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Bucket List Adventures South of the Border

Tom Lounsbury

Wed, 13 Apr 2016 07:16:31 EDT

 


click on the picture to enlarge







                              Bucket List Adventures South of the Border
By Tom Lounsbury

“Bucket lists” seem to be a popular item these days, especially for folks in my age category known as the baby-boomers. There are a few things we see as being a priority to yet accomplish before we reach a physical point where we can’t get it done due to simply growing older. I have my personal bucket list, and I keep chiseling away at it, but I also know I’m not getting any younger, and I’m realizing I best not dawdle on certain matters. Of course I had wait for my three sons to finish college first, so I’m in the same category as a lot of folks regarding bucket lists.
A person who isn’t dawdling a bit is Isaiah Battel of Cass City who actually started working on his bucket list right after he graduated from high school. This began with choosing a career that, being a working man, would allow him time and opportunity to follow his serious passions for hunting and fishing. This is why he became a Registered Nurse and is presently employed at Covenant Hospital in Saginaw. He works long hours and often long weeks to get regular periods of days off which allows him to frequently perform his bucket list adventures. Because of this, at age 26, marriage and a mortgage aren’t in the cards for Isaiah right now. According to him, he works hard to be able to play even harder, and there is a whole lot he wants to accomplish in the process.
An example is the hunts he and his younger brother Josiah (also a Registered Nurse at Covenant) shared last fall. There was October waterfowl hunting in North Dakota followed by pheasant hunting in South Dakota during December. The first week of January this year found Isaiah hunting waterfowl near the ocean shorelines of Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A sharp contrast to all of this is the recent four day wing-shooting adventure he had south of the border during the first week of March.
With all the drug-related crime and violence that seems to be happening in Mexico these days, it doesn’t seem like the best place in the world for a “Gringo” to spend some recreational time. However, Isaiah wasn’t worried in this regard when he booked his hunt through Ramsey Russell (www.getducks.com ). The waterfowl hunt would primarily take place in the tidal flats of the Sea of Cortez near Obregon, located in the State of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. Isaiah’s outfitter was Frank Ruiz, owner of Gabinos Outdoor Adventures (www.frankruiz.biz ). According to Isaiah, everything was a class act, including food, lodging, hunting opportunities and very pleasant, hard working guides who could speak English. Treating hunters right and making sure they have a good time, is definitely a priority here.
The mornings entailed waterfowl hunting, requiring using an airboat to access blinds located in the tidal flats, which were formed whenever the tide went out. This exposed the desired grasses ocean-residing waterfowl require for daily feeding, bringing them in from the deep blue like clockwork. January and February are the best months for waterfowl hunting here, but Isaiah was plenty satisfied with the shooting action he experienced in early March (the season closes in mid-March). Some waterfowl hunting was also done along the many canals in the area.
In Mexico, lead shot can be used and “duck” plugs to limit the number of shots a shotgun can hold in its magazine aren’t required, and limits are generous.
There are 16 species of waterfowl available in this region of Mexico which includes the Pacific Black Brant, a small sea goose. It was during a canal hunt that Isaiah bagged a very unusual and rare trophy, which was a hybrid cross between a cinnamon teal and a blue-wing teal, something his Mexican guide with 29 years experience had never seen before.
Afternoons were spent dove hunting, something Isaiah had never attempted before, and he quickly grew to love this challenging atmosphere. Although there were some mourning doves in the daily bag, the primary bird taken was the white-wing dove, along with some Eurasian doves and occasional feral pigeons. The dove shooting proved to be phenomenal, involving a “bird boy” to be close at hand to retrieve the birds that kept raining down. Isaiah also said the doves made for great eating back at the lodge. Excess meat harvested by the hunters is donated to the local population for eating, so nothing is wasted.
The outfitter also offered quail hunting in the hills and some outstanding bass fishing opportunities in some nearby inland lakes, but Isaiah had his hands pretty full during his four days with very productive waterfowl and dove hunting.
Isaiah had brought his own shotgun for the south of the border hunt (along with a modified choke for waterfowl and an improved cylinder choke for doves) as well as some of his own ammunition. With the paperwork properly filled out beforehand, there were no problems but he had to pay a $120 importation fee to do so and says if he had to do it all over again, he would rent a shotgun from the outfitter who offered quality equipment in the form of Beretta semi-auto and over/under shotguns. The outfitter also offered ammo for sale at a very comparable price of that sold in the states. Because he could only bring a certain amount of ammunition into Mexico, Isaiah (due to the amount of copious shooting) had to buy more once there anyway, so he figures that in the future, why worry about hauling a shotgun and ammo through airline travel.
What caught Isaiah’s eye in the lodge were the world class trophy mule deer mounts hanging on the wall. This region in Mexico is also well known for its fine mule deer hunting opportunities, as well as whitetails and the small Coues deer (not to mention mountain sheep hunting too). He is definitely pondering coming back for a deer hunt.
Of course there is the Argentina Red Stag hunt he already has lined up for a year from now. He’ll no doubt work some more new hunting and fishing adventures in along the way to fill in any gaps.
Isaiah Battel’s bucket list has an obvious way of growing instead of becoming the other way around, and he is enjoying every bit of it to the fullest while he can.
I call that truly amazing fortitude, and more power to him!


click on the picture to enlarge

   

Dove hunting in Mexico offers a mixed-bag and plenty of shooting
opportunities. (Isaiah Battel photo).





click on the picture to enlarge

   

Wading back to the waterfowl blind on the tidal flats of the Sea of
Cortez, Mexico, with plenty of Pacific Black Brant in hand. (Isaiah Battel
Photo).

 

 

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