For the ones who enjoy bird hunting. This article was originally published in Paula magazine in the April issue.
Alberto Regusci, founder of the Club de Tiro de Pluma, tells us about this passionate sport that each year brings numerous followers.
You have been hunting for more than 27 years, have you always specialized in bird hunting?
– Yes, I do bird hunting and sometimes I organize hunting expeditions in Africa.
Why did you decide to build your company as a club?
– The Club de Tiro de Pluma is very recent. It used to be a tourist ranch where guests stayed and we would go out hunting. It is now a club in order to attract more people and have more members. This makes people come more ofter. It is like a time share.
Where does your public come from?
– 95% of it is American. They come and stay one day in Montevideo. They stay at the Radisson or Belmont hotel and they later take a charter to the rancg. Instead of driving 4 hours they arrive in 45 minutes. Each plane charter costs between $1600 and $1800. The groups are of six to eight people. They hunt for 4 days, two and a half hours in the morning and in the afternoon. Some of them are couples where both are hunters, some others are friends who come as a group.
How much do these tourists spend?
– These are people with great lifestyles. You could estimate that between cartridges, permits, tips and services they spend from 500 to 800 dollars per day.
Do you go hunting with them?
– Yes, that is my golden rule. Not only I go with them, I organize everything and even check out the places where they are going to hunt. That is the secret: do the scouting even if it is more work than the hunting itself. It is the most important because it signifies success. There are millions of doves but there aren’t a lot of grouses. This is because in the prairies is now soy plantations and in other places where it was possible to hunt there is livestock.
Who brings the fire arms?
– Mostly, the hunters bring them, otherwise I can provide them..
Not only I go with them, I organize everything and even check out the places where they are going to hunt. That is the secret: do the scouting even if it is more work than the hunting itself. It is the most important because it signifies success.
I what area does the club operate?
– I have several places. I work with ranches in Soriano, and I also use the Four Seasons in Carmelo. For duck hunting we go to the Brazilian border and we stay at the Fortin de San Miguel.
How many birds are hunted per day?
– In one day you can hunt up to 8 thousand doves.
I should note that we are fighting a plague that causes damages that can cause 90 million dollars per year to the country. With grouses there is a limit of 10 per hunter per day. There are also regulations for ducks.
How long does it take to find 10 grouses?
– It takes half an hour to one hour and a half. There is one dog for two hunters and for that you can walk one hour and a half.
Tell us when the seasons for this type of hunting are.
– You can hunt doves all year round but in some periods you need a hunting reserve, an area that is authorized, this is from September to December. The grouses are hunted from May 1st to July 31. Duck hunting goes from May 1st to September 12, the same applies to large doves.
What advantages does Uruguay have?
– We have something valuable which is space. Uruguay has the same size as Scotland and we are only 3 million inhabitants. I have been hunting in England where the grouses would fall on the highways, that’s terrible! The hunt is a ceremony and this bothered us because there was no space. The same happens in Spain. On the other hand, here everything is wild, the birds are not bred, they are native. This is what attracts the tourists.
What plans do you have for the future?
– I am developing an elegant crested tinamou farm. If you are looking to hunt zebras you go to Africa and if you want to hunt an elegant crested tinamou you will have to come to Uruguay. It is a protected species and their hunt is prohibited, but if I can breed them and release them -like they do in Spain- the situation could change.
Article published in Paula magazine, April 2011.