As the northern hemisphere’s winter starts to give way to spring, we enter a time of year when opportunities for those of a sporting bent get a bit thin on the ground as the hunting seasons close. Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvination, and the animals and birds that we love to hunt are given some time off to get on with the important business of breeding. But the world is a big place, and if you know where to look, there’s always something exciting to try. Here are a few suggestions for where to get your hunting or fishing fix in March
Ah, the land made famous by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Perhaps best known in the sporting world as the place to go to target huge trout, New Zealand is an under-acknowledged destination for hunting big game. The landscape, which starred so spectacularly in the Tolkien films, provides an equally amazing setting for a stalk, and, like the trout which have thrived in their new waters, the red deer clearly like it here - the stags can grow to world record sizes with racks like you wouldn’t believe. New Zealand is a long way from more-or-less everywhere, but these big boys make the trip a worthwhile one.
By March the salmon rivers of Scotland are usually running fast and cold with snowmelt and spring rains. For those who know about these things, there are few tougher tests in the world of fly fishing than landing a spring-run Atlantic Salmon or ‘springer’. There are fewer of them in the river, for one thing, but compared to the later-run fish, they’re reputed to put up twice the fight. The Scottish climate can be unforgiving too, and it is not uncommon to have to clear the ice from the rod rings before each cast. Happily, Scotland is renowned for its warm hospitality, and there’s no cold that a wee dram of whiskey (with just a drop of the local water in to ‘open’ the flavours) can’t fight off. If it is really cold, you could try a ‘Hot Toddy’ too, a dangerous concoction of whiskey, honey, lemon and spices that will thaw even the most frozen of toes, and the cold will be worthwhile if you can say you’ve managed to land a true Scottish Springer.
Perhaps the last place in the world where wingshooters can enjoy truly big-bag shooting. The doves around Cordoba number in the tens of millions, and it is not uncommon for individual guns to shoot 1000 birds in a day. The doves don’t migrate and to help protect crops there’s shooting all year-round. Couple that with Argentina’s amazing culture, gastronomy, and of course, wine, and you’ve got the makings of a first-rate sporting vacation.