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Amazing and Surprisingly Quick Trophies Part I

March 15th was my last morning spent in the office before taking the truck to pick up John and Neil. After enjoying a big “Cesar” salad, I started my drive from Cordoba to San Luis. This trip takes about six hours of driving and when you arrive, there is a large gas station in the middle of town.

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 I stopped here for some gas and coffee. I finally arrived to San Luis Hotel at 11 PM, ate some dinner and went to sleep. I needed my sleep to prepare myself for the exciting days of hunting ahead. 

San Luis airport surprised me, but not because of it’s size. This airport is very small and I was expecting that. I was really impressed by how clean and how nice this small airport was. On the grounds, there is a great little coffee shop and a new playground for children to play. The flight John and Neil were on had one-hour delay. I finally meet our new two guests at 10 AM, John (27) and Neil Johansen (36). We had a very enjoyable two-hour drive from the airport to the Lodge. By noon, these guys were no longer clients— they were now friends.

We arrived to the Lodge by 12:30 where Fernando “Fer”, Rodolfo “Rolo” (Fernando’s brother) and the rest of the staff were waiting for us. The greeted us with smiles and a great pasta dish for lunch. I apologized to Fer for the delay, but as he said after a big hug: “Juan, you can’t control flights, its ok. We are very excited you guys finally made it”.

We enjoyed our lunches, took a brief recovery nap, and we began gearing up for our first afternoon hunt. At 5 pm, we acquainted the hunters with their weapon for the week by doing some target practice on a large watermelon. It only took two shots each; Neil and John had their rifles dialed in and were ready for their trophy targets. Twenty minutes later, we were on the pursuit of our first big game animal: the Red Stag. 

 After only forty minutes of walking, we had our eyes laid on the perfect bull. He was surrounded by females and was enjoying a few more bites of food before sunset. Fer aided Neil as he got into position for a shot. Bracing himself with shooting sticks, Neil cycled a  bullet into the chamber of his rifle. Thirty seconds later—PUM! This shot landed a few inches low of the target and buried into the ground behind the bull. Chaos erupted after the shot was fired. All of the females and the five bulls began running away from us. We quickly got up and followed them in this direction. After seven hundred yards of walking and fifty yards of crawling, Neil was in shooting distance of the bull once again. Situated behind a tree, Neil oriented himself into shooting position. PUM!! This time I could here the loudd “thud” the bullet makes when it makes contact with an animal. I quickly realized Neil had made the perfect shot (there was no way I could see the deer from my spot forty yards behind him with my video camera, but I could feel it!). It was almost dark when we walked up to the trophy to inspect it. This afternoon hunt was a premonition of what our four hunting trophies would be: amazingly and surprisingly quick.

Upon waking up at 5:07 AM the next morning, every detail from the evening still remained so vivid in my memory. We had a huge breakfast with John, Fer, Rolo & Galo (our third guide). Today it was John’s turn to put the cross hairs on a trophy bull. At dinner the night before, Neil told us he did not want to miss out on any of the action and wanted to accompany his brother on his hunt. He was still very excited about his hunting experience that night and had trouble going to sleep, as he kept replaying the glorious feat he had accomplished. With this being said, there was no way I could get him out of bed this morning.

That morning was hilarious!  We finished our breakfast by 5:45 AM and by 6:00 AM we were unloading from the pick up and on another quest for a big bull. We walked for an hour and a half until Fer decided to crawl thirty more yards to glass a location that he was confident would be crowded with bulls from his previous scouting of the area. It took us twenty minutes to see a Fallow deer and another sixty minutes to get into shooting range. While filming John, I heard the sound of a bullet screaming out of the barrel. Sadly I hear only the “whizzing” sound and never the “thud” of contact. Seconds later, all the Blackbucks and Fallow deer began running away, except for John’s Fallow buck! He was curious and wanted to figure out what all the commotion was for. This poor decision gave John one more chance. The buck moved his head back and forth in great confusion. Twenty seconds later, John zeroed in on the target, and made his dream come true with the squeeze of his trigger. 

“Would you like to go for the Blackbuck now?” asked Fernando moments after John fired this second shot. Fer was already back to business and said, “I saw two or three nice males with a big group of females while we where stocking this one”.

To be continued...

Juan Aguilo

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