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Sonora mule deer and Coues whitetails — world class hunting for big bucks

This hunt offers a unique adventure and a great chance to take a trophy-class mule deer as well as a big Coues whitetail deer. Conducted by a partnership of Americans and Mexicans, the hunt takes place near Hermosillo, far from the dangerous border area. You'll enjoy spending a week in the desert in January, and you'll have a good chance of taking the deer of a lifetime.

Over the past four seasons, this outfit has produced a success rate of 90 to 95 percent on mature bucks. The average buck each year has ranged between 28 and 30 inchs with an average score of 180 to 190. The biggest bucks each year have scored in the high 190s and low 200s on the Boone and Crockett scoring system. This past season, for example, hunting several ranches, there were 21 hunters taking 19 mule deer bucks and half a dozen Coues whitetails. The biggest buck this year scored 213 7/8 Boone and Crockett points and should net 207 to 209 as a typical. The widest buck in the past four years had an outside spread of 35 1/8 inches, grossing 216 and netting 204 6/8.

This outfitter's leases also hold good populations of Coues deer with some excellent bucks. The average Coues deer has scored about 97 B&C points with several scoring 110 to 121 B&C. "I would like to see what a serious Coues deer hunter could do because there are some great bucks and we hardly hunt them except when a mule deer hunter has already killed a muley and wants to add a whitetail."

The ranches vary in size from about 5,000 acres to about 70,000 acres. We don't know of another area that provides a better chance of taking a truly big mule deer. Some of the bucks in Sonora have it all -- width, mass, height. Naturally, when you're hunting for an exceptional animal, you won't always find what you're looking for, but at least you have a chance here.

Keep in mind that the entire trip is an adventure and an unforgettable experience. See some of the most stunning desert landscapes on earth. Much of this land is just as it was before Columbus.

In the past four years hunting has been conducted in December, January and February, but most hunters prefer the second, third and fourth weeks of January . The outfitter and his partners will operate out of two different ranches this coming season in order to accommodate hunters. He also is expanding to some of the properties that border his current leases because he has seen some great bucks on them.

Sleeping quarters are in a ranch house unless you would like to stay on a remote property where the outfitter has a trailer or wall tent camp. The hunts are for six full hunting days. You can book a longer hunt if you have the time. One of our hunters stayed an extra four days and saw four bucks over 30 inches.

The outfitter works with the state cattlemen's association to make sure his ranches are safe and productive places to hunt. He pays more to hunt these properties than ranchers charge near the dangerous areas near the U.S.border. good deer habitat, great genetics and light hunting pressure. Hunting can be tailored to what the hunter wants. So far spotting and stalking from lookout vantage points has been most productive, followed closely by hunting from high racks mounted on trucks. The outfitter also will be placing hunters in blinds next to water sources and hay baits, which is legal in Sonora and has been productive for some of the local ranchers who have catered mostly to businessmen from Mexico City. Tracking and stillhunting are possible but are not usually very productive.

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Hunt MD7101

Hunt, hunter:guide ratio

Price per person

6-day deluxe hunt (one truck and driver per pair of hunters plus a guide for each hunter) $call
6-day premium hunt (each hunter has his own truck, driver and guide). $call

Lodging and meals

The season includes all of Decemberr and January and sometimes the first week of February, but most hunters prefer the period from about Jan. 7 to Jan. 25, which usually coincides with peak rut activity. Accommodations are in ranch houses on the property. Meals are included. You might have the option of staying in a trailer or a wall tent camp at a remote location.
Extra days Location
Extra hunting days are $500 each when guides and room are available. 20,000 to 70,000-acre private ranches mostly between Hermosillo and the Sea of Cortez
Travel Terrain
Fly to Hermosillo, where the outfitter picks you up at no extra charge. If you prefer to drive, the outfitter charges an extra $300 per person to pick you up and drop you off in Nogales, Arizona., on the U.S. border. Varies from flat desert terrain covered with mesquite and many varieties of cactus to low desert mountains that are similar in looks to foothills in eastern Montana or southern Utah.
Hunter success Trophy size
Hunter success has been over 90 percent since 2006. The most recent hunt (Dec. 2010 and Jan. 2011) produced 19 bucks for 21 hunters with all but half a dozen of those deer scoring more than 180 gross Boone and Crockett points. If a hunter wants to fill his tag toward the end of the hunt, we encourage the shooting of management bucks, which are big 3x3 and 3x4 animals that we want out of the gene pool. Average spread each year has ranged from 28 to 29.5 inches. Most hunters see a buck over 30 inches or scoring at least 190. Average score has ranged from 180 to 190 or so with most bucks scoring more than 180 and the bigger bucks each year scoring more than 200 gross points. The biggest buck in the past season grossed 213 7/8 typical and should net 207 to 209.
Permits Note
Licenses, tags and gun permits are an extra $500 per person. An American or a Mexican with good English skills is usually with you to promote good communication.