MEXICALI, Baja California — Over the years I have heard stories about unbelievable bird hunts in Mexico where you could shoot until your shotgun overheated. This last July I was fishing the Fishin for the Mission Dorado tournament in Loreto with my fishing buddy Earl Roberts of Mexicali.
While down there he was telling me stories of phenomenal pheasant hunts he has every year on the pheasant opener in Mexicali with Abel Gaspar of Amigo Hunting. I talked Earl into letting me, my dad Bob, and my brother Michael join him on his hunt this year. Pheasant season in Mexicali started on Friday, Oct. 19 this year so my dad and I headed south Thursday night with high hopes of an epic hunt but at the same time trying not to set ourselves up for disappointment. There were only 4 of us that were able to make the morning hunt; myself, my dad Bob Wheaton, Earl Roberts, and his wife Fabiola Camou.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, Earl Roberts, Fabiola Camou, Chris Wheaton, and Bob Wheaton. Abel Gaspar, their guide, didn't make it in the photo.
Abel Gaspar ended up hunting with us himself since we were short gunned. The first field we walked was nothing special, but by the time we walked the second, I knew we were in for something special.
Pheasant hunting in Mexicali is a little different than hunting in the states. They use bird boys down there that spread out and walk the field making as much noise as possible to push the birds to the end of the field to the awaiting blockers, while a couple of hunters walk point on the outside of the field about 20 to 30 yards ahead of the bird boys.
As we neared the end of the second field, so many pheasant started popping up and flying off that it looked like a firework show on the 4th of July. Everyone was calling out hen, hen, hen or rooster, rooster, rooster! It was mass hysteria! I have never seen that many pheasants at one time in my life.
My brother Michael had to work Friday and was not going to be able to meet up with us until Friday night. I sent him a text after the chaos ended that simply said “WOW.” His response was “wow what?!!!” We got 5 roosters out of that one field and my 6 shots I got off didn’t account for any of them! I don’t know if it was the excitement, the awe, or maybe even a little bit of panic that made me miss every shot but luckily after a short drive and a new field, I was able to redeem myself and got 2 roosters. After a few short drives and walking a few more fields, we had 19 roosters and headed off to lunch.
CHRIS WHEATON’S brother, Michael with a limit of roosters on Sunday morning.
The daily plan was to hunt in the morning, eat lunch, then head back to the lodge for a nap or to shoot doves in the yard of the lodge while the bird boys cleaned the morning’s harvest, and then go back out for an afternoon hunt. After sunset we would return to the lodge for a great dinner and sit on the patio telling stories and talking about the amazing things we had seen that day.
There is no WiFi at the lodge and no TV either, not that there would have been much time anyway, but I really think that added to the experience. It reminded me of old school Baja, sitting around, talking with fellow outdoorsmen and sharing stories.
INSTEAD OF NAPPING, Michael decided to try and help put a dent in the Eurasian dove population at the lodge.
Over the course of the weekend we had some other hunters that frequent the lodge join in for a hunt here or there, mostly all friends and family of Earl and Abel.
The final tally for the 3 days with Amigo Hunting was 78 roosters and we lost count on the doves. Even after missing so bad on that first field, I was able to come up with 18 roosters that weekend. Definitely a hunting trip of a lifetime, and one I will never forget.
If you are interested in a hunt with Abel Gaspar and Amigo Hunting, you can contact him through www.AmigoHunting.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE AUTHOR CHRIS WHEATON with his first 2 birds of the trip.