Written By: Juan Mansilla, FlyWays
Orvis is a proud partner of select wingshooting lodges and outfitters across the country who share our passion for celebrating the adventure and wonder of nature. We created this series to highlight outstanding individuals who work hard to deliver the high-quality wingshooting experiences that clients have come to expect from Orvis-endorsed operations.
I’ve been bird hunting ever since I was a little boy, roaming the hills near Cordoba with my brothers and shooting doves with our slingshots. Those early experiences ultimately led me to begin working here at FlyWays as a loader and field assistant (a.k.a. “bird boy”) back in 2005. I immediately bonded with our amazing team, which is really like one big family. Not only does the lodge feel like our second home, but wingshooting is a very social sport–whether we are walking to find the birds or waiting for them in the same spot–so we get to spend a lot of time together.
I ended up doing that job for eight years, and during that time, I decided to learn English so that I could better communicate with my clients. It soon became an obsession, and I would practice every day. Eventually, one of our clients who had seen my keen interest in learning a new language, bought me an English dictionary. This was a big break for me, and I wore the pages out looking up words from my daily conversations, until the day when I didn’t need it so often anymore. Then another one of our clients invited me to come visit Corpus Cristi, Texas, and I spent a life-changing year up there. I had never been out of my own state before, let alone out of the country, so it was a great experience for me, and it all started with my dedication to the sport of wingshooting.
When I got back home, I learned that FlyWays had not only saved my job while I was away, but even better, had promoted me to host! Even though I was offered a steady job to continue working back in Texas, I chose to come back to Argentina. Hunting has always been my passion, and being in the field with everyone is fulfilling in ways that other jobs simply aren’t. I get to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world and different walks of life, and I’m constantly learning from their many stories. It’s also quite rewarding to watch our returning guests progress in their hunting skills between visits. There are so many things I love about this job, it would take me hours to write them all down. I am very lucky to be able to work with such great people in such a beautiful place.
Juan Mansilla is a host for FlyWays in Cordoba, Argentina.