May 5, 2014
I recently returned from a scouting trip to Baja California, Mexico. I have friends that have hunted Valley quail in Baja for the past two years and have reported incredible quail hunting. Quite liberal bag limits too! I wanted to see it for myself.I flew into San Diego, met the outfitter, crossed at Tijuana without any delay and drove along the beautiful coast. One of the bird hunting areas is located at Ojos Negros. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from San Diego. The area is made up of large ranches. The country is beautiful – mountains and rolling hills. This area has excellent populations of Valley quail and Mountain quail. We drove through bird hunting country for an hour or so and I saw numerous huge coveys of Valley quail. The hunting is done by walk up without dogs. Each hunter has a bird boy to assist with locating quail and finding dead birds. It is common for hunters to shoot 20 plus quail per day per hunter!! This region of the Baja is very remote with few options for lodging but the outfitter has secured the best accommodations in the area. Hunters should not expect luxury lodging but a clean comfortable place to stay and eat after a great day hunting quail. The outfitter’s staff handles all transfers, hunting and food service.
The outfitter also offers wild pheasant, Gambel’s quail and dove hunting from his lodge located at the town of Quintana Roo – approximately a 2.5 hour drive from San Diego. This is an agricultural area with irrigation. I was shocked to learn how strong the pheasant populations are in the area. The birds nest in the irrigated wheat and are hunted in the Fall sorghum. Gambel’s quail live in the hedgerows between the irrigated fields. The bird boys showed me four different coveys of Gambel’s in 45 minutes!! With all the agriculture, the hunters also experience fantastic dove shooting. The twelve bedroom lodge is large and very comfortable. Double beds in every room and private bathrooms. The staff prepared excellent meals during my stay.
One of the primary reasons for the trip was to check on any obvious security issues. With all the reports of cartel violence in Mexico, I wanted to see for myself how things appeared if I was to recommend the area. After driving 400 plus miles throughout Baja, I saw not a single sign of security concern. The outfitter has been operating since 1989, hosting 400 or so hunters a season (primarily for dove and pheasant) and has never had an incident occur.
Three day hunts are $1950 and four day hunts are $2350 per hunter. Hunters are encouraged to take their own shotguns. The outfitter handles all paperwork. Clients fly in/out of San Diego. Outfitter provides airport transfers. Dove hunting runs in mid-August/mid- February, quail is October 1/mid – February and pheasant can be hunted starting the third Friday in October until the first Sunday in January.
In my opinion, this may be the best wild bird hunting in North America. I do not know another area where 3 species of quail, pheasant and doves can be hunted in such close proximity. I have booked a hunt for November.