Are Desert Mule Deer Hunts Improving?


Published: February - 2001

Until the late 1970's, desert mule deer hunting was virtually unknown outside of Mexico. Only A few hard-core big game hunters in the US knew about the resource and harvested exceptional bucks. Today, this big game species is among the most popular and highly demanded in North America. Unfortunately, the huge influx of hunters and the high prices they were willing to pay, encouraged a lot of landowners and outfitters to overshoot their properties. Anyone who has followed developments in Mexico knows this to be so, as the result was a precipitous drop in overall trophy quality.

I traced this rise and fall of mule deer hunting in Mexico in a previous report. What's new, I'm pleased to announce, is the emergence of a new awareness among Mexican hunting professionals of the need to limit harvest and take other steps to get trophy quality back up. Many Mexican ranches today are coming under better management, with improved water distribution, reduced livestock grazing and predator control as key elements of their operations. Even more important, an increasing number of outfitters are actually under-shooting their quotas. The cuts some outfitters have pushed through are dramatic, and so are the results that are beginning to show up.

I got wind of this important development last month at the Safari Club International Convention in Las Vegas, where I had the opportunity to talk with a number of Mexican outfitters. Here's a rundown on the steps some of these outfitters have taken recently to improve quality and a quick look at the trophies they have been able to produce as a result:

Ernesto Zaragosa of Solimar Hunting Safaris was among the first to offer desert mule deer hunts in Sonora more than 20 years ago. He has reduced the number of permits he sells by 50 percent. Solimar has more than 400,000 acres leased and could obtain up to 80 permits. Instead, he sells only about 35. Solimar's hunters consistently achieve 75 percent hunter success on bucks 30 inches and greater (170 to 210 B & C).........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: Solimar Hunting Safaris; Club Solimar; Alcampo Hunting Adventures (US); Hunt in Mexico; Sonora Outfitters; Campillo Brothers, The; Carlos Hermosillo Outfitters; Muy Grande Outfitters; Camou Brothers; Pusch Ridge Outfitters

  


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