PEAX Equipment

Argentina '24

jpcoll01

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Jan 14, 2021
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409
My Dad went to Argentina in 2022 with a group of guys he had never met. During the course of the week they became friends and agreed to come back two years later, so my Brother and I signed up and paid our deposits waaaay back then. Fast forward a couple years and it's time!! I decided to take my bow and borrow a gun if I needed one. The travel was borderline grueling. We left the house at noon on a Wednesday and got to camp at 10 p.m. on Thursday, in between those times were airplanes, shuttles, waiting and a fair amount of beer.
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Woke up the first hunting day and spent the morning getting guns sighted in with a short still hunt. We hunted a while and finally saw two nice stags bedded below a tree. As they were bedded with their backs to the wind they were facing directly at us and were at around 100 yards. My guide pointed to the gun in his hand and pleaded with me to shoot the biggest one but I shook my head no. Eventually I convinced him to stay put and I would back out and make a big circle around and try to get closer. Thirty minutes later I was crawling toward them at about 70 yards with good wind when they stood up, they didn't spook just kind of stood up and decided something was up and moved away from me...sloooowly. They really are majestic animals and ultra spooky, not really like elk.
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Shortly after we headed back to the ranch for lunch and a siesta to prepare for the evening hunt. We started the evening hunt in the same place we started that morning hoping to see those two stags again. We hiked around 3 miles and didn't see anything and finally came up to a water hole where we saw, and were immediately pinned down by, about 5 female stags and their yearlings. We had been walking when we spotted them so we just got down on our knees to avoid being spotted...and that's where we stayed for around 15 minutes until the females were done drinking. Just as they were about to leave a big stag entered from my left (I believed it was the second stag from the morning hunt). We had great wind but it was wide open except one tree. He stared at us for a minute or two, took a step, stared again, took a step (you know the drill) finally his head went behind a tree. At that point I spun around on my knees and got set up for a shot. Raised up binos to grab a range on the tree he was behind and he stepped out. Got a range at 49.2 yards but he was looking at me. At this point my legs are shaking, not because of buck fever but because I had been squatted for so long, I was in some serious pain. I put the bino's down and grabbed my release which was already on my string. Slowly and smoothly I drew my bow and settled my 50 yard pin behind his shoulder and low as I thought he would jump the string to some extent. As I pulled the trigger on my release he spun violently around (not dropping at all). The result was a hit from 49 yards directly in his shoulder with a 125gr. kudu broadhead. In his hurry to run off he actually broke off a dead tree which sounded very impressive. I walked up and found my arrow broken off, 10 inches total penetration with about 6" left in him after his shoulder had broken it. I felt good about the broadhead doing it's job and cutting something important. My guide started almost running after him and I had to grab him and ask that we wait a bit. It was starting to get dark but I didn't want to push this stag. I managed to hold him back for 20 minutes then we took off after the stag and followed good blood for 600ish yards. At that point it started to dry up and it was getting dark. We killed a pit viper that was dangerously close to my foot and called it an evening.
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After an evening drowning my sorrows we started the next morning on the blood trail and then started grid searching. My Dad was nice enough to go out on the evening hunt with his guide and we looked that evening as well. Finally my guide and I looked the following morning with no luck. The convinced me that it was dead and that we were waiting on vultures and hogs to alert us to where it was. That didn't sound like a great idea to me but I had to trust that they knew what they were talking about. At that point my stag hunt was done, I had made a killing shot on a nice stag so that was that whether I found it or not. The next evening I decided to go out and look for a management stag which, if you've ever tried looking for one, is like finding a needle in a pile of needles. Tons of stags almost none that need to be culled...
 
We started the hunt at a new location that I hadn't been before and I took a rifle. After a couple miles of hiking we came to a clearing and I spotted (as opposed to my guide spotting first) a blackbuck that I wanted to make a stalk on. We crawled to about 100 yards and made a good shot with the 300 win mag that I borrowed from the ranch and that one was in the books.blackbuck.jpeg
 
My guide got on the radio to call for a truck and I said "hey man we have 40 minutes of light left, let's hunt" so we got back into the brush and kept hunting. About 25 minutes later we spotted a group of stags. My guide glassed teh group and said they were all trophy stags and I said let's get closer just to watch them if nothing else. As we got behind a tree about 500 yards away I pulled up my binos and spotted one with a huge passenger side but nothing but a single point on the driver's side. After some convincing my guide saw it as well and we were off to the races. We ran probably 1/2 mile to keep the wind right but still get closer. When we finally got there that group of 4 turned into a group of 20 and they were all roaring and fighting it was amazing. It was a confusing mass of red hide and antler but finally the cull stag stepped out to the right. I got on shooting sticks and readied for a shot when the group moved and completely blocked my shot. At this point the guide looks at me and says "I'm sorry" it was too dark and we weren't going to get a shot. I said "no way, let's just look for a second" and he stepped back out. I quickly shot and, honestly, missed. The group took off to my left running full speed with the management stag in the back, they went behind some trees and came out the other side still running. I took aim at the stag in teh back (where the cull stag was the last time I saw it) and made a great shot, killed it instantly. As I was walking over there I said a prayer that it was the right stag as a trophy stag is very expensive and there were some absolutely giants in this group. Turns out, I shot the right one. What a feeling that was, I love the character of this stag!!
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The remaining couple days were spent looking for vultures and passing on several axis bucks that I just couldn't afford. Finally, the last evening we pulled up to the ranch and a dead stag head was sitting there...mine...my archery Stag!!!!! I was so excited, one of the guides had found it dead and eaten by hogs that evening. Turns out it had gone around 800 yards total from the shot site, laid down and died.
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It was a great way to end the hunt. In the end stags are amazing, as are the blackbucks and axis and fallow deer.. But the star of the show in Argentina are the guides, the skinners, the workers at the ranch. Just great people. Spending this time with my Dad and Brother is something I don't take for granted. I soak in every minute, every laugh, every look of concern on my Dad's face when I return from a search without my stag (even though I'm 46). It is a high fence operation, but it is almost 40k acres, the animals are the jumpiest I have ever encountered and it's a real hunt. If anyone wants more info on the outfitter I'm happy to discuss, just send me a message. Also, the trip home was slightly better but still a very very long day.
 
Are you able to bring back any game meat from Argentina?
Nope, we ate it everyday/night (Axis was fantastic, Blackbuck pretty good, Stag (including the heart) was also pretty good)
The guides exclusively eat game meat so none of it went to waste, we went to the skinning shack most evenings and saw them getting all of the meat off of the carcasses. This was true of everything but my archery stag which exclusively fed vultures and wild boars since I couldn't find it for days.
 
Bummer you couldn't bring it back but glad you were able to enjoy it while you were there (and that the rest didn't go to waste). I've eaten Texas-harvested Axis and it was incredible. Had to convince myself it was really game meat.

Congrats on a great trip!
 
Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

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