Dove hunting season is here!

For all of us who enjoy wing shooting as much or more than any other type of hunting, September 1st and the opening of dove hunting season in Texas is only 9 days away.  Hooray!  Even Rover seems to have a different tone in his bark, as he sees you cleaning out his portable kennel, and knows that he’ll finally be retrieving real birds again, instead of the plastic version.  So after a trip to your local sporting goods store to buy a case of shells, a new Yeti cooler, and stand in line for a license, head out to your local skeet or trap range to practice by powdering some clay targets.  Take your wife, son, daughter, or the whole family with you, and have a great time!  As many of you, I’m lucky to have a lovely wife who enjoys hunting, and shooting, so we have an enjoyable time together in the great outdoors … except when she shoots better.  

Here are a few tips to take with you to the field.  Good luck!

The concept of aiming is the one thing that every shooter must deal with to become a good shot.  The leading problem for inconsistent shooting is trying to get the gun ahead of the bird, and not looking at it.  Your job is to maintain focus on the target, not the gun, and adjust the gun’s speed to the bird’s speed as you merge the muzzle with the target.  When the gun’s speed is the same as the bird’s speed, the picture becomes stable, and the subconscious mind will adjust the lead, while you adjust the gun’s speed.  When you focus on seeing the target as you mount the gun, the muzzle is accepted in the picture.  By seeing the target behind the barrel first, you are no longer trying not to look at the barrel.  The gun is now ahead of the target, and you should be able to visualize seeing the target BEHIND the gun.  Stop worrying about the lead, and focus on smooth movements, as well as adjusting the gun’s speed to the bird’s speed.  HAPPY HUNTING!  Note:  If you are consistently missing birds, you are most likely shooting behind them.

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Visit us at Texas Trophy Hunters Association’s Extravaganza in Houston!

TTHA LogoBwana Mbogo and Twiga will be at TTHA’s Extravaganza in Houston at the Reliant Center on August 2-4th. Come visit with us at booth 558. We would love to chat and share some special hunting packages we have!

Friday 3:00pm –9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am –7:00pm
Sunday 10:00am –5:00pm

Ticket Prices:
$10 – Adults
$5 – Kids 13-17

  • FREE for Kids 12 and under
  • FREE Active Military With ID!
  • FREE TTHA Members on Friday
  • FREE TTHA Platinum Life Members all weekend.
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How to select an outfitter

The right outfitter/guide can be the difference between a great hunt or a horrible memory. There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure the best experience possible.

  1. First of all you need to start at least several months in advance but it would be best to start a year or two before your expected travel.
  2. Understand your own abilities and know your goals; are you an experienced hunter wanting a trophy class animal, or a respectable animal with a great memory? Are you in the physical conditioning to complete the hunt? Tracking the animal may require days worth of walking in hilly/rocky terrain.
  3. Will you be hunting with a group or will you be the only hunter? Can the outfitter handle a group? Group pricing is generally discounted from an individual hunter.
  4. Research for an outfitter that fits your abilities and goals by searching online, attending Safari Club International events, hunting events, and asking for recommendations from other hunters.
  5. Verify the outfitter’s credentials, licensing and experience.
  6. Ask the outfitter for references, including phone numbers and email.
  7. Communicate with several of the final prospective outfitters. Ask them:
    1. What range of trophy can you expect?
    2. What is the guide/ client ratio?
    3. What services are included in the cost; care of the trophies, equipment, food?
    4. What do you need to bring? Guns, clothing, shoes, special equipment. Most guides provide a list of recommended equipment.
    5. Will they assist with travel arrangements and sight seeing excursions at the country of destination?
    6. What paperwork and/or fees need to be paid at country of destination?
    7. Get a sense of the guide’s personality. Most of the people in the business are good guys, but personalities differ. Talk enough with them to get a sense of how well you fit.
    8. Stay in touch until the hunt. As an outfitter, one of the things we enjoy most in the off season is talking with perspective clients about their upcoming “trip of a lifetime.”
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SPECIAL: Mixed bird hunting package in Argentina before duck and partridge season ends!

Priority Safari Services is pleased to offer a special mixed bird hunting package in Argentina.  This is your last chance to hunt duck and partridge before the season ends in September, and while you’re there, shoot some dove too!


ducks 4The Package

Description: hunting duck, partridge and dove in Argentina

Accommodations: hunting ranch lodge

lodge lodge 6Travel: from the accommodation to the hunting site, and vice versa.

Full board: breakfast American style, lunch and dinner include appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Wines, beer, mineral water and soda accompanying meals are free during the hunting parties. Meals will be typical Argentine dishes and barbecued meats with drinks.

room breakfast bar sum_asadoHunting programs: 6 nights and 6 days of hunting $ 2750 per hunter.

The owner of the hunting camp will accompany the hunters during the entire hunting party and will provide personalized assistance.

The package in Argentina does NOT include:

  • Customs taxes for admission of fire arms to the country ($ 150 per gun)
  • Hunting license ($ 180 for 6 days).
  • Cartridges ($ 15 per box 25)
  • Gun renting ($ 40 per day)
  • Bird boys’ tips
  • Massage service, trips and excursions, if required.
  • If you are a U.S., Canadian or Australian citizen, you are now required to pre-pay your Argentina Entry Fee prior to departure for Buenos Aires.  The Entry Fee is valid for 10 years.  Please visit the Argentina Entry Payment Site to pre-pay the fee and print your receipt as proof of payment required for entry into Argentina.
  • Airfare from the Houston to the international airport of Buenos Aires (Ezeiza – Ministro Pistarini- EZE) and airfare/travel to the city closest to the hunting camp. (Depending on the timing of the trip and season, one of several hunting camps may be used for the best hunt in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Corrientes or Santiago del Estero)

Trip Advisor is showing airfare from IAH to EZE at $1331 with a stop for August31 to September 7.

It’s a lovely trip and experience! It’ll be spring weather, and you’ll be able to get away from the Texas heat! Take advantage of this great package. You really should go!!

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What happens after you have taken your animal

After you have taken an animal, your PH will ask you how you want to preserve the trophy. This is where you tell him what type of mount you want for your animal. He will then let the skinners in camp know this and they will do the initial prep of the trophy to keep them from spoiling in the short term (usually salting hides and cleaning the skulls). They will only save the parts that you tell them too, so it is a good idea to have some sort of a plan before you get to this point.

Trophy mounts vary!

Head or shoulder mounts are the most common trophy mounts used for large animals and the most favored. These type of mounts involve the head, sometimes including the shoulders, mounted on a plaque. With head or shoulder mounts, the animal can be posed several different ways, such as looking to the right or to the left, sneak, semi sneak or upright poses. Most taxidermists recommend turning the head to either side to display the trophy to its full potential and give the mount a more life like look. This will also depend on where on the wall it will be hanging to display it well. Having the ears either forward or back or one each way can change the look and attitude of a mount dramatically. Carnivorous animals may be posed with their mouths open and their teeth bared.

Zebra shoulder mount Gemsbok-Shoulder-Mount-

Full-body mounts involve preserving and mounting the entire animal. It is the ultimate choice for that once in a lifetime trophy! Mounted in a life like pose true to the species, a full body mount is an impressive sight where the animal will be displayed in a natural setting, complete with ground, rocks and branches. These trophy mounts run the gamut, from small animals such as squirrels to large animals such as bears and elephants. Along with large game and exotic animals, duck and game fish are preserved as full-body mounts as well.

lion full mount

Lesser Kudu Full Mount

  • According to Mike Baird of B & B Taxidermy in Houston, Texas, full-body mounts of large animals cost thousands of dollars. For example, a full body mount of an elephant costs upwards of $100,000 as of November 2010.

Sometimes the only trophy that can be salvaged from a kill is the animal’s antlers or horns. Antler or horn trophy mounts are used when the animal’s head is unusable, or if the hunt took place in another country, where bringing the head back would be problematic. This mount is also an option for hunters that choose to save money by having only a spectacular set of antlers mounted, rather than the whole head. Antler or horn trophy mounts are suitable for a variety of configurations, from wall plaque hangings to tabletop displays.

Cape European mount cape european mount

A hunter can also choose a rug mount. This is a normal choice used for those who don’t want a full body mount. It shows off the beautiful skin of zebras, bears and big cats.

lion rug mount zebra rug mount

Once your safari is done, another company will come and pick up (or your outfitter will deliver) your skulls, skins, hides, etc. This company will then go through a process called “dipping”. This encompasses several steps in which the skulls are boiled, dried and “dipped” in a solution to kill all bacteria. The hides are also “dipped” in a solution and then salted for a long period of time to kill any bacteria.

At this point, depending on the hunter’s decision, the “dipped” skulls, skins, hides are mounted by a local taxidermist or packed to be shipped to a taxidermist.

After the skulls, hides, etc. have been “dipped”, they will then be “packed”. This basically means they are wrapped in bubble wrap, put in thick plastic and then crated up for shipment to the final destination.  Your trophy/trophies will be packed up in their own crate.

If a local taxidermist is mounting your animal, once the animal is mounted, it will be wrapped in bubble wrap, covered and crated up for shipment to final destination.

Before you leave your safari camp, the outfitter will suggest a dip/ship or taxidermist for your use and give you contact information, or you may inform him/her of your own taxidermist. The dip/ship agent or taxidermist will keep you informed of the status of your animal and have you fill out export/import papers accordingly. Payment for the import/export fees and dip/ship and taxidermy fees are typically settled with the taxidermist and dip/ship agent.

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Scottish African

A true gillie!


Scottish African

Ghillie or gillie is a Scots term that refers to a man or a boy who acts as an attendant on a fishing, fly fishing, hunting, or deer stalking expedition, primarily in the Highlands or on a river such as the River Spey. A ghillie may also serve as a gamekeeper employed by a landowner to prevent poaching on his lands, control unwelcome natural predators such as fox or otter and monitor the health of the wildlife.

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Dove Hunting at Santa Candida Palace

Santa Candida

Santa Candida Palace is located near Concepcion del Uruguay, in the province of Entre Rios, in Argentina. Founded in 1847 on the banks of La China creek by Argentina’s first constitutional president, General Justo Jose de Urquiza, this palace is a sign of nineteenth-century splendor. General Urquiza called it Santa Candida in honor of his mother, Candida Garcia.

Because of the abundance of game, the elegance of the lodge, the quality of the services, and the professionalism of the staff, hunters will find in Santa Candida palace one of the best hunting destinations in Argentina.

Priority Safari Services would love to help you experience Argentina and Santa Candida! Contact us for more information.

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Dove Hunting in Argentina

I’m slightly biased about Argentina. Bwana Mbogo is slightly biased about Africa. And we live in Texas! So we’re a perfectly balanced hunting couple!

When Bwana Mbogo and I first started dating, we would only see each other on the weekends because of the distance between our homes. A few months after seeing each other every weekend, much to my surprise (remember I was clueless about hunting at that time), he informed me that he wouldn’t be coming to visit me the following weekend as it was the opening of dove season. He would be traveling to south Texas to spend the weekend shooting doves. I made note of it on my checklist: “Takes weekends to go dove hunting, but is considerate enough to give me advance notice. And apologized that he couldn’t invite me to go with him as he was a himself a guest at the lodge.” Bwana Mbogo ended up being a keeper, and I became a dove widow!

Then I became a huntress and widowhood ended! And because I’m a good wife, I expanded Bwana Mbogo’s dove hunting experience by giving him access to year round dove hunting in Argentina!

That’s right, dove hunting in Argentina is year round! However, the high season (January-March) is considered the best time to hunt doves, as that’s when the sunflower crop is available. There are no bag limits or seasonal restrictions, so the dover hunter will experience high volume non-stop shooting- over 1,500 rounds daily, making Argentina a paradise for the dove hunter!

Dove shooting

The climate in Argentina makes it ideal for dove hunting. The country is generally warm and dry year round, which makes it a popular and accessible destination during any month of the year.  As experienced dove hunters know, this particular weather is ideally suited as a habitat for millions of doves, making Argentina the mecca of the dove hunting industry.

Another factor that has contributed to the popularity of dove hunting in Argentina is the country’s agriculture. The region produces a number of crops that are attractive to doves, including grain crops like sunflower, corn, sorghum, peanuts and wheat. Another factor that contributes to the massive population of doves in the area is the local roosting cover. The combination of these two factors has created a population of birds in Argentina that are a dove hunting dream.

Dove Field

To add to the dream, to recover from the hunt, the hunter will be nourished with some of the award winning Argentine wine, an ‘asado’ (barbeque) with chicken, several cuts of grass-fed beef, sweetbreads, chori-pan, morcillas, and other select meats!


With all this in Bwana Mbogo’s future, he should be a happy hunter!

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Photographing the animal

As a novice huntress, most things hunting are new to me. I’m generally a curious person and want to understand why things are done certain ways. Additionally, since I don’t like surprises, I generally ask tons of questions so that I am prepared. On our recent African trip, it never occurred to me to consider the memorialization of the harvested animal (I was probably too focused, while preparing for the trip, on getting the actual animal and not about what happens after I got it!). It’s a very important aspect of the hunt. As a huntress who took her first animal, and as a visual person, the photograph taken will always bring back the excitement and memories of that day. (The mounted trophy, when it is placed in the soon-to-be-trophy room, will also be a reminder!) Additionally, there’s an etiquette in how the harvested animal is photographed!

With the gemsbok I took on my first day, because of where the first shot struck the animal, by the time we reached where it fell, there was quite a bit of blood. Hunters understand that there is blood involved in hunting, but when showing off my first trophy photo, I had to consider that I would be showing it to non hunters or those more sensitive to blood than I.Bloody GemsbokI know a few that would object to seeing the photo above! Therefore, cleaning up the blood on the animal, or positioning the animal so that one doesn’t see the blood is preferred.

Cleaning up the surrounding area so as not to obstruct or detract from the viewing of the animal is also important, especially if the animal drops in thick brush or in deep water!

Making sure the bakkie and other non-native items are not in the photo is also advised! When I show my photo of my trophy animal, I want to make it appear that I was out in the middle of nowhere, far, far away from civilization! The photo should emphasize the animal, and not on the cell tower or suped-up bakkie!

Tucking the legs and positioning the head so that the animal is sitting in as normal position as possible will make the trophy photograph look normal and live. With my first gemsbok, and the impala, the trackers moved the animal so that it was away from any brush, and they tucked in the legs and propped the head. With the gemsbok, we had a hard time keeping the head up, so I had to hold it up by the horns in the photos. Holding the gemsbokIn hindsight, we probably should have made a mound of dirt under the head to help prop it up.

Also make sure to include the whole body of the animal. If you are going to memorialize the animal with a photograph, include the entire animal and not just the head and horn!

A good way to show off the antlers/horns is to use the sky as a backdrop.The horns emphasized by the sky!Take the photo from the ground to get this perspective, unless the animal is placed on a natural ledge of course! PH setting up the photograph

Include the rifle or bow used to harvest the animal. Make sure it’s unloaded and not pointed at anyone!

If wearing hats, and removing the hat would disclose hat hair, make sure that your face is visible and not shadowed.

Include the PH and tracker in your photos. They worked very hard to get you your trophy and should be recognized for it by being memorialized in your photo.
Gemsbok and tracker
Our tracker, Evans, was so proud to be included in my first animal’s photo, he repositioned his cap to look cool!

The photograph should represent the wonderful experience you’ve just had!

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High Caliber Gun Show

We will be at the High Caliber Gun Show on July 13& 14 at the Reliant Center, as well as on July 20&21 at the George R Brown Convention Center, both in Houston, TX.

Please stop by and say Hi! We will have something special for you if you mention you saw this post!

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