Sneak Preview Stuart Williams on Los Chanares Lodge
By Stuart Williams
“FLYWAYS DOVE LODGES—-Los Chanares”
Los Chanares started out in 1996 as the brainchild and inspiration of Serge Dompierre. a French-Canadian entrepreneur and fanatic bird shooter. He saw the pestilential numbers of doves in the area where the lodge is located, purchased land, and began construction. Right from its opening in 1998, Los Chanares was recognized as a truly exceptional shooting resort. It had everything that the most demanding shooters wanted: luxurious accommodations, excellent food and service, vast numbers of birds, proximity to shooting fields, ease of approach from the United States, good vehicles, excellent service, and large numbers of well-maintained rental guns. Serge continued to make improvements up until 2005, when he sold the business to a young American entrepreneur by the name of David Perez. David, along with his managing partners Alex Mitri and Jessica Ciappa, has continued to make improvements ever since, so that today its luxurious amenities and service are on a par with the world’s most luxurious hotels. In fact, Trip Advisor rates Los Chanares #1 among specialty accommodations in Cordoba Province. All 213 reviewers on Trip Advisor gave Los Chanares an Excellent rating.
Los Chanares has nine double bedrooms with private bath, rustic wood-burning fireplace and queen-sized beds with orthopedic mattresses ; multiple indoor and outdoor bars, lounges, and dining areas, all recently remodeled in impeccable taste; plus a large swimming pool and a spa with massage and Jacuzzi. Food can best be described as world-class, and it is accompanied by select vintages from among Mendoza wines. Lunches are served al fresco as asados, at long wooden tables under large shade trees, and feature empanadas, grilled dove breasts, dove shish-ka-bobs, tenderloin steaks, beef ribs, grilled chicken, huge salads, and Lucullan desserts. Dinners are served by candlelight and feature many of the same delicacies. If shooters are lucky they will get to enjoy a terrific performance after dinner by the Charlie Ruiz Duo, about whom you can read in the chapter on Sierra Brava.
Los Chanares has the best access to the famous Macha roost. It has exclusive access to more than 9000 acres of prime shooting land. There are 300 shooting stations, which offer varying degrees of difficulty ranging from very easy to extremely challenging. Virtually all shooting stations are within a 15-minute drive from the lodge. Some of them are within walking distance.
Los Chanares has a very large assortment of well-maintained rental guns. Chanares recently bought 20 new Benelli 20 ga. Semi-autos and 10 Browning Citori 28 ga. over-unders, and now has an inventory of 150 guns.
New this year is an irrigation program that will ensure that there are grain and seed crops coming ready for harvest throughout the year, so that there will be plenty of birds year round. There is also a new Case tractor and a corn seed drill and a large spray machine. Chanares is growing 3x more grain than previously, primarily due to increased market prices of grain. Also new is a special African safari-style truck known as the Beast, which can transport 12 shooters up top and 4 inside in total comfort. Chanares has recently leased nearby land to increase its cultivation of grains and to maintain exclusivity of its shooting areas.
Long-term devotees of Los Chanares know that the best time to be there was traditionally the month of January. That is when the ripe sunflowers blaze across the fields and the doves swarm in pestilential clouds to feed on them. You had to book well in advance to get in at that time. With the new irrigation system, however, the management of Los Chanares is able to provide sunflower crops that are reaching their full brilliance of color from early January through mid-April.
The whole program is under the very able management of Nahuel Gramajo and Ivan Mansilla.
Los Chanares and the other Flyways lodge, Posta del Norte, were recently chosen as Endorsed Lodges by Orvis, a first for any lodge in Cordoba.
The pleasures of Los Chanares can be addictive. On my last visit there I met a Russian émigré, Dmitri Ehrenkov, and his British companion-in-arms, Giles Nuttal. They have shot at all the major dove lodges in Cordoba, but have settled on Chanares as the best. They make 3—5 visits every year.
Get further information and bookings from [email protected], 786-207-2871.