Sunday, October 7, 2012


Ron, Luiz and I enjoyed our three-day hunt in Uruguay at a lodge called Rincon de los Matreros.

            Here’s what happened on the first day of our adventure:
            In April I told Ron that I had no plans to hunt in the USA this year because the long (nine-plus hours) flight from Rio de Janeiro has become too hard on me. His immediate response was to make arrangements to visit me in Brazil in September. My immediate response to that—because I know my redneck friend would go bonkers if we just lounged on the beach for a week—was to plan a south-of-the-Equator hunt with my buddy.
            My first thoughts turned toward Argentina, but red stag season only runs from March through July, and my condition renders dove hunting out of the question (at least until we figure a way to wingshoot as a team with my adaptive gear). I had enjoyed a hog hunt in July 2011 at Rincon de los Matreros lodge in Uruguay, and decided another visit was in order.
            Ron arrived in Rio on September 9, and the next morning we were on our way to Uruguay. My aide Luiz Paier accompanied us on an adventure full of “firsts” for him: first time on an airplane, first international trip, first hunt.
            We began with a 2-hour flight to Porto Alegre (in southern Brazil) and had time for a sandwich before catching the 1-hour flight to Montevideo. Laurindo, the head guide at Rincon de los Matreros, greeted us and loaded our bags in his pickup. We then made the 3 1/2-hour drive north to the small town of Treinta y Tres (which means Thirty-Three) and the lodge. We got there around 8 p.m., had dinner with the owner, Mathieu Jetten, and hit the hay.
            Ron mounted my adaptive shooting gear on Mathieu’s .243 after breakfast the next morning, and we spent much of the day relaxing and catching up on conversation. We headed out at 3:30.
Rincon de los Matreros is a high-fence hunting operation that covers more than 3,000 acres of very hilly countryside, with 10 solidly built shooting houses distributed throughout the grounds. Each blind overlooks an automatic feeder that scatters corn to attract several types of deer as well as feral goats and hogs. I don’t try to kid myself into believing we’re hunting extremely wary, 100-percent-wild animals; however, it requires patience to wait for the right animal to show up, and skill to put one down with a well-placed shot. And I truly enjoy the time spent with friends in a rural setting.
After a bouncy, 20-minute ride we reached our blind. I sat by the left wall, Ron sat to my right, Luiz—video camera in hand—squeezed in on the other side of Ron, and Laurindo sat behind me. Our objective was to take eating-size hogs of 100 pounds or less.
Shortly after we settled in, the feeder clattered and spread some corn on the ground. “That’s like ringing the dinner bell,” Ron said as five porkers trotted into view.
“They’re all the right size,” Laurindo said. “Take the one you want.”
Easier said than done. A gang of young hogs behaves like a group of rambunctious schoolboys that crowd together, jostle one another and never stand still. When one finally strayed from the rest, Ron steadied the crosshairs and I inhaled on my trigger tube. And nothing happened!
The bumpy ride to the blind had nudged the trigger actuator out of alignment, but Ron quickly got it back on track. Just as quickly, though, the luckiest oinker in Uruguay rejoined his buddies and signed a new lease on life.
After a few more minutes, a different hog made the fatal mistake of drifting far enough away from the sheltering crowd to give us a clear shot. The pig went down and obviously wasn’t going to get back up; its continued thrashing, however, told us we hadn’t scored an instant kill.
Still toting the camera, Luiz followed Laurindo when he went down to dispatch the hog. Luiz was quite impressed when Laurindo nonchalantly pushed his knife into the hog’s throat, and jokingly called our guide “evil” and “cold blooded.”
“There’s a good chance that more chanchos will come in before dark,” Laurindo said. “What do you want to do?”
We all agreed to wait and see. Ron kept telling Luiz to go hide by the feeder with Laurindo’s knife so he could leap out and stab a pig. Soon Luiz had a new nickname: Blade.
An hour after our first shot, a dozen hogs tumbled out of the woods and restlessly milled around as they scarfed up corn. Ron turned on the scopecam, Luiz put the trigger tube in my mouth, and we watched for an opportunity. Patience paid off when 80 pounds of fresh pork put just enough distance between himself and his brethren by taking a few steps to our left. A head shot conjugated this one into past tense before it hit the ground.
The fallen hog twitched spasmodically, prompting Luiz to ask, “Is it dead?”
“No,” Ron said flatly. “Go finish it off with the knife.”

Enjoy the video:

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