Paloma Pachanga - Hondo, TX | Bird Hunting DestinationJan 20, 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen: This is much more than a hunting destination. You may want to add the Paloma Pachanga ranch to your travel bucket list. We had an absolute blast here in South Texas!
This ranch is located about an hour west of San Antonio, in Hondo, Texas. It is operated by a company called Venatura Excursions. Any opportunity to get away from a January in Minnesota is worth serious consideration. When the time was right, our tickets were booked with no hesitation. In no time we were en route and beyond stoked for a week of Texas bird hunting. We had heard great things, but now was the time to get the full Venatura Excursions experience. Upon arrival we were greeted by their head hunting guide, Michael who swiftly got us all settled in. Michael would act as our liaison for the remainder of the trip, and the many adventures to come.
Bright and early the next morning, we met up with Michael who was locked and loaded with a checklist of what activities our stay would consist of. The first of which was a classic South Texas dove hunt. The name Paloma Pochanga literally translates to "Dove Party" so this was the obvious first choice. It did not disappoint. We witnessed hundreds of lively doves in the distance. In Michael's expert words: "They'll be coming!" For about an hour we stood in the shade and had a dove party with our group harvesting about fifteen birds. This was a fantastic experience and very different from your typical Midwest upland hunting. Texas has long been known for its fantastic dove hunting, and we can't wait to come back for some more action!
With dove hunting crossed off the list, we skipped over to their beautiful five-stand located at the back of the property hoping to bust some clays. It's not often you will find a hunting destination that is as all-inclusive as Paloma Pachanga. The option to get some practice in on the five-stand before hitting the field is a very unique feature of this destination. We got to shoot classic five-stand with nine different remote clay throwers. We also did some unconventional shooting with a trick-shot competition in typical Gould Brothers fashion. In fact, while we were at the five stand we filmed a field test with the Franchi Affinity 3 12-gauge shotgun. You can watch that whole video by clicking (HERE) (Below: Back-Side of the Beautiful 5 Stand)
When you're out having fun in the sun all day it's easy to forget to eat! Luckily, Paloma Pachanga provides every party with its very own personal chef to make sure you're fueled up for the next adventure. We cannot emphasize enough how impressive our food was. We experienced three incredible meals a day cooked up by Chef Rick. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were always a treat to look forward to. Below are just a couple of the amazing dishes by Chef Rick (Also pictured) that we had the honor of experiencing. Fun fact: Chef Rick was a state record holder in high school track and field! He says this was before he found his passion for good food!
After a hardy lunch, we headed out to our first of two mixed-bag upland field hunts. We loaded up the side by side with guns, ammo, and last but not least, the dogs. Our guide Michael has an admirable passion and talent for working with his hunting dogs. He ended up running five dogs all by himself and created an excellent experience for us as we chased after quail, dove, chukar, and pheasant in the field. This first hunt was a pointing-dog style hunt. The most impressive part of this hunt was how Michael orchestrated his dogs to create a positive and successful hunt. If one dog got on point, the other pointers would follow suit and not interrupt that dog's point. Likewise, the flushing dogs would sit and wait patiently for the "Get em up" command from Michael, at which point the flushing dogs would rush in, and get the birds up. (Below: A Fan Favorite Flusher, "Rocket")
The next hunt we went on was a high-energy flushing-style hunt. This was perhaps the most exciting hunt due to the tempo and speed at which we had to move at. This took place in a large field. It was a flat area but had heavy cover throughout. We began at the south end of the field and moved straight north on a designated foot trail. The only preparation spoken over this hunt was "Be ready" as the field was heavily populated with pheasant, chukar, and quail ready to fly at a moment's notice. To begin, Michael sent out an army of dogs ahead of us. At his word, they started working the thicket in a zig-zag formation moving perpendicular to us to cover the whole width of the field. Like a well-orchestrated symphony, Michael kept the dogs about ten yards ahead of us so that when a bird flushed, everyone had a good shot opportunity at it within a very casual and easy proximity. We had never experienced a hunt quite like this. It was very enjoyable, and we would highly recommend it.
In fact, we would highly recommend the whole Paloma Pachanga experience to anyone looking for a unique destination. We were attended to with great care and had opportunities to try out many different experiences that you wouldn't often get in just one location. We would like to thank Michael, and the Venatura Excursions team for having us out! This is a fantastic destination that we know you're going to want to check out!
Remember, whether in the field or in life, to LIVE Target Focused
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