It is simply amazing that South Africa isn’t better known for its excellent dove shooting opportunities. My guess is that Africa and bird hunting aren’t always mentioned in the same breath as the popular notion is that Africa is associated with big game adventures and not offering any mentionable opportunities for the serious shotgun hunter. Well, bird hunters need to sit up and take note.
I may be making the wrong assumptions here, but my personal take on all things related to bird hunting in South Africa is that it can, without a doubt, compete with Argentina if you are willing to look at it with an open mind and not try to draw too many parallels. Each to his own and it will be wrong to try and put Argentina and South Africa in the “same box”.
South Africa’s population stands at about 56 million people and its citizens are mainly fed by its own agricultural sector. This fact alone should already make dedicated bird hunters take note, as it means that grain wise (especially sunflower and corn) millions of acres is planted annually for both human and stock animal food purposes. Not all of the country is suited to agriculture, which in turn means that farming is concentrated to specific areas which means…you’ve guessed it…BIRDS.
South Africa, like Argentina is situated in the southern hemisphere and dove shooting is therefore on offer during the same annual time frame. This, in part may be why the African shoots are not as well known, due to the North American marketing efforts literally “blotting out” the offerings available in South Africa. Another very possible reason is that the American shooter may be under the impression that Argentina is much closer to them than Africa and that it is easier to get to the South American offerings than those of Africa, which is not wholly true.
If one calculates the total travelling time from the US down to walking into the hacienda in Argentina, compared to a similar itinerary travelling to a lodge in South Africa you are going to surprised! Thirdly the total cost involved must be considered. You just may be surprised.
The biggest single difference between shooting dove in Africa, compared to that in Argentina is that in South Africa the doves do not roost en-masse in one single place but rather at very many different locations. Apart from this, we have available 4 different species of dove/pigeon frequenting fields.
This fact means that the doves enter as well as leave fields of sunflower from literally all over which result in a multitude of different angles of shooting as well as different heights of engaging targets. Enter into this equation the 4 different species feeding off the same fields (which all differ in size as well as speed of flight and flight angle) and the aficionado of all things dove shooting have infinite scenarios available.
Some seriously challenging shooting can be had and shooting prowess tested.
Another important aspect to consider is that the Free State province of South Africa where we offer these shoots, allows unlimited dove shooting. No bag limits are in place or prescribed and shooters can “let loose”. It is not uncommon, neither rare for hunters to expend 1 000 shells, per day on a shoot.
Couple this to good accommodation, delicious food, bird pickers, real good weather and thousands of targets and you can have as good a shoot as anywhere else in the world!
As always, the tip of my hat to you!