Editor-at-Large Mike Bodenchuk took this 25 pound Gould turkey in Chihuahua.
By Mike Bodenchuk, Editor-at-Large
Earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to hunt Gould turkey in the Sierra del Nido with a new outfit. I had been interested in the Sierra del Nido since the 70s, when considerable effort was put into trying to locate the last Mexican grizzly bears. This mountain range was their last stronghold. Hunting turkeys there would not only be my first opportunity at a Gould, but also an opportunity to evaluate the mountain for its Coues deer, wild pigs and other game.
My host was Alberto Lafon (firstname.lastname@example.org
; 011-52-614-415-4343), one of Mexico's authorities on desert wildlife. Lafon speaks fluent English and received his PhD in wildlife at New Mexico State University (on Gould turkeys!) with the same professors I studied under. Under the old Fauna Silvestre
, he served as the chief of the Law Enforcement Division for Chihuahua, and he is currently the director of Profauna Mexico (www.profauna.org.mx
), a wildlife conservation organization where he manages a number of properties for landowners, complying with the legal requirements for Unidad Para la Conservacion, Manejo y Aprovechamiento Sustentable de la Vida Silvestre (UMA) administration. He and his associate also manage predation for ranchers. Of late, he has started outfitting hunts on some of the properties to help the landowners recover some of their conservation expenditures. Lafon and I met twice and discussed the possibility of a turkey hunt, finalizing my dates for mid-May.
The Sierra del Nido lies about three hours northwest of Chihuahua City via good highways. En route we were pulled over by police who wanted to check our firearms paperwork, but otherwise travel was uneventful. The 22,000-hectare (almost 50,000 acres) ranch we hunted is the Rancho Sierra del Nido, on the west side of the range at about 7,000 feet in elevation....