Bolivia is the world’s new mecca for high-volume dove hunting. Fifteen to twenty million eared doves (Zenaida Auriculata) migrate from Brazil each April to feed on central Bolivia’s literally millions of acres of sorghum, sunflowers and soybeans. They stay until November, offering bird hunting in feeding flights that can only be described as astonishing. Our hunters here routinely expend 60-80-100 boxes a day on shoots in a great variety of settings. Many of our returning guests compare Bolivia to Mexico in its heyday, but with vastly, vastly more birds. Santa Cruz, a surprisingly international and sophisticated city of 1.2 million, is our jump-off point, easily reached in six hours from Miami.
A two-hour private charter flight from the shooting area brings anglers from “high volume shooting” to spectacular “high volume fishing” at Caño Negro Lodge for peacock bass, payara, pacu and other hard-fighting jungle species.
We have a fantastic outfitter for our dove trips in Bolivia. Jorge Molina can be accurately described as “the dean of dove shooting” first in Colombia and for many years now in Bolivia. Jorge and his adult sons, Jorge Jr. and Felipe, have hosted many thousands of American shooters over the last twenty years and their two beautiful and charming lodges, fabulous food presentation and service are really unmatched anywhere else in the South American continent. Recently returning clients have described their Los Guaduales Lodge as “nicer than a Four Seasons Hotel.”
Bolivia’s eared dove—like doves worldwide—offer fast and challenging shooting. The difference here is their monumental numbers. On a typical day, hunters arrive at harvested or standing grain fields and attack doves as they leave the roost in small flocks–by the thousands. The intense action lasts two-three hours, then hunters take the short return drive to the lodge for cocktails, a lavish lunch and a long nap, returning to the field mid-afternoon to witness the awesome spectacle of the doves returning to roost until late in the afternoon. Each hunter is provided with a young man who assists with shells and drinks, keeps the area around the shooter picked up, serves as a loader if requested and of course, picks up fallen doves.
The Molinas have private access to many of the area’s finest dove shooting farms and roosting areas, and they take particular pride in offering a variety of bird shooting styles and options. And there are no long drives to the shooting areas, rarely do they require more than 30 minutes travel.
The Molinas offer guests two lovely lodging options—their original Bolivian-tropical-style lodge, Las Palomas, or their stylish new addition, Los Guaduales lodge and spa. Both offer well-appointed suites and guestrooms with private baths, a massage room, a beautiful pool and adjacent palapa bar, Jacuzzi, satellite television, internet access, and any and all amenities that make for a wonderfully luxurious stay. The lodges are a 30-minute private air charter flight from the Santa Cruz airport.
Perhaps the most renowned feature of these facilities is their exquisite dining, supervised by Chef Karin Piper. Chef Piper (who also goes by Mrs. Molina) serves amazing international cuisine from around the world and made-from-scratch desserts.
Las Palomas Lodge: 3 DAYS – $2239 / 4 DAYS – $2879
Los Guaduales Lodge: 3 DAYS – $2699 / 4 DAYS – $3399
Three-day minimum, single occupancy. An example of a three day sequence is: afternoon of shooting on day of arrival, shoot two full days, then again the
departure morning, returning to Santa Cruz after lunch.
Fishing-Shooting Combo: 3 DAYS FISHING/3 DAYS SHOOTING – $5595 (air charter to fishing area included). This sequence is: fly to the fishing lodge, fish the arrival afternoon, then two full days, then again the departure morning, then fly to the shooting lodge after lunch, arrive and shoot that afternoon, then two full days, then again the departure morning, returning to Santa Cruz after lunch, via ground transfer.
Included: All meals in the shooting/fishing areas, accommodations, airport transfers, soft drinks, local liquors, beer and wine, laundry service, shotgun cleaning, guides, boats, all local permits, and the round-trip air charter to and from the fishing area.
Not included: Commercial air travel, airport taxes (approx. $25), Bolivian visa (currently $160), shells at $14/box for 12 and 20 gauge, $15/box for 28 gauge and $16/box for .410 gauge (subject to change), gun rental ($65/day), gratuities to bird boys and lodge staff or fishing guides and fishing camp staff, lures and tackle, items of a personal nature (such as phone calls), and hotel or meals in Santa Cruz (as required by itinerary).
Prime Time – Dove Shooting: May through October / Fishing: mid-July through October
Travel to Santa Cruz is easy. American Airlines has daily one-stop overnight flights from Miami each evening, arriving Santa Cruz the next morning. COPA and United Airlines have one-stop flight service from Houston and Miami. Flights back to Miami usually operate early morning or late evening. A departure tax of approximately $25.00 is assessed upon departing Santa Cruz. We strongly suggest that you allow plenty of time between flights to make your connections.
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