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Over the 45 plus years I have hunted Mexico, many things have changed–and most for the worse as far as hunting fields and places to hunt. The Mexican Government has also changed many game laws over the years, so you can no longer just come down and hunt like in the old days.
In the old days, farmers grew different crops like sesame, rice, sorghum, beans, and corn all over the place. The good part was that, when they harvested the fields with the old equipment, a good portion of the crop was left in the field. Sometime, farmers would then leave the field alone for months before they plowed it up to replant it. In those conditions, the hunting would be hot in the fields. But, even then, it took extensive knowledge of the land and crops here to get good hunts, and it also required you to put in hundreds of travel miles in weekly scouting to find places for good hunting.
Now it is all different. Farmers only plant the crops they know will grow well during the various times of the year, and is in high enough demand to demand a decent price. I see websites from other outfitters that talk about what is planted, and claim that hunting will be good for everyone. This is not true, and you had better beware of outfitters that make such claims, or the agents that book for them.
Now, even if you happen to find a HOT dove field, you have to have permission from the government in Mexico City or the Semarnat (Game Department) to hunt in that area. Obtaining that permission takes months to get, and, in the mean time, it is plowed under and a new crop is planted. All outfitters now have what is called an “UMA”, or assigned place to hunt, and it is not a easy thing to get. It takes lots of time and trouble, such as creating detailed maps and obtaining biologist studies, to get each one. You are then issued tags for that area only, and if there are no crops there, well, then, that’s too bad. That is the only place you can hunt!
Even if crops are planted in the UMAS, things have changed there as well. Nowadays, when the crops are harvested, the plow is right behind the very efficient combine machines, getting the ground ready for the next crop. Farmers who don’t do this are not around long as they go broke fast–just like in the States. Farming in Mexico is even more difficult than in the States, and the farmers have to be very efficient in their farming practices to survive.
So what does that leave you with?
You need to have a outfitter that can do his own farming, who has the ability to get UMAs in all the right places, and who owns his own land within the UMA. When this happens it makes the best hunting that Mexico has ever had! With the UMA system, no one else can hunt in your area. And, of course, when you have your own crops that you leave in your OWN private fields year around you have it all! The problem is that this is very expensive way to hunt for the outfitter. I know. It cost me over $200,000.00 to set up all my hunting fields when you include the cost of tractors, plows, planting machines, etc.
That cost is out of range for most outfitters here in Mexico, and finding or keeping a good field is getting harder and harder to do for them. I have taken dove hunting up to a new level by making the first ever “dove parks” in Mexico. I clean my own land of all the under brush and leave all the trees. I even plant more trees in places that need them. When planning a new park I always keep hunters away from each other. This makes for the best hunting experience you can have–without the worry of having someone close to you when making your best shots. I also have dove blinds that will hold two hunters at once if you want to show off your shooting ability to a friend or family member!!
All in all, having a outfitter that is able to keep up with the times and changes in hunting here in Mexico is well worth the extra buck. I have had many calls from hunters who have hunted here in Mexico with other outfitters in the past, and who are now looking for a new outfitter to hunt with. Their old outfitter just wasn’t able to adjust to the changes in farming practice or the new game department hunting rules that really limited their hunting area.
I have four different hunting parks, all within 40 minutes of the hunting lodge. That, by the way, is another very important consideration because it means you don’t have to drive all day on poor, bumpy roads. It also means that you are able to return to the hunting lodge between hunts for the best food in all of Mexico!
All of my private hunting parks have crops of sesame and sorghum growing year around to keep the birds close by, even when nesting. That also really helps the nesting with up to three hatches in a season! This is something that only I do, and is very helpful for the following hunting season, as you might expect.
Yes, the old days are gone, but the new days are even better if you pick the right outfitter before you come to hunt in Mexico .
Give Camp David in Mexico a try and I will show you that, after 35 years of bird hunting in Mexico, I know what I am talking about, and I know it better than anyone else. You will enjoy a true hunting lodge adventure–not a Hotel with “stars” they assign to themself. You can have it all just by clicking on the link below to make reservations for the hunt of your life.
Hope to see ya’ all soon.
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