BY JIM NIEMIEC
LOS MOHCIS, SIN., MX –
Royal Slam of Teal by Jim Niemeic
It was a banner year of wing shooting for those who visited the Mexican state of Sinaloa this past season. The extended dove and duck seasons that ran through mid-March offered wing shooters additional hunting opportunities well beyond the general seasons in California.
Western Outdoor News boarded a turbo-prop at John Wayne Airport with Gus, Hank and Mark Osterkamp and Steve Hoblick of Fullerton and made a quick 2-hour flight to Los Mochis, thanks to an 80-knot tailwind pushing the plane south.
Clearing customs was a breeze and after a quick lunch at Mr. Owens Restaurant the hunt party headed out to a dove field about a 25 minute drive north of the Plaza Inn. Jesus Maldonado had 20 ga. Beretta shotguns and plenty of ammo already in the hunt rig and guide Joe Moreno and his bird boys were right on time.
“This year has been an excellent year for mourning dove hunting and up until a couple of weeks ago there were plenty of white-winged dove in the area. I think the larger species of dove have moved off to nearby breeding grounds, but believe me you will have an opportunity to shoot a least a case of shells this afternoon in this spot,” were the confident words of Moreno.
Even though California enjoyed a good late season on mourning dove last year, the skies around Los Mochis were loaded with thousands of birds as we headed off in different directions with our bird boys. The afternoon hunt would end with a limit shoot for all as the birds winged in over cactus and sage which offered makeable, but challenging shots.
There is not much time for rest when wing shooting in Mexico and the alarms went off at 4:30 AM, allowing time for breakfast and to make the pre-daylight drive up to the 35,000 acre north marsh that was holding vast numbers of puddle ducks and some divers.
“The marsh that you will be hunting this morning has been a great loafing area for pintail, Mexican ducks, all three species of teal, shovelers, some Black Brant and redheads. These wetlands have been offering up pretty consistent gunning all season and now that the season is winding down we are looking at fully feathered adult birds ready to continue their migration to their breeding grounds. Your airboats will be ready to take you out to dry blinds on the marsh for a full day of duck hunting with an afternoon meal at our hunt hacienda,” said Sinalo Pato Duck and Dove Club outfitter Bobby Balderrama.
Hot Dove Shoot by Jim Niemeic
A cold front had just passed through traditionally warm mainland Mexico, but the weather warmed early and the ducks started flying as soon as hunters loaded their shotguns. The first morning’s hunting was very good with most every hunter in the party shooting more ducks in just a few hours of hunting than they had all season long back in the U.S. This hunting editor, who had a very poor duck season stateside, topped off the first duck shoot of the trip by bagging all three species of adult drake teal (green-winged, blue-winged and cinnamon).
Duck hunting on the vast wetlands and marshes that surround Los Mochis can hold in excess of 3.5 million ducks during the peak of the waterfowl migration. In addition to the dabblers and diving ducks that winter in the region, there are also huge populations of native pichiquila and large Mexican ducks (looks like a fat hen mallard and traditionally fly in pairs).
Duck hunts on the marshes can offer mixed results and after a very successful morning hunt the winds kicked up to about 20 knots from the west and all but blew the birds off the marsh, which resulted in just a minimal hunt, good by California daily harvests but well below the liberal 20-bird limit of the state of Sinaloa.
“Don’t worry guys your morning duck hunt will be excellent. We have been resting a part of the south marsh for your group, the winds are starting to back off and tomorrow you should enjoy one of the top-ten hunts of your wing shooting life,” were the confident words of Balderrama, as the group feasted on huge fresh shrimp, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.
Mexico has offered up excellent wing shooting for well over a half of a century. Today the hassles of crossing the border with shotguns, gun permits, licenses, hunter agreements and birds stamps is all taken care of by the outfitter prior to your arrival. The ability to shoot Beretta and Benelli shotguns, have plenty of ammo for all hunts and then be able to bring home liberal limits of dove and ducks makes booking a mixed bird hunt to Los Mochis an option that should be put high on the list of hunts for next season. There are flights from LAX to Los Mochis, via Phoenix and Hermosillo, but there is talk about Delta starting up direct flights (perhaps with one stop) from LAX to Los Mochis, in time for next hunting season which will kick off in November.
The sun rose in an orange glow over the vast southern marsh as teams of duck hunters headed out to their blinds. Joining this writer in a blind would be Bobby Balderrama. The flights started off a little slow and then wound up in a frenzy, as flocks of teal, Mexican ducks, shovelers, gadwall and pichiquila swarmed our blind site. We literally ran out of shells and had to call for more ammo from the nearby airboat. At the end of the morning all the groups showed up at the launch site about the same time and filled the game rack with full limits of big puddle ducks. Yes indeed it would be a hunt to remember for a long time.
The Sinalo Pato Duck and Dove club offers a variety of wing shooting packages for groups or individual hunters and there are additional options available for those who want to add a day’s fishing to their visit to Los Mochis. For information on booking a hunt next fall call Dick Kennerknecht of Global Sporting Safaris toll free (888) 850-HUNT, x2 or log on to their web page at Sinalopato.com. Story and photos by Jim Niemiec, WON Staff Writer.
Global Sporting Safaris, Inc. (GSS) is a Full-Service Hunting Booking Agency for Sinalopato Duck & Dove Club in Los Mochis, Mexico. GSS was established in 1991. We have a staff of 7 Hunting Consultants and Fishing Travel Agents with a combined 175 years of experience. We hold integrity, ethics and honesty in high regard and deal with each client in a one on one basis. Global Sporting Safaris invests time, effort and financial resources in developing our outfitters and guides with a constant eye on the services they offer.