Here is a brief story about one of my hunts in Argentina.
I booked a trip to northern Argentina and checked in with my hunting party. I had wanted to hunt water buffalo, and the guide I had hired promised that I would track and see water buffalo, but it was up to me to actually shoot one. The province where I scheduled the hunt was Santiago del Estro, a province close to Paraguay and Bolivia. We stayed overnight at a national monument, “The General of the North”. The hosts of the hunting party were friends of local government officials and we were able to stay in the General’s personal dwelling. This residence was in the same condition as it was built. There was no modern accommodations like electricity or indoor plumbing. Lots and lots of beef would be cooked and served throughout the week, using the original cooking facilities, metal grates over hot coals. This was going to be a great week!
And the hunt begins…
Argentina has a large variety of free-ranging animals. In the 1900’s, many of the animals that are now hunted for sport were brought to Argentina by wealthy Europeans. These animals range through certain provinces of Argentina, mostly in the north. They are usually hunted by the “spot and stalk” method through pastures and heavily wooded areas. One of the favorite animals for hunting transplanted to Argentina is the water buffalo.
Let me tell you just a little about hunting in Argentina before the story of the actual hunt. The entire country has no actual “hunting season” like we have in the United States. Anytime of year is hunting season. (Argentinians do not generally hunt as it is very difficult to own guns there, and it is very expensive to hunt.) Also, there is no limit to what, how much or how many animals you can hunt. It all depends on your budget. When hunting, generally no camouflage gear is worn, as camo, in many foreign countries, may signify militia or military. You risk getting shot if you decide to try and wear it so we wore plain dark green clothing.
Taking the shot
I can recall the day I shot my first water buffalo as if it were yesterday. We had gone out for a couple of days to track. Actual hunting is done at dawn or dusk, as that is when the buffalo are most active. They tend to rest during the day, so days are used to track the animals. They are usually found near water, and hide in thick cover. It was late afternoon. I had tracked an animal that I felt was unusually large, and I hoped to find it now. As I moved through the heavy brush I thought it was taking cover in, I saw movement, then instantly he was coming at me.
I lifted my rifle, a 375 H&H Browning A Bolt. I had total faith in my ability to use that gun well. The gun had a Leupold 1-4x Scope. He was coming at me from about 75 yards at a trot and I squeezed off the first round. I was using hand-loaded Barnes TSX bullet. The bullet hit him with a clean quartering heart shot. But he was not down. He then started charging at a full run, I fired a second shot and dropped him. Both bullets were later found flattened, opposite of entrance with no exit wounds, and 100% weight retention. Barnes is a great wild game ammo.
It was over as fast as it began
At the end of the week, I had taken a great water buffalo that weighed in at over 2,000 pounds. His head is now hanging on my wall. That hunt in Argentina in 2006 is one of my favorite memories. I also took several Perdiz (game birds), a Puma (YES! A Puma!), a white lipped peccary and hundreds of doves and pigeons.