Hunters with a trip planned to Mexico are questioning whether they should cancel in light of the US State Department Travel Alert for the northern part of this country. The alert was issued in late February due to the eruption in violence along the US border, where drug cartels are shooting it out with the Mexican army in what resembles small-unit combat. The coverage is enough to make you think twice about traveling to that area, which includes Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, where deer and sheep hunting, as well as dove shooting, takes place. We sent E-mail Extra subscribers a heads up by e-mail, warning any late deer or sheep hunters about the alert, but the feedback we had received from hunters recently returning from Mexico did not give us concern for more alarm. Regardless, a number of outfitters have seen some cancellations, and hunters are asking if it is safe to plan a trip there this coming season.
While there is always some risk in international travel, even just over our own border, a few common sense rules are in order here to keep out of trouble. Firstly, make sure all your paperwork is in order. If you are driving into Mexico, do so in daylight hours only and meet up with your outfitter as soon as possible. Promptly stop for any military check points you come across. Some of these are quite impromptu and portable, allowing the military to change locations of checkpoints readily in an attempt to keep the "narcos" guessing. Be polite and patient and have all of your paperwork ready, including gun import paperwork and any hunt contracts or correspondence to prove you're traveling with firearms to go hunting. Once you get to your hunting area, stay there. Don't go into town looking for nightlife or other entertainment. Drug dealers do business in shady areas with shady people. Stay away from them and any public gatherings and don't ask any "nosey" questions. Talk to your operator about security and how he plans to keep you out of risky situations. Travel during your hunt should be from the lodge........(continued)