Patagonia Pause

Brian Grossenbacher,
By Brian Grossenbacher

A few years ago writer Reid Bryant and I spent a week in Patagonia chasing valley quail through the foothills of the Andes. It was a reunion of sorts; my friends Rance Rathie and Travis Smith, owners of Patagonia River Guides, had invited us to stay with them in Trevelin, and mutual friend Agustin “Augie” Bustos had come over from Buenos Aires to run his pointers. For years I’d heard that the quail opportunities there were special, but what we found was beyond compare: coveys comprised of hundreds of birds, untracked landscapes that spanned the horizons, and all the flavor that makes Argentina hard to leave and easy to return to. It was a wonderful trip.

One afternoon we worked up one side of a river bottom without a point. Augie had run his dogs in that valley a few days before and found birds in huge numbers. We gained a little rise and got a vantage point. The whole world seemed to open up in front of us, and Augie blew his quail call. Somewhere in all that space a thin, high call answered back. We all just stood there for a minute, taking in the beauty and knowing that good things were soon to come.

I am a traveler. I spend my days in motion, and I’ve walked thousands of miles chasing people and dogs and birds, hoping to catch the moments where they intersect. It is rare for me to pause and take a good long look at the world around me. When I do, I am always amazed at what I see.

As I write this, times are tough and there is a lot of uncertainty. But when I look at this picture, I am reminded that it is OK to pause and look around. There are good things to come. They may be hard to pinpoint and hard to see, but I am quite sure that they are there.

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Shooting Sportsman Magazine, July/August 2020

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