Rio Salado Argentina Duck Hunting Way Off the Beaten Path

duck hunting in argentina
Right about the time you think you've seen and done it all, a really special duck hunt is found that reminds me of what I've really been hunting for in the first place. Getting there took some doing. 

Located in the northern Santa Fe Province, about 300 miles from Buenos Aires, the last 30 miles is regularly graded, non-graveled dirt road.  It had rained hard before our arrival so we crept at a snail's pace for the last hour.  With any idea of what lay ahead, I'd have walked it.

My heart was still beating hard from a quarter-mile walk to the blind, but in the somber, gray relief of a cloud-covered daybreak, I knew it immediately. For a decade, I'd visited duck holes world-wide to find it; it's where I want to be buried.

In all points on the compass, countless flocks of ducks were seen trading.  We'd jumped a impressive amount while walking in.  The lush marsh stretched for as far to the horizon as could be seen.

Though light enough to shoot when the last decoy hit the water, there was no hurry. How often does that many ducks swing over the blind?  Silver Teal like never imagined, but other species too.  I savored each shot, limiting myself to carefully chosen singles and doubles, but it ended too quickly.  From the sounds of shots, the other blinds seemed to have fared well, too.  Broad grins confirmed it back at the truck where we shared refreshments, relived the morning's events.

duck hunting in Argentina
Argentina duck hunting usually implies lawfully baited ducks.  In a country that has many more wetlands than hunters, it's a necessary evil that concentrates ducks and ensures steady shooting.  Not at Rio Salado.  There's no finite number of bait piles to protect from over-shooting so hunters are placed alone during duck hunts - a rare treat anywhere in the world.

Daily duck limits vary in Argentina vary from 30-70 ducks per day or imposed cartridge limits of 100 to 125 rounds per hunt depending on the operator and provincial (state) laws.  At Rio Salado the limit is 70 ducks daily.  That it's consistently accomplished is impressive, but that it's regularly done without bait deserves further explanation.

It boils down to location, location, location.  This remote Argentina duck hunt occurs in a gorgeous wetland that's fed by the Salado River and encompasses 74,000 nearly contiguous acres. That's over 115 square miles of largely undisturbed duck habitat with water depths averaging less than a foot.  Besides occasional barbed wire strands and few cattle, surely it closely resembles what the Acadian pioneers of coastal Louisiana saw.  Its perfect natural habitat that attracts and holds waterfowl all year.

There was no disadvantage in shooting a 20-gauge to achieve limits.  The fundamentals of duck hunting at Rio Salado are scouting, decoy placement and calling.  Duck density and species richness were greater than elsewhere I've duck hunted in Argentina.  Along with the usual suspects were South American knob-billed ducks, blue-winged teal, and black-bellied whistling ducks.  Blue-winged teal are an all-time favorites, but in many trips to Argentina I'd never seen them.

Other birdlife was also plentiful. One morning I quit counting Corscoroba swans at 150 because it distracted from ducks shooting.  South American knob-billed ducks were colloquially referred to as "rain ducks" because it rains when they're appear.  It rained buckets full.  And then some.
duck hunting argentina
Bill and Doug, my 2 shooting partners on this trip, said the hunting was the best of several Argentina duck hunting trips they've done.  We shot limit daily, sure, but besides volume, it was a style of duck hunt that will resonate among die-hard US hunters.  Blinds were clumps of natural cover on the "X".  They were accessed either by walking or with Argentina mud motors (horse-drawn boats).  Four-legged duck retrievers are virtually non-existent in Argentina, but this operator's German short-hair pointers recovered some excellent marks.

What this venue lacked in convenience was made up for in pure experience.  Unique duck hunting that exceeds the norm and special places that surprisingly still exist, though far and few between, is what I've been hunting for all along.

Note: Most Argentina duck hunting occurs May through the first Sunday of August, during the South American wintertime. At Rio Salado, duck hunting is available February through September.  Our visit occurred in March, which is equivalent to September here in Mississippi.

Trip details: Argentina Duck Hunting Rio Salado

View more photos: Argentina Duck Hunting Photos Rio Salado

Ramsey Russell‘s GetDucks.com is a full-time, full-service agency specializing in wing shooting with major emphasis on trophy duck species and trophy duck hunting experiences. It's duck season somewhere. Your trip of a lifetime deserves – and receives – our full attention.  Ready to pull the trigger?

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