were particularly large. The reasons for our successful sunflower were 1) subsoiling the entire property, 2) new seeder purchased, 3) a new genetically modified sunflower seed and 4) good rains. Thanks to the excellent sunflower, we still have birds on the property even though April is the time when the doves migrate north during the harvest season.
We did have too much rain in February. This year the shooting was a little better in January and March since February experienced the highest rainfall in the last 10 years. All in all, it was an excellent season!
Featured Employee – Pedro Mansilla
In the Los Chanares beginning, there was Pedro Mansilla – one of our bird boys. Pedro started working for Los Chanares in 1996 and was one of the key workers during the construction of the lodge. When the lodge was built and operations started in 2001, Pedro was the first bird boy at Los Chanares. Pedro recruited many of the other bird boys, which helps explain why most of them have the same last name. Besides being a bird boy, Pedro and the rest of his co-workers maintain the property including mowing the grass, building blinds, fixing roads and helping on any new projects. Most of the bird boys live in a village called Ojo de Agua on the other side of the roost from Los Chanares. Many of the bird boys used to arrive by horseback, but thanks to generous tipping in the last 3 years every one of them now has a motorcycle. Pedro has 2 sons and enjoys hunting pecari which are predominant in the area.
The Latest and Greatest Improvement
Even though we recently purchased another F-100 rack with capacity for 10 clients and purchased six new Berretta automatic shotguns, the latest and greatest improvement is our outdoor lunch table. As many of you know, the key competitive advantage of Los Chanares is the 5-minute drives to the field. For this reason clients are able to come back to the lodge after the morning hunt. This allows clients to enjoy a siesta or afternoon swim. But many clients who had visited other lodges really enjoyed the field lunch aspect of the trip. So we decided to create our own field lunch. Located about 5 seconds from the lodge, we built 2 beautiful algarrobo wood tables that can seat up to 20 people very comfortably. The view from the table is our largest feeding area so clients enjoy our excellent asados (bbqs) and at the same time marvel at the thousands of birds flying nearby. Now that is a real field lunch!
Frequently Asked Question
One of the most commonly asked questions at the lodge is how big is the property? The quick answer is 7,000 acres. Compared to other hunting lodges, this is quite small. But as one outfitter once told me “Los Chanares sits on the best piece of dirt in Argentina”. The reason is twofold. First, approximately 2,000 of the acres are pure roosting ground for the doves. It is well-known that the largest roost in Cordoba is located right on our property. Second, we plant hundreds of acres of land with wheat, corn, sunflower and sorghum exclusively for the birds. As a result of this unique game management program, the birds in the region seem to concentrate on our property. So even though the estancia is relatively small by Argentine standards, it is the quality of the land and not the quantity.
The 7,000 acres are not all located on one property. The main property Los Chanares is where 40-50% of the shooting takes place and is about 1,400 acres. The other 2 large fields that were initially leased were Dominguez and Carnelutti (approximately 1,500 acres each). Inside Dominguez is our client favorite La Sierra or known to everybody as the mountain. The new special place that we started leasing last year is La Rouverre which sits on about 1,300 acres. This has the potential to be the next Los Chanares and we recently started applying our game management program to this property. Finally, we have an additional 1,300 acres of third party leases that have excellent shooting and allow a proper rotation among the fields.
For those clients who wish to bring their sons to shoot world class doves in Cordoba, the best time may be during our Nov/Dec father-son special. During these 2 months, fathers pay $1,800 and the son goes free (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 updating you on Los Chanares experience.
Thank you very much for your time and hope to hear from you, sometime soon.