Carmelo Four Seasons

There is a place which combines truly the highest volume in dove shooting with the highest standard of luxury — outfitter River Plate Wingshooting's program based from the lovely Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Carmelo, Uruguay.

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By sheer hunter's luck, the international luxury chain has a stunning resort and casino right on the edge of the huge Mendez/Carmelo dove roost, which ranks beside Cordoba, Entre Rios and Salta, Argentina as a top South American destination for volume gunning — 1000 to 2000 rounds a day is the norm. Huge fields of sorghum and sunflower, eucalyptus woods and rocky rolling hills offer every type of target and shot imaginable.

The Mercedes/Carmelo region of southwestern Uruguay offers untold thousands of acres of cereal grain production interspersed with grassy rolling hills and thick woods providing nesting and roosting cover. These elements combine to nurture a population of eared doves said to be in the tens of millions.

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Days usually begin around 8 a.m. with a short drive (average 15 minutes) to the field, followed by a morning of hot-barreled gunning. Shooters are positioned along the most productive flight lines, and each is assisted by an experienced bird boy who diligently keeps cartridges and cool drinks close at hand. Lunch is usually taken back at the Four Seasons dining room or by the pool, then its back to the field for an afternoon shoot. The trips take place October through March (Uruguay's spring and summer), so the days are long and many times the hunters are "done in" before the birds stop flying.

Of course, you are staying at the Four Seasons Resort, so if you are exhausted from the shooting, you can always regain your strength by a dip in the pool, on the golf course or by a massage in the hotel's Pan-Asian spa.

The Carmelo Four Seasons is one of the stars in the renowned four Seasons worldwide chain of luxury resorts — offering of course, elegance, fine dining, golf, pool, spa and health activities, and most of all, the graceful service and personal attention for which these resorts are famous.

Guests stay in one of only forty-four beautifully decorated bungalows or bi-level suites, each with king bed, spacious seating area, private terrace, Jacuzzi tub, indoor and outdoor shower, espresso machine, satellite television, CD player and internet connections. The rooms are large — 900 to 1200 square feet — and they are decorated in a mixture of Asian and Western style.

The resort itself is located on the edge of a pine wood forest along the banks of the Rio de la Plata, one of the world's widest rivers — nearly 50 miles wide at its mouth a few miles downstream. Vineyards dot the landscape, and the charming town of Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage historical site, is one hour away.