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Where there still are hunts as in old times

Available in english

Disponible en Castellano

Disponível em português

By Pedro A. Suarez

Free hunter. Free modality. Free catch. Free quota. The paradise for any hunter.

Mathieu Jetten is a hunter of Dutch origin with venery experience in the Netherlands, France,

Belgium, South Africa, England, Poland, Spain, and other locations. It was this pilgrimage after

the hunt that took him to Uruguay in 2003.

First as a customer and later as a hunting ground partner, he started falling in love with these

unparalleled surroundings of beauty, freedom and authenticity.

Captivated by the authentic hunt, where cynegetic can be carried out in a natural, wild and

free way; in 2006 he became owner of the land and took control of the grounds naming it

“Rincón de los Matreros” (bandits); thus, also taking over the name that an ancient legend (or

story) from colonial times, used to define the area where the grounds and its “quasi-term” are

situated, since it takes up 2000 hectares of big game.

In his own words: Mathieu’s project would be to place Rincón de los Matreros among the most

recognized and appealing hunting grounds for worldwide hunters.


The setting of mountains and Atlantic shrub-like stunted native bushes is intact as centuries

ago. It is only ploughed by paths opened by animals and trails opened by man. But do not

think that neither the ones nor the others resemble the paths of our farms and pastures; in

reality they are only badly executed afforestation clearings opened through machete to allow

movement. There is no firm ground. In many stretches, the water – that is omnipresent in this

area up to the point that in the tops of the hills there are puddles, ponds and lakes which don’t

even dry up in summer – flood the whole way. Whether it is walking, horseback riding or in

the indispensable all-terrain vehicles; the hunter must be careful with the branches and thorns

of the “Coronillas” (native trees), as well as snakes and stumbles (that can easily happen in an

uneven and rocky natural sierra). In fact, the reserve’s 4x4 are for the most part without paint,

due to the scratches against the flora.

It is a place where the tradition and ethics of hunting emerge from every hunter’s interior. The

hunter must be courageous. Here there are no “fun” practices of those “comfy” hunts with

touches of “sports event” which are unfortunately more frequent in Europe. You wouldn’t

even be able to go hunting on horseback because the vegetation, in its deepest parts, doesn’t

let you walk through.

Apart from the hunting conditions, the place is majestic. The mountains develop endlessly

providing, from the tops the foothills, a view similar to what would be small Peaks of Europe.

Small because the highest top reaches some modest 300 meters. But the geographical relief is,

at scale, almost a mockup of what we see on the way down from Meseta to Asturias via Puerto

Pajares. There also is small game but that activity isn’t very requested by clients.

The excitement of the shooting in this natural environment is prosaic and different. It

resembles more the hunt for food than the trophy hunt. The satisfaction achieved is always

according to what has been described and as intense as the landscape.


Long before, Mathieu had gently invited us to visit the reserve. After telephone conversations

and e-mails, we agreed to go by at the end of March. Our visit coincided with the Brazilian

hunting party of Jocelito, Julio, Carlos and Paulo, excellent mates and better hunters.

We gained access to the hunting ranch after two kilometers of cross-country plus the prior

40 kilometers of path from the road; and this is how we found the lodge that Rincón de los

Matreros makes available and where it already seemed that there would be no more than

coarse nature.

The construction is made of masonry. The design is modern like a villa. The facilities are those

of a four-star hotel. The double bedrooms – of the same standard and comfort – have a

charming rustic and retro feel. Each one has a full bathroom of the same standard including

linen and toilet articles embroidered with the ground’s logo. The atmosphere is always air- conditioned. All rooms have windows with view to the nature. Even trophy sightings can

be made from the inside with binoculars or telescopes (also provided by the ranch). There

is a terrace for the sunsets and a swimming pool for the summer. The kitchen is excellent;

all meals are different unless the hunter prefers to repeat the typical "asado" (churrasco).

Permanently (meaning at any time), you can order something to eat and of course, to drink. In

this respect it should be pointed out that the stay is on a free food and beverage basis (soda

drinks, water, wine and whiskey), all included in the same rate.

For the companions, there is a library, WIFI, 42” screen for movies, pool, terrace and comfort.


To start with: the package is free. This is: the hunter chooses what to hunt, how to hunt

(stalking, on foot, on horseback, on four-wheel drive; with the moonlight, with bow and arrow,

however you want). The only condition imposed in advance is the company of the "baqueano"

(the guide) which is mandatory for security reasons. You must not forget that although it is of

a different kind, the hunter is in a real jungle. It is not a European mountain. This local guide

becomes, at Rincón de los Matreros, a companion more than a guardian, since it shares its

knowledge and experience with the hunter and always acts on a 1 x 1 basis. This is: one guide

for each hunter. The package is free to the extent that the hunter has free schedule: he hunts

when he wants and at the time he wants to. But even more: if we have said free, that means

that there are no quotas. The hunter has the authority to hunt the trophies, of the category

and in the number he wants.

As it could be no other way, the duration of this real South American Shikkar is also free. The

hunter may stay as many days as he wants: it’s just a matter of paying.

However, there are unique particularities of these circumstances that do not exist in European

or African reserves and to present them, would be too extensive for this article. The most

significant one is that no less than two and no more than four hunters are accepted at a time.

Each Hunter can be accompanied by a person who may help in the hunt or stay in the facilities.


On Friday morning when we got to the grounds, the others were already set from early on

and had bagged a great boar which they were slaughtering in the butcher's, preparing the

meat which goes to the corresponding cold store unit, and separating the trophies as well

as the skin. The aforementioned specimen, completely normal for the dimensions that are

usually bagged, as explained to us (and showed to us in numerous charts hung on the wall) by

Mathieu, weighed 150 kilos and measured a 17.5 and 18 cm mouth. He told us that between

18 and 22cm is normal, and that it is possible to find up to 24cm. Only once in the year 2010,

26 cm were bagged. Taxidermy had been ordered as an extra service for this trophy. It is also

possible to order the tanning of the leather, especially in the case of good leathers provided by

deer and stag and spectacular leather when the trophy is a bighorn sheep which will give us a

mouton with up to 10 cm of fluffy wool at the foot of our bed.

The group of hunters had decided to go in pairs. So Carlos and Jocelito left together and so did

Paulo and Julio. However, due to the grounds rules, they carried a single rifle and they had to

shoot one at a time.

While they were returning to eat, Mathieu himself took us out to stalk. We toured large part

of the reserve in the off-road and we went deer sighting - some were bands of doe and buck

fallow deer specimens- these in a size we always dream of in Spain- mouflons, bighorn sheep,

wild boar (in herds) and most interesting of all (both for new and different, as for the type of

sport hunting in the mountains), some boc specimens which there are called "goats".

We could see that goats present two varieties or forms of antlers. One is backward, curved and

slightly twisted; it is as if a truck would have crushed a Spanish wild goat’s horns. The other

variety has nearly horizontal outward gnarled spiral-shaped horns - these are the most similar

to the boc in the Balearic Islands.

But these were all known trophies; the most unusual was to sight (we saw only one) bighorn

sheep (this term was coined by the Spanish themselves to define everything that was wild

or native in the West Indies). The bighorn is a very elusive and feral sheep, smaller than a

diary sheep but sturdier and heavier. It has wide spiral horns as the American Ram. The good

specimens are really big and there is a variety (we could not find any though they are there),

which has four horns. We had to settle for a trophy hung on the wall.

While we were having lunch (whiskey, tapas, hors d'oeuvres, vegetable pie, lasagna, vintage

wine, dulce de leche for dessert and coffee- in that order), we were thinking that a hunting trip

to this site beyond the Atlantic, provides a possibility that, despite jogging our memory, we

could not remember exists anywhere else. We made the following count.

We can go back with a medal deer if we make the effort enough to get it. Then we add a

fallow deer, we could only catch with a great deal of luck in Spain. Since we are at it, we add

a Mouflon just to show to anyone. Within the known, we also add a boar of good mouth but

rarely seen body. And to round up, though being different and exotic we would have caught

them before and by themselves would already justify the journey, we add a bighorn sheep;

one of four horns, and an 80-90cm Axis deer.

Just to think: we thought (already towards the end of the meal) that someone who made a

single and unique hunt in his life, could show off as a hunter, just with the trophies collected in


After eating (early towards 1pm): nap until three o'clock.

After the nap, an outing looking forward to a good piggy until well into the night. We found

that the stands are made of masonry and not wood. Another aspect of the hunting level and

characteristics in this international lodge. Unfortunately, because the hunters quota allowed

had been exceeded, we could not shoot, but anyways, with the same excitement, we settled

in the comfortable stand with Laurino (the guide), Carlos and Jocelito, without rifle but armed

with heavy gauge with an Aspherical 70/300 loaded in the house.

As the afternoon passed by, we saw axis and fallow deer, boars and all sorts of animals. But

the old male trophy that we were expecting missed the appointment. However, this didn’t

prevent it from being an intense afternoon full of emotions for someone who has a true

feeling for hunting and knows how to appreciate nature. We saw countless specimens rooting

in and returned knowing something else about their behavior, besides, now knowing first

hand, the alert attitude of deer. And many things more – for illustrative purposes we can say

that the longed for specimen did not allow itself to be seen, but indulged itself (with a nerve)

by being perceivable several times and for long periods, all around the house.

After the wait, towards 9, (do not forget that in those latitudes it is autumn in March and it

darkens at seven), we returned for dinner and repeated the ritual from the appetizer onwards,

with the light of the fire, with tales of past hunts and plans for future hunts.

Paulo and Julio returned from their adventures with three goats and a sheep and agreed to

leave with the lighthouse to find the wild boar specimen, the final one. This author is not

attracted to this modality so we decided not to go. Instead we had an interview / chat /

conversation / soiree with Mathieu with a Gold Medal bottle of wine.

We learned that the animal population comprises about 250 deer that are hunted at age 5

to 7, 300 goats, 350 axis deer, about 300 fallow deer, the bighorn sheep and the four-horned

are not registered in a census since they are native. There are 700 wild boars. The ranch

consumes some 250 tons of corn a year. The season, the closed season, the hunting period (for

the experienced reader to dream) is free throughout the year regarding dates and quota for

hunting deer, wild boar, goat and bighorn sheep. Red deer and fallow deer can be hunted from

March until October (SIC) also without quota. In other words: between Uruguay and Spain, a

Spanish hunter can hunt all year round, when he feels like and almost without quota (almost

goes for Spain).

The daily price is $200 for the hunter and 150 for a companion. This price includes food,

drink, weapons, (shotguns, rifle and hunting bow) ammunition and something that is only

found in fine preserves for real hunters with ethics and status: if a customer sees a deformed

animal, the guide will authorize him to shoot it down without cost. If they do not wish to do

so, the guide will compulsorily shoot it. This extensive management and population control is

practiced throughout the year. Animals (and the country) are free of diseases. To preserve this

situation, it is forbidden to import live animals and food and breed improvements are always

made through frozen embryos exclusively. This enables all the catch to be effectively wild

since the only intervention (apart from health inspection) consists of a visit and methodical

veterinarian tour every 15 days. In the few cases of necessary contact, a hypodermic rifle is

used and most of the times, rather than capturing the animal, the first aim is to inject medicine

through a dart rifle.

The next day, at seven, the breakfast buffet table was already set. But each hunter gets up

when he wants as it was already said. We got up at seven o'clock to take photos of dawn in

such a majestic landscape, and we had breakfast just as plentifully as we had had lunch and

dinner. The others started appearing one at a time and before beginning the day we took

photos of the goats and the bighorn sheep from the previous night, since the butcher was

waiting to do the quartering.

In the early morning Paulo and Julio had returned from their excursion with the lantern, with

two others good boars; and these too came out in the photo.

An incredible deer saved its life because of the unprepared wallet of a hunter (we will not say

whose); and we saw the axis we could not shoot, but we would be proud to possess in our

collection. As the morning passed, came the farewells, the greetings and promises to return.

But now we know that next time we will ensure ourselves a hunters quota before we go.

Among gentlemen, in this exquisite, sporty and unforgettable way, a hunting day took place in

this site.

Once the hunt was finished, we understood perfectly why RINCON DE LOS MATREROS is

listed in the renowned (and referential) international hunting guide "Exciting Hunting and

Fishing Destinations" of editorial Magic Safari Lodge in its 2013 edition: as one of the most

representative hunting places in the world.



Mathieu Jetten es un cazador de origen holandés con experiencia venatoria en Holanda, Francia, Bélgica, Sudáfrica, Inglaterra, Polonia, España, y otros lugares más. Precisamente ese peregrinar tras la caza, lo llevó en 2003 hasta Uruguay.

Primero como cliente, y luego como socio de coto, fue enamorándose de ese entorno de belleza libertad y autenticidad sin parangón.

Subyugado por la caza auténtica, donde se puede practicar la cinegética de manera natural agreste y libre; en 2006 se hizo con la propiedad y control del coto que llamó “Rincón de los Matreros” (bandoleros); apropiándose también de esa manera, del nombre que una antigua leyenda (o historia), de la época colonial, utilizaba para definir la zona donde se enclava el coto y su “cuasi-término”. -Ya que ocupa 2.000 hectáreas de caza mayor-.

Según sus propias palabras: el proyecto de Mathieu sería situar a RINCÓN de los MATREROS entre los lugares de caza más reconocidos y apetecidos por los cazadores del mundo.


El paraje de sierras y monte natural achaparrado del estilo mata atlántica, está intacto como hace siglos. Sólo se ve surcado por las “pasadas” (sendas) y “picadas” (pasos) abiertos por los animales las primeras y por el hombre las segundas. . Pero no se crea el lector que ni las unas ni las otras se parecen a los caminos de nuestras fincas y dehesas; en realidad sólo son desmontes de forestación malabiertos con el machete para permitir el desplazamiento. No hay piso afirmado. En muchos tramos el agua, -que por estos lados es omnipresente a tal punto que en las cimas hay charcas pozas y lagunas, que no se secan nunca ni siquiera en verano.-, inunda por completo el recorrido. Tanto si es andando, montando a caballo, o en los imprescindibles todoterrenos; el cazador debe tener cuidado con las ramas y espinos de los “Coronillas” (árboles autóctonos), así como los ofidios y traspiés (muy fáciles de dar en una sierra natural quebrada y de piedra). De hecho, las furgonetas 4x4 del coto, están en su mayor parte sin pintura, a causa de los raspones contra la flora.

Es un sitio donde la tradición y ética de la caza afloran desde el interior de todo amante de la misma. El cazador debe ser aguerrido. Aquí no existen las prácticas “lúdicas” de esas cacerías “cómodas” y con visos de “evento deportivo” y “actividad social”, que lamentablemente, cada vez son más frecuentes en toda nuestra Europa. Ni siquiera se podrían realizar monterías ya que el monte, en su parte profunda, no permite andar.

Paralelamente a lo venatorio, el sitio por sí mismo es majestuoso. Las sierras se suceden en forma interminable proporcionando desde lo alto de cada estribación, una vista parecida a lo que serían unos pequeños Picos de Europa -Lo de pequeños va porque la cima más alta alcanza unos modestos 300 metros-. Pero el relieve geográfico es, a escala, casi una maqueta de lo que recordamos de tantas veces bajando hacia Asturias desde la Meseta por el puerto Pajares. También hay caza menor pero no es una actividad muy demandada por los clientes.

La emoción de los lances en este entorno natural es prosaica y diferente. Se parece más a la caza de sustento que a la búsqueda de trofeo. La satisfacción que se consigue es siempre acorde a lo descrito y tan intensa como el paisaje.


Desde tiempo antes Mathieu nos había invitado gentilmente a conocer el coto. Conversaciones telefónicas y e-mail mediantes, nos pusimos de acuerdo para acerarnos por allí a últimos de Marzo. Nuestra visita coincidía entonces con la partida de caza de los brasileños Jocelito Julio Carlos y Paulo. Excelentes compañeros y mejor cazadores.

Accedimos al coto mediante dos kilómetros de travesía campo a través, que se sumaron a los anteriores 40 kilómetros de camino desde la carretera; y así encontramos el lodgeque RINCÓN de los MATREROS pone a disposición donde ya parecía que no habría más que naturaleza bravía.

La construcción es de fábrica. El diseño es moderno tipo chalet. Las instalaciones son de hotel cuatro estrellas. Los dormitorios dobles, -del mismo nivel de confort y calidad­tienen un aire retro y rústico encantador. Cada uno con baño completo del mismo standing incluyendo elementos de toilette y toallas con el logo del coto bordados. El ambiente está siempre climatizado. Todos los ambientes y estancias tienen ventanales a la naturaleza. –Incluso se hacen avistamientos de trofeo desde el interior con prismáticos ó catalejo (que también provee el coto)-. Hay terraza para los atardeceres y piscina para el verano. La cocina es excelente; todas las comidas son diferentes salvoque el cazador prefiera repetir el típico “asado” (churrasco) autóctono. Permanentemente (léase: en cualquier momento) se puede ordenar algo de comer y por supuesto beber. En este punto conviene resaltar que la estancia es en régimen libre de alimento y bebida (refrescos agua vino wiskey) todo incluído en el mismo precio.

Para los acompañantes hay biblioteca, WI_FI, películas con pantalla de 42” piscina, terraza, y comfort.


Para comenzar: el paquete es libre. Es decir: el cazador elige qué cazar; cómo cazar (a rececho, a la huella, a pie, a caballo, en espera, buscando con el todo-terreno; a la luz de la luna; con arco; cómo quiera). La única condición impuesta de antemano, es la compañía del “baqueano” (el guía) que por razones de seguridad es preceptiva. –No hay que olvidar que aunque sea de otro tipo: el cazador está en una verdadera jungla. No en un monte europeo-. Este baqueano, se convierte, en RINCON de los MATREROS, más en un compañero que en un guarda; ya que comparte su saber y experiencia con el cazador y además siempre (siempre) actúa en régimen de 1x1 Es decir: 1 baqueano para cada 1 cazador. El paquete es libre hasta tal forma, que el cazador dispone de horario libre: caza cuando quiere y a la hora que quiere. Pero más aún: si hemos dicho libre; eso quiere decir que no hay cupos. El cazador dispone de la potestad de cazar los trofeos que quiera de la categoría que quiera y en número que quiera.