Located in a massive wetland prone to natural water fluctuations that greatly affect waterfowl density and diversity–and so inconveniently far from Buenos Aires that you can’t hardly get there from here–Rio Salado nonetheless offers truly wild duck hunting experiences unavailable elsewhere in Argentina. In this Duck Season Somewhere episode, Ramsey hears clients describe their Rio Salado Argentina duck hunting experiences during a drought year. While “whys” and “whats” vary, they collectively prove the point that among real duck hunters birds of a feather definitely flock together.
Real Duck Hunting for Real Duck Hunters
Monday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life. Tuesday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life. Wednesday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life…
Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere from Rio Salado, Argentina, one of the most remote places maybe on earth, certainly in Argentina. I’ve been coming here for 10 years and we’re glad to be back, I have got a large full of great guys. You know, the old saying, birds of a feather flock together, it never ceases to amaze me when you get on some of these hunts, how everybody, whether they know each other or not come from different walks of life, different careers, but you put them right here around a dinner table right there on the front porch and rocking chairs, telling stories and it’s like you’ve known each other your whole life. Am I right, Wesley?
Wesley Gross: Absolutely.
Ramsey Russell: Wesley hunted with you in North Carolina and I met you at your camp up on the North Shore Road and I walked in, I said, I’m among my people. How is here and now at Rio Salado in this remote area that you can’t hardly get to from there, how is it alike and how is it different?
Wesley Gross: There’s a camaraderie exist already here. I came with a friend of mine from North Carolina, met essentially 6, 7 strangers and after 4 days man, everybody is honest to goodness friends right now. It’s like, these folks, you’ve got similar interests with, you’ve known them your whole life even though you haven’t. 4 days in, you’ve exchanged phone numbers with some of the folks and already made plans to do something together in the future. And it’s like duck camping that we’re all here with family, essentially.
Ramsey Russell: It is duck camp and that’s kind of something I’ve always felt like. If you want a 5 star crystal pallet, this ain’t your place, if you want conveners, this ain’t your place, this is like stepping back in time, but this is duck camp. People ask me what’s the lodging like, I’m like, well, it’s an authentic little ranch house in the middle of absolutely freaking nowhere. It shows we got Wi-Fi, we don’t and it’s nice to be unplugged. But man, if I could just lift this little building up and put it down in Mississippi for duck camp, I’d have a paradise, this is my kind of place.
Wesley Gross: This is real duck hunting for real duck hunters.
Ramsey Russell: Amen. I couldn’t have said it better. This is Wesley’s 40th birthday and he told me in North Carolina, you want to come celebrate down here in Argentina, what did you expect? And how did this hunting experience reconcile with your expectations?
Wesley Gross: This is by far exceeded every expectation I had. When you came to North Carolina and hunted with us, one thing I asked you is if you had one day to live, one hunt to go on, where would it be? And you told me Rio Salado, I said this is the place I want to go. And the lodging has been fantastic, the people in Argentina, the staff in Argentina, the people have been fantastic from Diego and the bird boys, the food is absolutely incredible. When we talked 5 star, we have eaten 3 meals a day that are 5 star dining.
Ramsey Russell: I really describe the places we hunt in Argentina as the Argentine version of Southern comfort food, this isn’t fancy. This is just good. It’s like, hey, when I come to your camp, we eat, I dang just good old comfort food, that’s what we eat.
Wesley Gross: There’s a bowl of gravy on the table last night.
Ramsey Russell: And we had fried alligator and how much more did you get? What about the hunting? How’s the hunting reconciled with expectations? And I ask you this and I’m going to ask everybody on this episode something like that because hunting is such a subjective experience, how has it lived up?
Wesley Gross: We got here Sunday. Monday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life. Tuesday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life. Wednesday, I went on the best duck hunt of my life and then today it’s hard to pick a day, some absolutely incredible habitat, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever hunted before, even though the methods and kind of how you get there may be similar. We had a day, two days ago where we took a car ride, then we jumped in a boat and then we hiked and hunted a place that looked like Cheyenne bottoms and just vast wetlands. And I came back and I said, damn, we went on a real duck hunt, Ramsey. It’s been absolutely incredible and far exceeded any expectation I had.
The Allure of the White Cheek Pintail
The white cheek pintail, in my opinion is the most beautiful duck.
Ramsey Russell: What’s your favorite species? And now look, this is a great place to hunt, but it’s a wild, vibrant wetland. Some years are wetter and more ducks and more species and some years are dryer, still a lot of duck. But it changes, but is there a species that sticks out in your mind? I mean, you put your hand on a lot of pretties but is there one you picked up and go, oh my gosh.
Wesley Gross: The white cheek pintail, in my opinion is the most beautiful duck. These little silver teal, they never stop. You can be picking up decoys, picking up holes out there and they’re still coming. And I can’t say I necessarily have a favorite thus far, I’ve shot a ton of different species while I’ve been down here. Of course, everything has been a new one for me. Quite frankly, every duck out here is a work of God’s art.
Ramsey Russell: Oh, boy. You said, you go back home, I think this when I’m down here. I’m out here today or any day, like this morning, we got there an hour before – I looked at my watch and said, okay, it’s an hour before I know I want to shoot ducks, now I’ll start shooting 30 minutes from then, but an hour, 07:30 is about my go time, 07:15 to 07:30 and there’s no airplanes flying overhead, there’s no street light forever and it’s like I can see every star in the universe in the milky way, every morning, there’s not a cloud, it’s unbelievable. But I look out there just wet and as far as I can see is just this marsh that does remind me of what my imagination tells me, parts of America look like 150 years ago. And it’s something like, just knowing when I’m at home or all them years, I’m at home just knowing places like this exist and continue to just – what about these little gauchos we see out here in the middle of absolute nowhere down on a dirt road, 60 kilometers from a paved road, I mean, what do they do?
Wesley Gross: Yeah, we jumped, we got to meet one today, actually.
Ramsey Russell: They ain’t worried about the stock market, they ain’t worried about the Ukraine, they’re not worried about nothing. CNN and Fox News, I mean, they just get up and go do their live same as they always have, same as their people did, same as their people did before and after, they’re just living out here in the swamp, that’s something isn’t it? Tell me about this gaucho you met today.
Wesley Gross: We of course have been given some ducks away, we got more than we can consume and been giving them to the locals out here and we pulled over to Gaucho’s house today, he had chickens and turkeys running around gave him quite a few ducks, he actually went inside, got us a bag of cheese doodles and an open bag of cheese doodles, but a bag of cheese doodles regardless. And he picked a phone out of his pocket, I was very surprised that he had a sailor phone, but he picked a sailor phone out of his pocket to show me videos of Red Stag and other animals that he’d seen. And when we’ve got ready to leave, patted me on the back, shook my hands and awesome to see the way these folks live and it’s surreal, they certainly don’t have the creature comforts that we do, but man, they’re at peace, they’re happy, they’re laughing and smiling.
Ramsey Russell: They’re living in a paradise. What do you think about the drive up here? It was long.
Wesley Gross: It was long but there’s so much to see as the time goes by pretty fast. And once again, we were in the car Justin, you, Rich myself and it was a ride full of laughs and discussion and getting to know the others in the car with us.
Ramsey Russell: Wesley, I appreciate you coming. I suspect it’s going to be a place I’ll see you again one day in the future. And it brings up a point because last night or whenever we were sitting there and he said, when can I think about coming back down here? I said, well, just call Miss Anita when you get home and countless over the last 20 years of the people I’ve met that are doing a once in a lifetime adventure that are now in – there’s two guys in camp now, there’s 4 time.
Wesley Gross: I’m going to call Miss Anita before I call my girlfriend, I’m just saying, I’ll be honest.
Ramsey Russell: All right, Wesley, I appreciate you. And we got one more day to go, maybe it’ll be the best day you’ve ever had.
Wesley Gross: I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Getting to the Middle of Nowhere to Duck Hunt
Ramsey Russell: Darren Hogan.
Darren Hogan: There you go, second one.
Ramsey Russell: Darren Hogan right here in remote Rio Salado, you seem to have had a pretty good time this week.
Darren Hogan: Absolutely. Good time, good people.
Ramsey Russell: What did Jeff Watt tell you to get you down here? Did he tell you, it was a long drive, getting in the middle of nowhere?
Darren Hogan: No, Jeff just said, hey, we’ve got an opening, can you go? And I said, let me check with my social coordinator and I’ll get back to you.
Ramsey Russell: Have you ever thought about coming to Argentina before or just kind of a spur the moment thing?
Darren Hogan: I’ve thought about coming to Argentina before to hunt and to fish, but I had never been to Argentina before, I’ve been down to Chile for skiing, but never for hunting or fishing to South America.
Ramsey Russell: And I’ve heard we’ve had a lot of conversations on the front porch, you do a lot of fishing and hunting there in Montana, would you describe yourself as an avid waterfowler?
Darren Hogan: I grew up waterfowling 4 or 5 days a week. I had a gun in my truck every day in Fargo, North Dakota. I grew up, I had a gun in the back of my Bronco every day at school, which I know is illegal now and I would leave school in the fall and go hunting outside of town. We had a farm that I spent most of my summers on, where my dad grew up, my grandpa lived there so I was there hunting every weekend. And then I kind of got out of it a bit, lived in Seattle for 20 years and it was a little bit hard to get out and hunt there. But now that I’m back in Montana, been out waterfowling again. So avid compared to you guys, no. But I love it, I love all kinds of hunting, a lot more big game now, turkey, everything. Yeah, I like it all.
Ramsey Russell: What did you like most about your week so far here at Rio Salado?
Setting the Outdoor World on Its Ear
So either the existing product could be better or there’s a product to be solved that nobody’s even making a product for yet and you figure out a way to solve that. When you do that, you’ll be successful.
Darren Hogan: I think, I love seeing new places, I love adventure and travel and meeting new people, like minded people that are, I think we’re after the same thing camaraderie and just seeing, what hunting is like here, seeing what’s possible, talking to people learning, building relationships both within the industry and getting to know even Jeff better, getting to know Lee better yourself, people in the industry that are part of hunting culture and what’s drawn us all to hunting, the heritage that we share, our dads and our granddads, whoever passed on to us and made us interested in the first place, to end up working in the hunting industry is such an amazing thing to really be doing what you love. I know, I don’t need to explain that to you, but I’ve been very fortunate to know what I wanted to do from a young age. I always knew I wanted to develop product and to design product to do engineering and to go to school, to study that in engineering and then to be able to turn that into more consumer oriented products, outdoor products rather than – because I started working in aerospace right out of school, like a lot of kids do out of college, worked for Boeing just learning engineering fundamentals, getting experience and then eventually getting the job I really wanted, right, working in the outdoor industry, making product. And for me it’s a calling, I’ve known that’s what I’ve wanted to do since high school really and spent a long time learning the tools of the trade to develop product to manage, to design product, to work with design firms factories, sales and marketing, all the aspects that go into making good product.
Ramsey Russell: Well, some of the product you brought down here to field test is going to set the outdoor world on his ear and I’m not going to say any more detail than that right there. But I don’t impress easy and I’m highly impressed and glad I got to try it, it was awesome.
Darren Hogan: Making good product is really, I don’t want to oversimplify it. But if you think about it, any good product that comes to mind really does one or two things, it solves a problem and there’s a job to be done, any product, think about it, there’s a job to be done and the problem to be solved. So either the existing product could be better or there’s a product to be solved that nobody’s even making a product for yet and you figure out a way to solve that. When you do that, you’ll be successful.
Ramsey Russell: What problem was solved coming to Rio Salado for a week of off the grid duck hunting? Because we’re off the grid.
Darren Hogan: I’ll tell you the problem that was solved for us is, there’s no place else for me to hunt right now, there’s no place else for me to accurately product test while hunting, right? The product we’re testing now is waterfowl product and I was turkey hunting a week ago in Montana, but that wasn’t the right conditions for this product, right? So what we’re doing here is the right condition for this product, so that’s why I was able to get the drip approved and come down here and put product through its paces in the right environment, the right conditions for accurate field testing, valid field testing.
Ramsey Russell: How would you describe hunting here in this very remote area, the hunting experience, not the remoteness as compared to contemporary duck hunting in North America.
Darren Hogan: Well, there’s the obvious difference of if you’re hunting locally, you’re at your house, you’re with your family, you’re meeting up with a couple of buddies going for the morning and you’re back, maybe for the afternoon, something like that right? Here, it’s fully immersive, we’re essentially all living together in this lodge for a week, hanging out in between a morning hunt and an afternoon hunt, so it’s just all encompassing, you’re separated from your daily work environment, you’re separated from your family as we know, it’s hard to connect back home. So, we’re all interacting in all the time and just hanging out. So that’s the first thing that’s different, right? You’re separate in your own little world, we’re not getting any news, it’s just us and stories.
Ramsey Russell: No email, no text, no telephone calls and really and truly, it’s a little daunting for me, but I adjust to it quickly. I mean, it’s nice to be completely unplugged and for us to all be sitting on the front porch just talking, just visiting, just getting to know each other, going out to a duck blind by yourself, with somebody else if you like, but by yourself and I’m going to tell you, Darren, I enjoy being in that moment by myself. It’s a totally different experience than the social aspect of you and your buddy or you and your buddy’s plural just being in a blind by yourself. It’s one of the most rewarding forms of duck hunting I can think of and I’ve got a lot of opportunity each morning to see an experience between the volleys and I love it, man, I love it like no other place.
Darren Hogan: And in the mornings we’ve had have just been beautiful. You see the stars, you’re out there in the dark, you’re walking out in the dark, you don’t even know where you’re going until that first light starts coming out and then you see the whole landscape light up. And it’s also been a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish. I’ve been talking to the guide as much as possible, learning as much vocabulary and all the local ducks and it’s been great.
On Your Game for Silver Teal
So you can imagine how fast the teal were coming, leaving a fog bank, coming through a shooting window and then disappearing, it was amazing.
Ramsey Russell: Have you got a favorite species?
Darren Hogan: Well, growing up, I’d probably say the mallard.
Ramsey Russell: What about here? What are your favorite species? Is there one that you stand out of the half dozen or so we’ve picked up?
Darren Hogan: Well, the silver teal are everywhere and they’re just so fun. I mean, they’re coming in, they’re coming in fast this morning, we had fog and we had this little window of visibilities. So you can imagine how fast the teal were coming, leaving a fog bank, coming through a shooting window and then disappearing, it was amazing. You had to be on your game and fast.
Ramsey Russell: And attentive, no sitting there kicking back, you got to pay attention.
Darren Hogan: You could almost hear before you could see and then, the guide is telling you, where is it? Giving you directions in Spanish, heads up and it’s pretty unique.
Ramsey Russell: Is it the kind of destination you’d come back to just for the experience?
Darren Hogan: Yeah, it is. Absolutely.
Ramsey Russell: You knew Jeff when you came here, maybe you knew Lee, you didn’t know anybody else, we got a dozen people in camp. Isn’t it something how – I’ve noticed this, we’ve got a lot of different hunts around the world, but if I’m sitting at a camp like this, birds of a feather flock together and come to it. It’s like, here are the species all kind of hang out in certain habitats, they got habitat preferences and they flock together in certain habitat and we’re the same way sitting on the front porch.
Darren Hogan: That’s great analogy, right? Because you feel like you’ve known these guys maybe your whole life because you have so many shared experiences. And Mark grew up in Australia and now Canada, but you’ve shared so many things because of your love for waterfowling and hunting in general and fishing or just being outdoors. So it’s so easy to connect to people here and it’s just so great to engage these guys and say, oh, yeah, you’ve had the same experience as I have, you have the same general world view, we don’t agree on everything, but that’s part of the beauty as well, let’s talk about all the stuff and learn, I want to learn from your experience, maybe you can learn something from mine. But you’re right, the hunting is what’s brought us here as we flock together. But it’s just so easy to connect, because of so many shared experiences and interests, right?
Ramsey Russell: It seemed like a long time ago that we all convened at De Campo and kick things off with a big long table and excellent steaks and ribs and everything else and maybe we’ll have a chance to eat there tomorrow night on the way out.
Darren Hogan: Maybe. But man, we have eaten well here, I’ll tell you that right now. And I was reading an article right before I came that it was talking about international, travel to hunt of all things, I just flipped to it and I said, whoa, this is appropriate and it talked about how great the anticipation is of the trip. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the trip itself. But I think in this case, the anticipation was great and the trip has also been great.
Ramsey Russell: So it matched the expectations.
Darren Hogan: Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: That’s good. I’ve enjoyed sharing camp with you, Darren and I want to have you on again at some point in time in the future, we can dig deeper in the bushes on some of the stuff you’ve been working on down here.
Darren Hogan: Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to talk more publicly about some of the things that we’ve been talking about privately.
Ramsey Russell: Well, you came to the perfect place to keep a secret man, you can’t hardly get there from here. It’s a nice place to be, we’re as remote as anywhere in the world I’ve ever been in Argentina for sure.
Darren Hogan: It is, hard to get here.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Darren. Pete, here we are at Rio Salado, you’re just waking up from a nice well deserved nap.
Pete: Little 2 hour rest up there after the morning hunt.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, huge adventure this week, had a great time.
Pete: Unbelievable, without a doubt.
Ramsey Russell: Here’s a question, I was wondering the other night at dinner. You’re 27 years old and we’ve got other hunts here in Argentina, there’s certainly other hunt experiences around the world, why did you choose Rio Salado? What was it about this hunt that appealed to you?
A Remote Haven for Waterfowl Enthusiasts
There is a sense of adventure here that you’re not going to get at other locations.
Pete: Well, honestly, I think that your website covers it pretty well. So, when you talk about it being a real waterfowling hunt, there is a sense of adventure here that you’re not going to get at other locations. We’ve got a long trip coming out of Buenos Aires, this is basically as remote as it gets. The services are exceptional and the waterfowling meets it. So, you put in a lot of work to get out of the airport and get here, but once you get here, it’s unmatched, it’s remote, the ducks don’t know us, right? They haven’t been shot 100 times and I think the experience speaks for itself makes it worth it.
Ramsey Russell: When you land in Buenos Aires, you’re halfway here. How has the hunt, how I’m trying to like this. How is the hunt compared to hunting in Long Island where you hunt?
Pete: So, on Long Island we predominantly do diver shooting. So the Great South Bay and out East was really known for divers, right? Broad Bill was King. The market gunners used to use punt guns and do a lot of that stuff. So, as it stands today, I kind of follow that up besides the goose shooting we do, I’m predominantly shooting out of a layout rig. So Shinnecock Bay out to Montauk, Peconic Bay, all of that. So we don’t get the same quantity of good ducks obviously as Argentina gets. So, sitting in these blinds and stuff and sitting in these low tidal zones or should I say, low river banks are something that’s completely new to me.
Ramsey Russell: Little ephemeral poles is what we’re hunting right now. Just little plate, little low line areas that rainwater collected, just ankle deep, shin deep, maybe knee deep, I haven’t been in knee deep water yet, it’s been just shin to ankle deep is what we’ve been hunting in.
Pete: And between myself and all my buddies back home, I could honestly say that this is what you think of as far as the heaven. This is as God intended waterfowling, this doesn’t get any better than this.
Ramsey Russell: I think so too. What have been some of your favorite memories? When you look back to the last 4 days here, we got one more day to go, you’re fixing to step out of here and see the truck pulling up, you’re fixing to go kill something this afternoon. What have been some of your favorite memories of being here? Like just wow, I’m here. When did it dawn on you, I’m standing here in the middle of nowhere in Argentina? What happened? Where were you, what did you do, when you go oh wow moment?
Pete: So that, oh wow, moment came Monday morning, the first time that we stepped out of the truck and started walking out to the little makeshift blinds they have, you look up and it’s very rare that you get to see the stars that bright, especially coming from Long Island we get it, but not like that. Every star that you could possibly see the Southern Cross, the shooting stars, everything. So, I had to take a moment and stop as we were walking to our blinds there that to look up and just be like, yes, we’re here, this is remote, this is the brightest stars you’re going to see, just take a moment to soak it all in because it’s not going to be long before you’re back in reality.
Ramsey Russell: What was your favorite duck species?
Pete: I think the silver teal are predominant here, I mean, we’re shooting a lot of them. The Brazilians are beautiful but as many of the silver teal that you shoot, they decoy well, they’re gorgeous duck and you can’t beat it.
The Common Language of Duck Hunters
As a duck hunter, I’ve been all over the world and it don’t matter to us, that we speak the same word, but we get along.
Ramsey Russell: Do you see kind of the universal truth? What I call a universal truth, you don’t speak fluent Spanish, you’re down here with an outfitter doesn’t speak English or a guide and you climb out of a truck every morning and off you all go into the dark, chasing a light beam, go to the blind, he built to an area he scouted in the middle of absolute nowhere and you really don’t need to speak a lot of words, it’s just you can get along. Have you had any language barrier so to speak that couldn’t be brief because we’re both duck hunters that kind of stuff, you see what I’m saying? As a duck hunter, I’ve been all over the world and it don’t matter to us, that we speak the same word, but we get along.
Pete: There’s a respect there, there’s a respect for the environment, there is definitely a language barrier and throughout the last few days I’ve been able to pick up a lot and kind of have these conversations even though, we don’t 100% get what we’re saying, but we’re both there to enjoy it, we both know what the duck’s doing, we both understand that. It’s almost like, what they say, math is right? Math is a universal language, whether you’re Chinese, Indian, American, you can do that math problem. Well, there’s no difference to decoying, making sure that bird is working the correct way, it’s the same no matter what language you speak or where you are in the world.
Ramsey Russell: Exactly. You are talking about respecting the environment. I’ve just notice this here I am in the middle of nowhere and they pick up every hole every time, they never leave their trash. The only thing, you show up to this little blind made of cut vegetation sticking up and when you leave that’s all that remains that and your footprints. I mean, there’s a lot to be said for that, isn’t it?
Pete: No doubt. And you wish you saw some more of that in America. How many times you go to Parklands and stuff and a lot of us don’t respect it the way it should be, right? And they’re doing it down here in a third world country.
Ramsey Russell: They’re real hunters. I mean, when you say your guide probably hunts for himself when he ain’t got a client.
Pete: I asked him this, so single shot gun and he’s doing it and I’m doing it for fun and I mean, the sport of it. So, no doubt he’s doing it for subsistence.
Ramsey Russell: Any favorite meals?
Pete: One, everyone’s better than the next Ramsey. I think, we had a little bit of chimichurri sauce on some well done beef short ribs out on the barbecue outside right next to the patio and that’s some of the best that I’ve had. So I got to say everyone that comes out of that kitchen is better than the last.
Ramsey Russell: My favorite meals come off that grill, no matter what he puts on, that’s my favorite meals. They build a fire and just drag the wood coals underneath there and measure it and that’s just to me – when that truck pulls up and I see the grill going, I’m like, all right, good, I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s going to be meat and I’m going to try to give myself the meat sweats.
Pete: And it taunts you as soon as you’re sitting out there and the meat’s cooking right next to the side, it’s almost like a tease, you can’t wait for it.
Ramsey Russell: Speaking of sitting beside it, you show up by yourself, there’s a dozen people in camp from Australia, California, some industry guys here, have you noticed kind of how it’s like you just kind of fell in with your own little flock?
Pete: It’s camaraderie, man. We’re all here to do the same thing.
Ramsey Russell: It’s like, you’ve fit right in and everybody’s just fit right in together from day one, here we are.
Pete: Yeah, I’m the only one with the New York accent. But I think that we all get along and to talk to some of these industry guys and see what it’s all about beyond special.
Ramsey Russell: Well, that must have been kind of an interesting experience because as a hunter yourself, you’re accustomed to viewing the industry as a consumer but all of a sudden you’re sitting on the front porch here and all kinds of stuff being kick, we can’t talk about some of these top secret developments that been experimenting here. But that’s kind of impressive seeing how that stuff goes together, isn’t it? And then the marketing that goes behind it. I mean, you basically saw the whole gamut of it right here on the front porch while drinking a glass of bourbon or whatever you were drinking, I know you’ve had a few cold beers.
Pete: A little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Ramsey Russell: Pete, I appreciate you coming, I really do. I have enjoyed getting to know you, I’ve enjoyed hunting with you and sharing camp with you. And how would you describe this hunt to anybody when you get back home to your duck hunt, buddy? How did it go down there? What was it like? Just in a glance, what would you say in a sentence?
Pete: There’s a couple of things I’d say and I kind of talked about it a little bit earlier. Number one is, it’s heaven. If I die, this is where I’d like my future, my heaven to be, if I could do this for eternity that’s that. And second of all, I’m not going to tell them too much because I don’t want them to take my space for the next year.
Ramsey Russell: I’ve always said I want my ashes scattered in that marsh and this season has been no exception. It’s just something about the wildness in this day and age and Pete, I describe this location, not as a location on a map but as a location on a timeline. It’s what I imagine America, parts of America having looked like 150 years ago, is that fair? Do you think?
Pete: I think you couldn’t have said it any better.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Pete.
Pete: You got it.
Third Hunt’s a Charm
I just love the remoteness, the wild, the wilderness, it’s just pure duck hunting…
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Mark Sheridan back for 4th time?
Mark Sheridan: This is my 3rd time, Ramsey.
Ramsey Russell: Third time.
Mark Sheridan: Third time. Yeah, hopefully many more.
Ramsey Russell: You enjoy it down here.
Mark Sheridan: Love it.
Ramsey Russell: You’ve been to a couple of destinations in Mexico, what is it about Rio Salado that so appeals to you that you keep coming back?
Mark Sheridan: Ramsey, it’s the remoteness, it’s the wild, I mean, you get to Buenos Aires and you’re halfway here and I just love the remoteness, the wild, the wilderness, it’s just pure duck hunting for what I like as I think, what you can get.
Ramsey Russell: The first year you came was the driest in 10 years I’ve ever seen it and this is a very dynamic wetland, it’s 130 square mile base and some years are wetter than others. The first year you came, it was dry, it was tough, it was stressful, we had 2 clients that were unhappy, everybody else came back and you came back the following year and it was 180° different, it was Noah building Arc wet epic proportion wet. How would you compare the differences in the fluctuations in terms of ducks? I mean, it’s species volume. But you got a smile on your face all the years you’re down here.
Mark Sheridan: Yeah, I mean, you’re still in wild Argentina. You’re right, 2018 was a dry year. But the guides David, everyone here, they work their tail off that year for us because they had to because it was a tough year. And that just showed me these guys are dark hunters, they’re going to go the extra mile. And we shot a lot of teal and things like that in the first year, like you say 2019 was the heavens opened and wet year and I think I counted up, I shot 12 different species in 2019. And it was amazing to see just the difference in the amount of water, I mean, hell, we were walking from camp and hunting in the afternoon, we didn’t even have to drive.
Ramsey Russell: I can remember sitting here because I don’t hunt the afternoon, I can remember sitting right here in this rocking chair and looking up above the courtyard and seeing ducks trade over low enough to have pass shot.
Mark Sheridan: Absolutely. Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: Because we’re in the swamp.
Mark Sheridan: You are in the middle of it and it was great.
Ramsey Russell: Mark, you bring up a good point though and I’ve been coming down to Argentina for about 20 years and a lot of the operators down here, a lot of the operators that advertise, they’re in the hospitality business and we’ve talked about it this week, we sell experiences just not dead duck and we sell hunting experiences or at least I feel like that’s how we’ve crafted the brand to get duck and a lot of operators down here, they’re just selling lodging experiences or mill experiences because they’re not real hunters and everybody on the staff here they call, they decoy, they play the game, that’s been your experience, hadn’t it?
Mark Sheridan: They live and breathe it. I mean, all the bird boys they, I don’t know where they get their eyes but they see ducks.
Ramsey Russell: They see a lot better than I do.
Mark Sheridan: Not only do they see them but they’re calling the appropriate call for the duck, they know their species.
Ramsey Russell: My guy will start quacking like a teal and I’m still looking for the duck or he’ll start growling like a Rosy bill and they’re just my eyes like playing a hallucination ducks are so far away coming in.
Mark Sheridan: I mean, these boys here, we were talking with David on the way in and I think he started here when he was 17 years old.
Ramsey Russell: As grown man.
Mark Sheridan: And now he’s seen all aspects of it and he said, he started off they were hunting ducks to eat and they are true hunters.
Ramsey Russell: I wish he spoke English because I’ve had some conversations with him with translator Martha and he grew up poor and he actually, to feed, to eat like, his little gauchos out here, these little houses in the middle of nowhere out here, he actually started duck hunting with a slingshot, that’s pretty dang amazing. Homemade sling shot and he explained to me one time he would get the clay out here and ball it up by the side of a pinball and put it in his mother’s window sill and let it harden and that was his ammo. He go, he’d leave the house barefooted with a pocket full of little homemade ammo to go out and spot ducks.
Mark Sheridan: Yeah, that’s incredible. I mean, that shows what they’re made of and the hunting instinct that they have.
Ramsey Russell: You grew up in Australia, you live in British Columbia, did you duck hunt in Australia?
Mark Sheridan: I did, Ramsey, yeah. I grew up in South Australia and then moved down to the south east of South Australia, I believe you’ve probably hunted around the Robe area and Naracoorte and Padthaway and of course, went over into Victoria and hunted there and then moved over with my wife to British Columbia in 1999 and of course –
Ramsey Russell: You duck or goose hunt there?
Mark Sheridan: Duck and goose hunt there, yeah. Do a lot of goose hunting around Central BC, which is a little bit of a hidden gem actually and hunt there. And then of course, got to meet you and here we are third time.
Ramsey Russell: This is a very remote area, but Australia is remote too. And so for somebody that come from an area like Australia because I’ve hunted public land in Victoria and South Australia that the duck hunting is amazing compared to anywhere in North America and not be another living soul, but us on the place because it’s remote. But this is even a step way far beyond that, isn’t it?
Mark Sheridan: I mean, I remember that 2019 when we came in here and they had to cut a trail to get us in here in the vehicle –
Ramsey Russell: Because the road were under water.
Mark Sheridan: The roads, yeah, absolutely, the roads were gone. And when we were driving in the dark that night and it was a long way in because I had to cut those roads and you feel it, I mean, I’ve been in remote places, I hunt sheep and that in BC and being in remote places, but you feel it here and that’s the appeal to me.
Ramsey Russell: Do you see any – because British Columbia doesn’t have the hunting pressure, maybe that say the state of Mississippi has, do you see a lack of hunting pressure when you hunt these birds? Is it more pure here than it seems and even British Columbia?
Mark Sheridan: I think this is as pure as what you’re going to get. The appeal to me was I didn’t want to hunt baited birds Ramsey, I wanted wild birds and to me it does, I mean, each to their own, but to me, the wild, the remoteness, the variety, I mean, how we’ve hunted a different area each day and it’s never the same.
Waterfowl Hunters: Cut from the Same Cloth
We have conversations and neither one of us speak each other’s language, but we totally connect and have these conversations because we’re duck hunters, that’s crazy.
Ramsey Russell: Birds of a feather flock together. What about the people you’ve met all 3 years down here?
Mark Sheridan: I mean, well, become good friends with everybody and we’re already talking about it tonight, let’s get together, come back. But that’s duck hunting, isn’t it? That’s hunting in general Ramsey, we’re all cut from the same cloth and I can be in the blind with my bird boy and I don’t speak Spanish, but we speak the same language, we hunt. And again, that’s an experience that I like just as simple as that may sound –
Ramsey Russell: That’s a great point. I don’t speak Spanish, but in a duck blind, I don’t have to. We have conversations and neither one of us speak each other’s language, but we totally connect and have these conversations because we’re duck hunters, that’s crazy. Like this universal truth in just what we do and our relationship with this bird connects us at a level that we could talk without speaking words.
Mark Sheridan: And that gets back to when you were talking about, the experience. Yeah, I want to kill ducks, but I’m also looking for an experience because when I’m 85 and God willing and hunting ducks somewhere, I’m going to look back on these sort of things and yeah, I’m going to remember the ducks I shot. But I’m also going to remember the experience of being in that blind as that sun comes up and hearing those whistling ducks coming through early, that’s what I’m going to remember and this place gives us that.
Ramsey Russell: Since 2019, we were interrupted by the pandemic and I can remember talking to you during the whole caveman days of sheltered in place, we had done one of my Argentine outfitters of all people had sent me a kid rock born free and you texted me to say you had gone out to your vineyard and we’re sitting on the top of the mount watching the sunset with that song as loud as the speakers would go.
Mark Sheridan: Yeah, you got a good memory.
Ramsey Russell: I felt the same way. And that song has been in my head since I’ve been here because I’m here again, how did it feel just coming back here again?
Mark Sheridan: It was special. I mean, driving in here and seeing the kitchen staff there who are just unbelievable and it felt like, I don’t know Ramsey, but it kind of felt like two years of my life got parked and I want to get on with it because you don’t get a second go at life, you don’t get a second crack at it and I wanted to get on with it and make up for lost time, it felt great to be back.
Ramsey Russell: To me coming back to this little house in the middle of nowhere, it’s kind of like maybe if I’d not been at my grandmother’s house in forever and the minute with the truck stopped, we drove what hour and a half down that dirt road and the minute truck pulled up and we walked out and the staff were waiting on us and I walk up here in his courtyard, I’m like, holy cow, it felt kind of like home.
Mark Sheridan: Yeah. And then staff come out to welcome you and they treat you like, you’re coming home and it’s family. Again, that’s part of that whole experience, that is special to me.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Mark. Always good to see you, I’m going to see you in British Columbia this year.
Mark Sheridan: You’re going to come hunting with me in British Columbia for sure.
Favorite Parts of the Duck Hunt
Hunting the island, had Rosys come in banking, cutting in and I was able to shoot my first Rosy that morning.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you, sir. Mr. Justin from North Carolina, Justin, have you noticed we got what, a dozen people in camp from California to Long Island, from the Deep South to British Columbia. We’ve got all the major geographic regions covered, don’t we?
Justin: We do.
Ramsey Russell: And pull your mic just a little bit closer. We do, don’t we?
Justin: We do, got the southeast here.
Ramsey Russell: What did you expect coming to Rio Salado? First trip to Argentina, what did you expect and how has your expectations reconciled with reality?
Justin: Well, I expected to see a lot of ducks and a lot of beauty of the land and that’s what I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it and it’s beat my expectations by far, the beauty of this land is incredible.
Ramsey Russell: The times I’ve been out there to North Carolina. I’ve been in that duck camp circle you run around with, I’ve been in your hub and it’s like a lot of duck camps around the country. But did you expect to come out here and BFE Argentina and step into that social circle with complete strangers?
Justin: I did not.
Ramsey Russell: Isn’t that crazy? Why do you think it is?
Justin: I don’t know.
Ramsey Russell: What was your favorite part of the duck hunt? Justin?
Justin: I think just the beauty of the land and the fellowship of the guys.
Ramsey Russell: What was your favorite hunt?
Justin: Favorite hunt was probably Wednesday morning. Hunting the island, had Rosys come in banking, cutting in and I was able to shoot my first Rosy that morning.
Ramsey Russell: So that’s kind of the duck. Did you get it? I mean, because a duck is a duck, my favorite duck kind of sort of is really truly the next one of the decoys, but it’s something about the way those Rosys react.
Justin: It is. They’re very similar to a mallard back home just the way they cut down and decoy. And that’s something that I truly enjoy.
Ramsey Russell: Is that’s your favorite species, you’ve put your hands on down here?
Justin: The Rosy, yes.
Ramsey Russell: What about the silver teal?
Justin: I enjoy the silver teal too.
Ramsey Russell: They’re beautiful, aren’t they?
Justin: They are.
Ramsey Russell: Is it somewhere you’d come back or would you want to go see somewhere different?
Justin: Oh, I would definitely come back just for the beauty and the fellowship with the guys and enjoying the land altogether, that’s what it’s all about for me.
Ramsey Russell: How would you describe the food here?
Ramsey Russell: Look at you, started learning Spanish since you’ve been here.
Justin: I’m picking up.
Ramsey Russell: What about the attentiveness of your guide? Tell me about, coming from North Carolina to meeting an Argentine guide, you don’t speak Spanish except for excelente and I don’t even know if that’s a word, but I say it too and he doesn’t speak English, but how have you all gotten along out there?
Justin: Oh, man. What a guy? We’ve developed a friendship and he has really put me on the birds, he puts in the work, he scouts, if we need to move, we’ll move –
Ramsey Russell: Because you and Wesley this morning you all went out to a scouted area in the marsh and it wasn’t happening.
Justin: And we’re watching birds and we’re seeing what they’re doing and he’s going out and checking other areas and he’s asking us if we would like to move and we do, we want to move on those birds and take advantage of where the X is –
Ramsey Russell: Just like back home, you have to make an adjustment, just with the wind or the sun or just whatever going on in the brain size, brain of a duck, you sometimes got adjust, if it ain’t working, fix it.
Justin: Exactly. And we do that a lot back home. It’s moving and trying to find that X to kill six ducks back home.
Ramsey Russell: But here, it’s a little bit more, isn’t it?
Justin: Oh, my gosh, 40-50.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I really enjoyed seeing you and I appreciate you coming down here, it’s been great, we talked on the phone a little bit leading up to the hunt, but I love to get down here and meet folks and break bread with them and just sitting out here on this porch, the stories, I mean, just countless stories. The rest of my life, I’ve got story fodder for podcast forever, I mean, just on the stories I’ve heard in the last 4 or 5 days right here. What was it like? I got to ask this question because we had some guys from industry, we have some industry guys here, what was it like as an outsider just all of a sudden get to sit behind the curtain. Was it educational? Did you know that kind of stuff was going on or?
Justin: Yeah, it was educational, it was good to meet some new guys and come down here and hunt with them.
Ramsey Russell: I appreciate you, Justin and I will see you next time.
Justin: All right, thank you.
Enjoying a Bucket List Trip
Tough hunts make me a better hunter and a better human being.
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Brent Morlan. When did we book his trip, Brent back in 2019?
Brent Morlan: April of 2020, when we were shut down.
Ramsey Russell: Didn’t have nothing else to do, let’s plan an Argentina trip.
Brent Morlan: Well, I’ve been planning on calling you for a while but I just got busy with shows and stuff and then –
Ramsey Russell: That’s how we know each other, you’re an exhibitor at Dallas Safari Club, the top peacock bass fishing destination on earth. I’ve booked a trip, that’s my bucket list trip, I can’t wait to go there. We’ve talked a lot about that trip and in the last couple of weeks you’ve been here, it’s a very remote area.
Brent Morlan: Extremely remote. You’re 250-300 miles from any electric light bulb, we mostly fish in Indian reservations, very private water, very isolated.
Ramsey Russell: That’s in part what appeals to me about that experience. The Macaws, of course, the rod bending fish. But I mean, just the whole wildlife and being in that kind of area and that’s what appeals to me about Rio Salado. It’s not quite as remote, but I don’t know, as far flung a place to duck hunt on earth is right here.
Brent Morlan: I think it is. What happened was I used to come down here to Argentina, I think I’ve been here 18 times, I quit coming because it was the same thing and all that and then I was in the –
Ramsey Russell: What is the same thing?
Brent Morlan: Cookie cutter, feed the ducks, you know when they’re going to come in same old routine and over the years the hospitality and the ability for the staff and everything changed and then I was in the Amazon on the Reeve with a client of yours named Randy and we started talking and I told him my other passion is duck hunting. And he said, well, I’ve got a place that I know of, that is very remote, it is not baited fields and it is just the real thing, like whenever the old timers in the US and I said, well, tell me about it. So he did and I got to looking at it and then I started researching a little bit and everything and then I said, you know what, that’s what I want. I want the real deal to where wild ducks, multiple numbers, different species and just the very laid back and rustic atmosphere that you have, which is what I’m looking for because this is so remote when it takes 9 hours, 9.5 hours just to get to the lodge from Buenos Aires, that’s what I’m looking for.
Ramsey Russell: It ain’t for everybody either. But it is remote. Somebody asked me just this morning in the truck, we were driving over to a big lagoon to go shoot ducks and we got to talking about it and he asked me, what’s it like to shoot baited ducks, which it’s legal in parts of the world and in parts of the world that you don’t have so many hunters putting hunting pressure on ducks, they can afford that. But my answer is like, roofy and a girl to get in her pants, it ain’t hunting, it’s fun, but it ain’t, what’s the sport if there’s a guarantee?
Brent Morlan: There’s not a guarantee. One thing that I like about this place so much, I’m just going to take my experience last four days, I’ve been here for 2 weeks, but just the last four days I’ve shot 201 ducks in 4 days, 9 different species or it could be 8, I think it’s 9 though, where else in the world can you go do that on towards the real hunting? It’s not baited, it’s not, oh, yeah, we got this type of ducks coming in here and this type of ducks coming in here, you don’t know what it is and target what you want.
Ramsey Russell: It’s a dry year, this wild marsh, that’s the problem with it is, it’s like, I think of it like a wave, the wave comes in and crashes all that power on the beach and then it starts to draw back out and build up all that energy and in a dry year, this wetland is drawing up all that energy and it’ll be wet again probably next year and it’ll be ducks galore, habitat galore like you’ve never seen. But such a vast area, these guys don’t have drones, they don’t have airplanes, they don’t have access to Google hardly. But man, some of the areas you leave here and you go down 13 or 14 or 15 dirt roads 45 minutes or an hour here and there’s freaking water and there’s ducks and they found them. Tell me about, you had Pablo, who is a very good guide, but he’s also a very good hunter, he and his family hunt. Tell me what it was like, hunting with him and tell me what role he played in finding and the success that you spoke about joining down here?
Brent Morlan: What I liked about him was, he’s not a bird boy, he is a true hunter. And there’s a couple of mornings, we went out and we just kind of waited till the sun come up and said, okay, are you up to going a quarter of a mile where nobody else has been and set up there? And we did. So it was the real deal to where we were decoying them in there and multiple species to where he was a real guide and he knew what he was doing, how he was doing it and everything. After he hunted with me a few days, it got even easier because he knew my style and I knew his style and the language barrier wasn’t an issue because we got along together, we both knew how to hunt and liked it.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, that’s awesome. What was your favorite hunt? You’ve been here a while, I’m just saying, is there any moment, any shot, any morning that stuck out like, this morning for me not because of record number of birds, but I was shooting that 28 gauge and it was very familiar, we were in a part of the region that had good water and I was off in the Tules, be able to bugger getting there now, walking there and I know you got to do that one morning, but this morning was it because of Rosy Bills decoying, a lot of familiar species, familiar habitat and we walked in and it was like this little about the size of this house, just this little hole, it was chip shots and I just so enjoyed it, that just sticks out to me more than anything else.
Brent Morlan: My favorite hunt was a different place than what you’re talking about to where it was a nice sized hole in there, but the wind was blowing 35 miles an hour and I had to really just bear down because they were coming in just screaming with the wind and then against the wind, it was kind of like you had to pay attention to how you were shooting. The funny thing about it was they were coming in from all directions, which I didn’t understand, but I really enjoyed it because it made me bear down, appreciate how special this place is with all the different species in there that came in.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, getting back to it, anytime I feel like I’ve earned it, it just adds a whole other level. Tough hunts make me a better hunter and a better human being.
Brent Morlan: I came out of the field and you were over there by the vehicle and I said this was my favorite hunt, it made me work for it, which I wanted and with this place that you have here is so unique, it’s pretty much, what do you want? And that’s what we went after and I really enjoyed it because it made me bear down look hunt and the shooting was just spectacular.
Ramsey Russell: You’ve been down here a dozen and a half times, not to this particular place, but to Argentina, you told me the other morning, you quit coming because like you said, it was cookie cutter and you didn’t feel like they had your personal interest at heart. I tell people we don’t, not this lodge, not really any of our lodges is going to be on the cover of a magazine for its exquisite lodging or 5 star menu or wine list, it’s like it is Mississippi –
Brent Morlan: It is a 5 star menu.
Ramsey Russell: But if you came to Mississippi and we went out to eat lunch, you call me up on a Wednesday afternoon and say I’m passing through, let’s go grab lunch, I will suggest a restaurant where the blue plate special is meat loaf and mashed potatoes because that’s my kind of food. You know what I’m saying? And but how would you – I want to ask you because number one, you’re in the hospitality industry, number two, you’ve been here a lot, how would you describe the food and especially the household service around here?
The Delights of a Rio Salado Duck Camp
Beyond the ducks, you got a real taste of remote Gaucho living in Argentina.
Brent Morlan: Fantastic. They’re so attentive sometimes you’re kind of like, I’m good, you don’t need to ask where you’ve taken care of everything, the food is just fabulous. I’m to the point now to where it’s kind of like, oh, man, we got to eat again, but it’s so good, you sit down and it’s kind of like, okay, this is really good and we tried different things that, I have not had before that I like the matambre, really liked it.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I do too. And the beef short ribs, have you had those before?
Brent Morlan: I’ve had those before, but I think he hit it out of the park with those.
Ramsey Russell: And the matambre pork and the matambre beef, that’s two of my favorite. And I mean, it’s like somebody said, last night at the dinner table as we were eating pork in America, it probably goes to the grind pile, it probably doesn’t – I don’t know where I would buy something in the United States unless I went to like a Mexican grocery or something, Hispanic grocery, I don’t know where I’d find that cut of meat.
Brent Morlan: I don’t either, but I know that I’m going to look for it.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Brent, I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve got to spend a couple of good weeks together, we’ve ridden in the truck together a lot, we’ve had some long walk in to getting into the duck hole and out and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, I really have and I appreciate you coming down here. Do you think it’s the kind of place you’d ever come back?
Brent Morlan: I’ve already told you, I’m rebooking. As a matter of fact, I’ve been sending pictures to some of my friends and I’m afraid I got a half a group already just by pictures and because these guys, I want to go and they’re the type, they’re going to make it happen.
Ramsey Russell: Do you have a favorite species down here?
Brent Morlan: I do, the white cheek pintail.
Ramsey Russell: White cheek pintail, mine too. I love to shoot Rosy Bills, but I think the most beautiful bird maybe on earth is a white cheek pintail.
Brent Morlan: They just come in there like I’m the king and you’re looking and I’m like holy moly, look at that next thing you knew, you got them on the water.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Brent.
Brent Morlan: Thank you, sir.
Ramsey Russell: John Logan, wrapping up your last day in Argentina. Well, tomorrow morning you’re going to do a quick one and head back to Buenos Aires. But tell me about your experience. Tell me, what did you expect and what was it like?
John Logan: Well, it was awesome, man. We had an awesome time here this week. We had a little bit drier conditions than we expected, but it’s been awesome. We had to drive a little bit farther this year.
Ramsey Russell: That didn’t bother you, did it?
John Logan: No, it’s all right.
Ramsey Russell: You told me, I was worried now and because you never know somebody do you know them and you were telling me about your past duck season with your dad Jay, I’m like, yeah, I think you all can do better than that tomorrow. I mean, according to my calculations, my Mississippi State math, you killed about 10 years worth of last season this morning.
John Logan: Yeah, so I’m from South Georgia and wood ducks is pretty much all we got. And I love wood ducks, but you’re going to kill 3 a day and we only hunt our place a couple of times a year, so we killed about 12 every year. And it’s a damn good time, but the numbers are not what they are here. I think I killed, 70 this morning and it was awesome.
Ramsey Russell: I guess that was your favorite hunt?
John Logan: Yeah, that was probably my favorite one, the habitat over there was just really cool.
Ramsey Russell: Well, it’s deep enough water, you got to experience what the marsh is normally like in a wet year and that was it. And what was it normally like? I mean, getting off of them in Tules –
John Logan: Yeah, I mean, we were hunting in Tules and reeds that were 6ft, 7ft high, so it was over your head you could hide well, you could kind of break down the stuff in front of you and we were in this little channel and the shots I had this morning were under 15 yards and that’s why I was having such – that’s why I got so many today because I had 3, what they call scotch doubles, 2 with one shot.
Ramsey Russell: How many species this morning?
John Logan: I got 8 species, 9 if you count the pigeon.
Ramsey Russell: What species were your favorite?
John Logan: The silver teal is what’s been the primary species that we’ve killed here and they’re beautiful birds. But the white cheek pintail I think is my favorite one, it’s gorgeous.
Ramsey Russell: I think it’s a gorgeous bird. Did you get a chance to – I know I saw some Rosy Bill, did they give it up and do it? They come in there like Rosy Bill to do it?
John Logan: I didn’t have that. I caught a couple in pass shooting but my dad, that he had a couple and I saw Harrison too from across one of the ponds they worked like mallard and came right in just like they were supposed to.
Ramsey Russell: 4 to 3 I killed this morning, came in just and it’s like the ball was calling and he’d wait read them and he’d make up and they turn, I go and I just wait on to get right there in the kill zone. What about the food? What about the accommodations? I know they ain’t fancy, but what do you think about in the context of this remote location?
John Logan: The accommodations are all you need. I mean, there’s a cool spot to hang out with a fireplace and everybody’s got good spot to have some camaraderie and everything and the food’s been out of this world.
Ramsey Russell: Do you have a favorite meal? Anything we ate that stuck out?
John Logan: That dessert we had last night was awesome. Some kind of pear, it was poached in wine and some kind of homemade heavy cream and it was awesome. And then the lunch today was really cool because we were at the house –
Ramsey Russell: Talk about that, because me and you, you and dad crawled out into the marsh, we just go just right where that Ransack Gaucho dwelling.
John Logan: Yeah, it was cool. So, we got done with our hunt and then we went over to this, what by American standards would be the dilapidated farmhouse that’s nobody’s lived in for several years. But there was this Gaucho family that was, I believe was residing there. We’re not real sure, they’re kind of maybe being a little bit nomadic, so maybe they don’t live there all the time. But it was cool. They cook the steaks over an open fire, had some old gaucho dogs running around, a cool old horse and awesome saddle that had a sheep hide for padding and everything like that. So, it was a cool experience, cool stuff.
Ramsey Russell: It was kind of immersive. Beyond the ducks, you got a real taste of remote Gaucho living in Argentina.
John Logan: Yeah, this hunt is more than just a hunt, it’s more of an adventure than it is anything else. I mean, we’re 10 hours from Buenos Aires and you’re in a little Toyota Tacoma like truck coming here and the last half of the trip is down dirt roads that you’re bouncing around it. So, if you’re willing to put up with all that, it’s awesome, but it’s cool. I like to see the country and see stuff anyway, I’d like to drive and see everything.
Ramsey Russell: The benefit of having been here a pretty good while is, I’m usually in Bumpy Road, you can tell this afternoon I fell asleep for a good long while, kind of rocks me.
John Logan: You had a good seat up front.
Ramsey Russell: Char was hogging up on the floor. What other question would I ask you? What’s it like coming somewhere like this with your dad? Because you all hunt together back home, describe sharing an experience like this with your dad.
John Logan: Oh, it’s awesome. It means a lot. I mean, me and him have been hunting together ever since I was 2 or 3 years old and he’s the one that taught me to hunt and taught me to do everything and to be able to do this is together is it means the world.
Ramsey Russell: You limited out this morning, we had a big Gaucho lunch and rather than just hanging around here, by the fire you decide to go do something else, what did you do this afternoon?
John Logan: Yeah, me and some of the guys decided we were going to go after some parakeets. I think parakeets are kind of a nuisance species here, so it may sound a little bit odd to people back home that don’t know anything other than the parakeets in the Pet’s Mart. But we went over to – I think they’re building a new lodge over there and there’s a parakeet roost site back there and we had a good time.
Ramsey Russell: They’re the only bird in Argentina that the government still allows them to poison, because did you ever notice that old windmill, the whole thing is practically just a big colony of – they’ll get around wires, they’ll get around trees, they’ll get around houses and do all that kind of stuff and caused a lot of problems. And we went to a milo field a couple of weeks ago to shoot parakeets and pigeons, it was awesome and then the whole top of the head, that farmer’s crop were eating out and it was just gazillions of mostly parakeet. Well, I sure enjoyed meeting you, I sure enjoyed getting to know you and I appreciate you coming down, would you come back?
John Logan: Absolutely.
Ramsey Russell: Look forward to it. Jay Logan, tell me about your week at Rio Salado.
Jay Logan: This whole week has been a fantastic week for us. We flew in a day early, we brought our guns with us, we came on up here on Sunday and hunted for the last 4 days and we’ve had the opportunity to hunt a lot of places and this is by far the best we’ve had.
Ramsey Russell: In what regard, just duck numbers or the whole experience?
Jay Logan: The whole experience, duck numbers, seeing different habitat, seeing different animals in general other than ducks that you don’t see anywhere that I’ve never seen before. I mean, we’ve seen capybara, we’ve seen all sorts of interesting native wild animals like, types of rays look like, I’m not sure how you look like a big old ostrich out there in the middle of the pampas today and it was quite interesting to see all those and then the duck numbers, I mean, we’ve had tremendous numbers and we’ve had a lot of different variety that we don’t see back in the States.
Ramsey Russell: What’s your favorite species you’ve shot so far?
Jay Logan: I came down here wanting to shoot Rosy Bill just because that’s what it’s famous for. But I love shooting teal and that little silver teal is, it has been my favorite duck down here.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, a lot of people say that I know they’re beautiful for sure. This morning you did get to shoot a few Bosy Bills, like some real classic remnant type marsh and they behaved, didn’t they?
Jay Logan: They did. They came in well, I mean, I think I had a pair to come over, honestly, I don’t remember if I killed 2 or 3 this morning. But this was the first morning that I’ve actually killed my drake Rosy Bill and to see a pretty knob bill, pink bill duck.
Ramsey Russell: Did you know what it was before you shot.
Jay Logan: I did not. I actually thought it was not a Spoony Bill.
Ramsey Russell: I bet it must have been like and the cloud it doesn’t help it, but the females will growl, you kind of know what they are coming out through there. But you all had a lot of different species over where you all were.
Jay Logan: We were. I think I had 7 different species and John got 8 and it’s just a great variety of different types of ducks and fabulous to see and the numbers were outstanding. I mean, I’ve hunted in Mexico with John and on my own a number of years ago and we had good shoots down there, but they don’t compare to what I’ve had here this week.
Ramsey Russell: How about the food? What did you expect for the food and what was your food experience like in Argentina, especially here at lodge?
Jay Logan: Argentina being famous for beef, we’ve had a lot of beef and it’s all been excellent. We’ve also had a type of pork, the twitch muscle, matambre I mean, that was probably my favorite meal that we’ve had since we’ve been down here. I mean, it was just an excellent something you don’t get every day and it was an excellent meal.
Ramsey Russell: I tell everybody when we pull up for lunch and that grill is lit, it’s going to be something good and they eat every part of the pig and cow down here and I love it. But like today you made a comment today at lunch, they serve big old plate size ribeye out there at the Gaucho’s house, you said that was good as that fancy restaurant.
Jay Logan: That’s exactly right. That was one of the things that I wanted to do when I got to Buenos Aries go to that restaurant and it was an excellent meal. But that steak that David cooked in a grill in the backyard of a Gaucho’s house, I mean, it was as good as anything I’ve had.
Ramsey Russell: It’s real simple, they basically build a fire and then rake the hot coals up under and salt and pepper all they need. It’s like a homemade Montreal season and the salt and pepper and it’s perfect, it’s absolutely perfect, I love that. Well, tell me about that dessert we had the other night because I’ve heard you –
Jay Logan: I sat here at the table and they brought out those poached pears and red wine with that cream and I ate that thing down to the core and then I went back to my room and I googled up how to make that thing and when I get back home we’re going to take some pear trees and we’re going to fix some of that before we get back to Stewart County.
Ramsey Russell: Oh, gosh, Jay, I sure enjoy it, sorry about that your name is John, but you go by Jay. Jay, I appreciate you coming down here.
Jay Logan: I got one more thing I want to say.
Ramsey Russell: Please do.
Jay Logan: You all have done a great job taking care of us down here. I mean, from beginning to end, it’s been a great experience, so we’ve had a good time.
Ramsey Russell: Well, we’ve appreciate. That’s what we do. From beginning you dealt with Miss Anita and I wasn’t lying when I told you she was the brain of the operation.
Jay Logan: Well, she walked me through getting my gun down here and then Martha is taking care of us from the time we got into town and we’re going to leave tomorrow and she’s going to take care of us getting where we’re going next.
Ramsey Russell: Speaking of which, let me ask you a question because you did bring up a good point, you brought your gun, was it any harder than going to Canada or anywhere else?
Jay Logan: Well, I’ve never been to Canada but when I went to Mexico, they wouldn’t allow me to take it down there. And John being the lefty, I knew that we needed to have a gun that he could shoot while he was down here and I wanted to shoot my old shotgun that I’ve had for the last 20 years too. So, you got to do a little paperwork, you got to do a little lead work, but we had no problems going to the airport, we had no problems going through any of the checkpoint security at the airport. I mean, as long as you had your paperwork intact, it wasn’t an issue.
Ramsey Russell: Paperwork and protocol, a little bit of patience and it’s no problem. And especially your first time, your second time is a little more detailed, but your first time is easy as pie just takes a little time, that’s why we had to come in early, but then you got to go to a steakhouse.
Jay Logan: That’s correct. I mean, we got to do more than just go to a steakhouse, we got to walk around some nice section of Buenos Aires, we got to go to some famous sites in Buenos Aires and we came here to duck hunt but seeing the sights, I may not ever come back to Buenos Aires again, I don’t know but to be able to see those sites was something special too.
Ramsey Russell: What was it like sharing this experience with John?
Jay Logan: Now, you’re going to get me choked up talking about that.
Ramsey Russell: Don’t get choked up because you all been hunting together a long time, I just picked up on that the minute I met you, you all are thick as thieves, you are. I’ve always said and I know you’ve heard me say this, your best hunting buddies are the one you raise.
Jay Logan: That’s the truth.
Ramsey Russell: But it’s a great father, son experience.
Jay Logan: It is. I mean, it is top notch. We’ve done all the hunting and fishing that I’ve done was been with him since he’s been 3 years old, I guess first deer I killed with him, he was 3 years old and had a little stick in his hand. Pointing at the deer and poking him going bang and stuff like that.
Ramsey Russell: Now, here you are in Argentina fixing to go shoot some more stuff down here. Jay, we appreciate you, thank you.
Jay Logan: Thank you.
Ramsey Russell: Rio Salado is remotely located and prone to drought, but offers an opportunity to experience real wild Argentina duck hunting found nowhere else, but here, it’s the kind of place I still want my ashes scattered. Thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, we’ll see you next time.