Written By Gary Turner
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Argentina with a group of friends to hunt El Carrizal Lodge in La Pampa. El Carrizal is a very comfortable and unique Hunting lodge in La Pampa that truly sets itself apart from others. Carlos Torriglia has put together a great lodge and an incredible staff that takes this 50,000-acre paradise to new levels. I would definitely go back.
Traveling to Argentina has a few challenges but is well worth it. The major obstacle to overcome is transferring airports. You will arrive at Ezeiza International, and you have to transfer to the domestic airport Aeroparque that is approximately 45km apart. If you arrive at the “wrong” time, this drive can take hours. We made the decision to fly straight through with a 5-hour layover. Most of us made it through in the nick of time. I highly recommend overnighting close to the airport in Buenos Aires if possible. Later that day, We landed in Bahia Blanca and made the 2 hour trek to the lodge.
The lodge sits just off of the highway on top of a hill overlooking a salt marsh. The Pampas is a vast area of rolling plains ideal for raising cattle and farming. The land of the gauchos. It’s also ideal for big buffalo and stag and where there are crops, you will always find the Perdices or Partridge.
My main focus on this trip was chasing a big buffalo. Unfortunately, my first couple of days out were unsuccessful. Covering around 8 miles a day on foot we saw a number of buffalo, but we just couldn’t find an old bull. I can say with confidence that the Argentine water buffalo is a menacing presence when you are standing in front of them. Early on the third morning we found a great bull. He appeared to be in a small bachelor group. I took the shot! I hit the mark and quickly followed up with another round. It was at this point we found that this wasn’t a bachelor group, it was a massive herd. They were just hidden in the trees. The herd quickly surrounded the bull and pushed him into the trees. We gave him some time to go down. Unfortunately, we could not find him immediately. After some help from the gauchos, we did find him some hours later. He was an incredible specimen. Truly a dugga boy, if that applies on this continent.
Following this epic buffalo hunt, I also had the opportunity to hunt a beautiful black buck. The highlight of my trip was hunting Perdices with Paco my guide. We had three evenings with nothing to do. We grabbed a couple of 20ga shotguns and started walking. We kicked up a number of birds and missed more than we shot. We laughed about our good fortune and joked about lack of talent with a shotgun. The boys back at camp did also enjoy fresh bird appetizers that Paco and I provided.
The lodges that offer an number of activities are a favorite in my book. Had there not been an opportunity to bird hunt, I may have been at the lodge helping the cook. A number of lasting friendships came from this trip.