Mexico: Hunter Security, Tipping and Bringing Trophies Home
By Paul Dachton
Hunting Report subscriber Paul Dachton spent about 20 days hunting in Mexico this past December/January and offered the following comments about the security situation, some advice on tipping and a warning about bringing your hides back to the US:
"Concerning safety in Mexico, this year we got stopped eight times during my three-week stay. Three times our guns were checked for serial numbers to confirm they matched our paperwork. On one occasion, the Federal Police looked at our noses to make sure we were not doing cocaine. I did not feel threatened on any of these police stops. On one occasion, one of the head police officers shook my hand and wished me luck. As long as you are traveling with all the correct paperwork and your serial numbers match exactly, you should have no problem.
"Every year I have a number of hunters in camp surprised at the number of people they have to tip. Most of the time, you are hunting out of a high rack vehicle. Be prepared to tip the following people: your driver, an additional person who opens the gates, your guide, and on some occasions, you always have someone else whom you have no idea what they did, but at the end of the hunt their hand is out for a tip. Back at camp, be prepared to tip your cook, plus the one or two helpers.
"At the airport you need to plan enough time to go through Customs, Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife. This year Agriculture required that all capes be completely thawed out. Even though I had a signed letter stating that my capes had been frozen for over 48 hours, they would not let them go through. I ended up forfeiting them to Agriculture because I did not have time to fill out the paperwork to have them thawed and re-shipped after they were inspected. I flew out on a Thursday. When I hit Phoenix I had a 2½-hour layover. At the Agriculture inspection I was the ninth one in line with approximately 25 other hunters behind me. There were seven inspectors, all doing the best they could. By the time it was my turn to be inspected I only had 45 minutes to switch terminals and catch my plane. I know the hunters at the end of the line who had a flight leaving within 3 hours of their arrival probably did not meet their next flight.
Editor Note: We reported about the new requirements by US Department of Agriculture to import green ruminant hides from Mexico and posted advice on how to handle this. Read Hunting Report correspondent Michael Bodenchuk's story, How to Cope with New USDA Requirements To Import Ruminant Hides from Mexico. Bodenchuk works with USDA, so he knows what he is talking about.