Even though Austin and I did not harvest a red stag, we were very satisfied with our harvest of a water buffalo and blackbuck antelope.

Argentina Free Range Red Stag Report by John LaBanc


HUNTER: John LaBanc
TRIP TAKEN: Argentina Free Range Red Stag
CONSULTANT: Kyle Hanson, Outdoors International

March 10-17, 2023

Argentina Free Range Red Stag Report by John LaBanc

Our outfitter managed all the logistics, even a Gun Import Facilitator who walked you through the process of checking your rifle and ammunition at arrival and departure. The process is not difficult, but takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. There were drivers to take us from the airport to hotel and hotel to charter flight at arrival and departure.

The hunting lodge was simple, clean and relaxing.

Four local ladies prepared the meals, cleaned the rooms and did laundry each day. Each meal included meat and local vegetables. Nothing fancy and well prepared. This hunt took place during Lent and the ladies were accommodating to provide me non-meat offerings on Wednesday and Friday.

There was considerable rain prior to our arrival.

The water sources and food sources were plentiful which meant the red deer did not have to travel far to eat or drink. Consequently, the roar was delayed and there were only a few sightings of young free range stag. Alejandro sensed our anxiety of not seeing free range stag and only a few days left in the hunt. He offer the eight hunters in the lodge the option to go to a nearby property to hunt blackbuck antelope or to go into the high fence estate for a cull hunt or trophy stag hunt.

Six of the hunters opted to hunt blackbuck on the last full day of hunting.

All of us were able to harvest a blackbuck. On the last half day of hunting Alejandro offered a cull hunt on the high fence estate. I was impressed that Alejandro was able to ensure every hunter at the lodge had an opportunity to harvest an animal, even though the free range stag were not roaring or traveling. He turned a potentially disappointing hunting into a rewarding and satisfying hunt for all.

I was hunting with my son, Austin.

Austin has never hunted and this trip was to be his first hunt. We each had a guide. Austin was after free range red stag and I was after a water buffalo and free range red stag.

I decided to go for the water buffalo first since the roar had not started.

On the second day my guide, Roberto, got on the track of a small herd of buffalo. We spotted six buffalo with one old bull. Roberto maneuvered us to within 87 yards of an old bull. The wind was in our faces. I made the standing shot from GunStix with a Blaser R8 Pro Success 375 H&H magnum mounted with a Trijicon 1-8×28 scope loaded with a Barnes 300 grain TSX. The bull was quartered away. I placed the shot just behind the near-side shoulder and the bull dropped on the spot. Roberto called in the coordinates of the downed bull to the skinners. Within 30 minutes the skinners arrived, broke down the bull and we were headed. back to the lodge. We hunted the next three days and did not see a red stag.

Austin's first hunt. His first big game animal was a spectacular Free Range, Argentina blackbuck antelope.

On the fourth day we drove two hours to a hunting property to pursue blackbuck.

The area was rolling plains and a target rich environment. Three of us went out together to stalk the blackbuck. Within 30 minutes Austin’s guide, Lucas, spotted a small group of blackbuck. Austin and I stalked closer, crawling on hands and knees the last 30 yards to get into shooting position.

Austin set up in a kneeling position using the GunStix for support. He was shooting a Blaser R8 Pro Success 300 WSM mounted with a Nightforce NX8 2.5-20×50 scope loaded with a Choice 178 gr ELD-X. The buck was ranged at 187 yards. Austin calmly squeezed off the shot and the buck dropped where it stood. This was his first animal harvest ever, an ethical one shot kill.

I cannot put into words the pride I felt for Austin on his first animal harvest.

While we were taking our black buck the second hunter and his guide also took a blackbuck. It was now my turn. Roberto is a tracking machine. He spotted a group of blackbuck and the stalk was on. It took us three hours of spotting and stalking several groups in 90 degree heat before we could get set up for a shot.

My shot would be standing using the GunStix for support and shooting the Blaser R8 Pro Success Austin used. The Wind was not favorable and the black buck was look in our direction. The first range was 200 yards, then the buck began to walk away from us. lt stopped and looked back toward us at 300 yards. I squeezed off a shot when it was quartered away. It bolted to the left. I saw the head and horns as it ran 30 yards and disappeared from sight. We walked to the point where I shot it. Roberto thought he saw a buck about to crest a hill and we moved after it. Then, we stumbled on the blackbuck I shot. We drove back to the lodge.

Alejandro again offered to let the hunters go into the high fence estate to cull hunt a free range red stag that had jumped the fence into the estate and were harassing the trophy red stag. Austin and Lucas decided to hunt on the estate and I was happy to end my hunt with a water buffalo and blackbuck. Lucas called Alejandro to let him know they spotted a Mouflon sheep infested with maggots and asked permission to shoot it. Alejandro agreed and Austin took it shooting a 30-06 with 180 grain bullet provided by the outfitter. Austin was going home with a Blackbuck and Mouflon sheep. Not bad for a first time hunter.

Even though Austin and I did not harvest a red stag, we were very satisfied with our harvest of a water buffalo and blackbuck antelope.

Even though Austin and I did not harvest a red stag, we were very satisfied with our harvest of a water buffalo and blackbuck antelope.

Outfitter Evaluation

How would you rate your trip overall?

Alejandro, owner and operator, was the perfect host. He and his staff were responsive to the needs of the eight hunters in our group. They went above and beyond to be sure each hunter had a shot opportunity, even when the roar was delayed and the red stag were not moving. They even went out of their way to provide me non-meat meals on Wednesday and Friday of Lent.

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Consultant Evaluation

How would you rate your Consultant?

Kyle was hunting with us on this trip. He put together this group and perfectly matched our personalities and interests. We were strangers at first, but by the middle of the hunt were were like family.

Would you use Outdoors International again?


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