My first hunt was with German Rivas, owner of Rancho El Carbon, one of the original ranches that made mule deer hunting in Sonora famous over two decades ago. I had hunted with this outfitter three times earlier, so I felt very comfortable with his operation. On one of those hunts, I killed a 34-inch buck that grossed 206 points. A friend of mine killed one that scored 195 points, despite missing most of a G-2 tine. Clearly, big bucks like these were why I returned.
Since my last visit, Rivas had planted more food plots, built more roads and installed additional water sources. However, the biggest improvement was that he has now acquired the hunting rights to an adjoining tract of community-owned land covering over 100,000 acres and having a reputation for big bucks. This was a significant addition to a hunt area that would already have taken you more than a week to cover.
Despite the added acreage, Rivas still keeps the total number of clients he hosts each season to less than a dozen. He does this to keep hunting pressure low. In fact, on my hunt there was only one other hunter in camp. On the first day of his hunt, he shot his first mule deer buck - a heavy, deep-tined, 4 x 4 that gross-scored 196-3/8 points and netted over 192! Imagine killing a giant like that for your first buck.
Over the next several days, I saw more than two dozen bucks, including........(continued)