By James Dansie
For those of us who are passionate about deer hunting, Sonora, Mexico is a dream location to hunt. The muleys and coues deer down south are known for having ridiculous mass and stories of deer scoring well into the 200-inch mark are abundant. Although hunting in Mexico is something a lot of hunters are interested in, there will be some who never book a trip fearing that Mexico is just too unsafe and can’t justify the risk to hunt there. The Sportsman’s News team has been lucky to find outfitters who don’t just care if you tag out, but are committed in providing you a safe and enjoyable experience.
In 2014, Justin Jarret from Wapiti Ridge Outfitters told us that he was going to try and start an operation in Mexico and wanted us to be a part of the first hunting group in January of 2015. We have been doing trips with WRO in Wyoming for years and knew that Justin would go through the appropriate steps to create a safe environment. Even though we didn’t harvest anything that first trip, we had such a great time with the WRO Mexico staff that we knew this would be a trip that we would do every year and because we personally enjoy it so much, we are going to be giving away a mule deer hunt every year with our Pro-Membership Program.
Greg Abbott was our lucky winner this year and we were excited to get to know him as we hunted for a monster muley. Greg Abbott is a Texas native and has been hunting whitetail and mule deer his whole life. Greg used to come to Mexico a lot when he raced motorcycle in his younger days, but he admitted it had been a while since his last trip and that he was excited to get out and start glassing the desert landscape for deer.
The first night at the lodge is designed as a kind of ‘meet and greet’ where you are introduced to the other hunters and are presented with an authentic Mexican dinner that is handmade by the wives of the Mexican guides. We had carne asada tacos garnished with freshly made guacamole and salsa. I swear they were just about the best I have ever had. The next morning everyone heads out to camp, which is a comfortable tent camp right on the beach of the Sea of Cortez. After camp is set up, it’s time to get out and devote some time to glassing. Utilizing high racks, you drive from camp to a hill that’s high enough to be able to look down through the desert floor. When standing at the same level as the cacti and other desert plants, it’s almost impossible to see more than fifty yards in any direction. It’s amazing that with just a little elevation the floor opens up and you can see for hundreds of yards.
The area that we were glassing was vast and you had to stay focused in order to see anything. I consider myself pretty good at glassing, but I was blown away by how good our Mexico guides were at spotting game. We were hunting with Lorenzo, who is in charge of all of the Mexican side of WRO. Lorenzo has been hunting and guiding in Mexico since he was five and was amazing at picking apart the terrain to find deer.
We had only been sitting on the hill for about twenty minutes when Lorenzo spotted a group of does and a couple minutes after that he spotted a dark horned buck, thirteen hundred yards in the distance, walking away from us. We almost decide to go after it, but it was only a three by four and it was just the first day of our hunt.
Even though we were camping on the beach, the women who were in charge of making the food went all-out each and every night. It is an amazing feeling to come back each night to homemade guacamole and salsa and then to feast on a homemade meal. We had everything from fish tacos to fried chicken to scallop ceviche and it was all excellent.
On the second day of our hunt, one of the other hunters in camp connected with a whopper buck that scored just shy of 220. Having a buck of that caliber in camp reminded everyone of what kind of deer were in that area and helped to sharpen our focus while glassing. As the days went by, Greg stayed determined to find a deer over 200 inches. We were lucky to see great bucks every day, but just not the one that Greg wanted. We were able to find bucks that would’ve easily scored in the mid 170s to mid 190s and I was impressed with Greg’s discipline to not compromise and just shoot one of those other bucks.
The great thing about hunting with WRO Mexico is that you will see multiple deer each and everyday which isn’t all that common in Mexico. Even with seeing a lot of different bucks, we unfortunately couldn’t find the one that Greg was willing to pull the trigger on. Greg had such a great time though that he has already booked to return and hunt next year and hopefully then he will find his buck of a lifetime.