Awhile back I posted on my recent deer hunting trip to Mexico. I hunted out in Sonora—mule deer and Coues country—and while I was anxious with the travel (especially with a rifle and ammo) I made it okay and enjoyed hunting in the desert for a week.
With all you see and read about the crime and chaos on our southern border, the major points of that post were: Is it safe to hunt in Mexico in 2014? Would I recommend you hunt there? I blogged: Do not even think about crossing the border from El Paso east to Laredo, Texas, where the whitetail hunting was once so fine… Just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, American hunters (years ago when it was safer) had huge leases, and on those ranches they shot trophy whitetails, notably huge, wide-racked 10- and 12-point typicals.
Lots of you responded, and to a man everybody said something to the extent: Hell no, no Mexico for me amigo!
With one exception. Wren, who has been on the blog for years now, and who has become one of my go-to sources for hunting in South Texas, sent this:
Mike: Call me one of the real dumb gringos I guess. Have friends who own a fantastic 7,000 acre ranch named Rancho Los Apaches in Coahuila roughly 40 miles northwest of Laredo right along the Rio Grande, which we have hunted for the last 10 years.
There are great quality rifles with optics available at the ranch so it is not necessary to go thru the hassle of temporary importation of firearms.
I make the drive from Houston to Los Apaches in roughly 6-7 hours. We drive ourselves to the ranch on the way in – we cross over using the Colombia Bridge for several reasons, mainly because it keeps us from having to drive thru the city of Nuevo Laredo – but the owners will meet hunters on the US side of the border and drive ahead of you to the ranch if requested. You don’t have to worry about obtaining licenses or doing the paperwork to bring your trophy and cape back across the border – it is all taken care of for you.
There is the occasional issue with the Agricultural inspection and interpretation of the rules regarding the dipping, freezing and treatment of the capes; I have had a cape confiscated due to the presence of one dead tick on the hide. Honestly, it is the only issue I have ever encountered while hunting at Los Apaches.
To date we have never experienced anything remotely approaching a threatening or unsafe incident. We time our arrival in Laredo to eat an early lunch, then we cross over and make the drive to Los Apaches in time to select a rifle, fire some practice rounds and make an afternoon hunt.
The ranch owners are very proud of the property, their staff and the quality of the hunting experience at Los Apaches. They are present during your hunt, dine and socialize with you. When we enter the ranch and the gates are closed we never leave the property until the day of departure. Maintaining a low profile is a great security tip for travelers to any country with a spotty record for personal safety and crime.
The routine for departing the ranch is a morning hunt if required, lunch and being on the road by no later than 1:30 pm. On the return trip to the US, the owner who also manages the property drives ahead of us to the US point of entry and leaves us once we reach the Agricultural Inspection area.
The ranch owners have great contacts with the Mexican police and military in the area and stay abreast of any real or potential problems related to drug or gang violence; are active members of the ANGADI community; reside on the US side in Laredo so they make the trip back and forth to the ranch on almost a daily basis during the off season; have excellent contacts / relationships on the US side; and can be depended on to let us know if they think it is not safe to make the trip to hunt.
Last season several of the wives went down with us. We have all lived and worked overseas during our careers in the oil industry, and like to think we have learned how to weigh the risks and rewards associated with travel outside the US.—Wren
In the picture: Wren with one of those great, wide, clean Mexican bucks. The fully mature deer had been named El Senor by those on the ranch.
Disclaimer: This is one man’s personal story. Travel to Mexico at your own risk.