Well, outfitter Arnold Sandoval disagrees. He says using a truck just alerts the deer to your presence; plus, he says a truck is just not necessary if you know where to look for mule deer and how to track them. He offers as proof of that assertion his own record of success tracking mule deer in Sonora. He now conducts all of his mule deer hunts in Sonora that way, and he boasts a success rate high enough that more than 50 percent of his clients rebook each year.
Sandoval operates an outfitting company called Timber Ridge based in California. He has been conducting hunts in Sonora for 12 years and says he was fortunate, early on, to meet and recruit a number of guides there who are trained trackers. He says they are all natives who live in Sonora or Baja and work as vaqueros most of the year. He says their ability to cut, identify and follow tracks is as good as that of the best African trackers.
Clearly, these hunts are not for everyone, as they can involve walking upwards of 10-plus miles a day. This kind of hunting takes patience, too, as well as both physical and mental stamina. It can take hours to cut a fresh track, he says, and many hours more, even days, of following it before a hunter sees and gets a chance at a deer. A typical hunt, Sandoval says, begins in an area where one of his guides has seen deer, or where deer are known to travel or congregate - places such as water sources or game trails. When a fairly fresh and large........(continued)