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Estancia Getaway

Hunting Week

European Boar (Sus scrofa) were introduced into Argentina in 1906 when they were released onto an estancia in La Pampa province. Over the following hundred years boar – chancho or jabali in Spanish – spread through the country and particularly into Patagonia. Over the past years the population of wild boar on the estancia reached plague proportions. They uproot pastures, turn irrigated fields into mud baths, destroy the lawns and gardens and have seriously wounded dogs and even horses that have crossed them. As well as competing with the estancia's cattle for pasture, the wild boar also put pressure on native fauna.
The Boar Wars were declared in April of 2010, when we began riding out with the estancia's gauchos and horsemen and a rag-tag pack of hounds to draw the overgrown stream beds, the stands of cane and the mountain gorges that make up some of the estancia wilderness with the intention of culling some boar and dispersing others. The hound work has been challenging and the majority of boar have escaped but we have had so many exciting runs at speed across country in pursuit of chanchos, some weighing more than a hundred kilos, that we have decided to run a week of boar hunting for experienced riders in April 2011.

Those participating are guaranteed a unique way of seeing Patagonian countryside and wildlife, the thrill of flushing big and potentially dangerous animals and long runs across all kinds of going, riding as fast as the terrain allows. And we'll be eating wild boar, as well, either on the asado – Argentine barbeque - or as chorizo de jabali.

Though the itinerary will depend on the vagaries of our quarry, this is a rough outline of the week.

We will provide a transfer departing Bariloche airport at 2.00 pm. After lunch there will be an afternoon ride. Though this mainly allows you a chance to get to know your horse and to familiarise yourself with riding Argentine style, we'll still be drawing one of the covers near the estancia, You'll see how we hunt boar and the kind of country we are going to be riding over for the coming week. And there is every chance that we'll put up a pig even this close to the farm.

Over the following days we will be riding further afield, across the fifteen thousand acres of the estancia, and drawing covers that include river banks, deep gorges, overgrown stream beds, cane breaks, copses and open hillside.
Though we have a fair idea of where boar lie up it's down to the dogs to find and flush them. We have a mixed pack including Louisiana catahoula, bloodhound, Argentine dogo-greyhound crosses, and the ever valiant fox terrier, Jack.

The boar and especially big males are capable of running faster than a horse in short bursts, especially on rough ground and a typical run will usually be a series of dashes, often a kilometer or more in distance, between one cover and the next, with the chancho lying up to regain its breath before running again. This can lead to exceptional pursuits of six or seven kilometres across all kinds of terrain including steep slopes, scree fields, pastures, tangled woods, scrub land and water crossings. Over the longest distances the boar is almost certain to outrun us all and make his escape.

On one morning we'll set off to track big boar back to the Mallin – 'bog' – before enjoying a traditional open fire asado for lunch and a chance to siesta in the shade trees before continuing into the afternoon to hunt the furthest covers and coming back through stands of pine trees in the dusk to reach a grove of oak trees which can attract tens of boars at a time to gorge on the acorns.

Riding will be over all kinds of going and, when we find and pursue boar, as fast as is prudent for the country involved. Riders will be able to take their own line but will have to remain aware of the many pitfalls of fast riding in such challenging conditions, and must bear in mind at all times that big boar have long, sharp tusks, and that the males, especially, are aggressive and can do serious damage to a horse if they turn and attack.

Though the hunting is exciting and provides a reason to ride many kilometres every day and to reach some of the least visited corners of the estancia, pursuing boar is as much about the experience of riding in Patagonia as the chase. You will see guanaco, red deer, condor and many of Argentina's other mammal and bird species. Riders will also visit many of the highlights of the estancia rides including caves decorated with Telhueche/Mapuche Indian designs, the cliff-side condor ledges seen from above as the birds come in to roost and those places around the estancia where the gauchos are working cattle and you can join in cutting cattle out of the herd or trying your hand with a lasso.

Guests can fish the Aluminé river for big brown and rainbow trout from the estancia's kilometres of shore frontage, Though basic rods and equipment are available to borrow from the estancia, keen rods will prefer to bring their own kit. Local experience suggests 4 - 5 weight rods with floating line, whilst a selection of flies suitable for fishing in Montana works well; woolly worm, woolly bugger, pancora, matuka, adams, hare's ear and prince nymphs.

Accommodation is at the estancia, where the self-contained cabanas and the catering either in the main house dining room, or in the purpose built quincho a dining hall with an open fire, a brick oven and long veranda overlooking the garden, the swimming pool and the Jacuzzi, have all be praised by past guests.

Rates include all accommodation, food, beverages (including wine, beer and spirits), and activities. Transfers to and from Chapelco are included and there will be a transfer from Bariloche leaving the airport and returning.

There is a 25% single supplement; however anyone willing to share a room obviously does not have to pay the supplement.

Access to all the fishing on the Estancia is included in this rate. The cost of a professional fishing guide is US$300 per person per day or US$200 per person per day sharing a guide between 2 fishermen. This can include floating and wading.
There is also the possibility of stalking red deer stags.
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Estancia Getaway - San Martin
Tour Code: IT-ARRT04
8 days / 7 nights ~$3,570.00
Dates: Sept to April

Difficulty : Riding Level (Click for legend) Lodging: Standard
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Hunting Week
Tack: Chilean-type saddle with a sheepskin o...
Horses: Criollo crosses, bred on the Estancia....
Pace: Very flexible to rider's needs from 2 ...

Airport: Chapelco (CPC) San Martin or Bariloche (BRC)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
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Customer Trip Rating
What To Bring

Riding Level Explained
A Beginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
B Novice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
C Intermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
E Advanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handling a spirited horse in open country.
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