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On-the-Spot: Mexico Benelli

WON On-the-Spot: Ducks, brant and more in Mexico with Benelli

BY STEVE COMUS/WON Guns EditorPublished: Sep 19, 2019

Put Benelli’s Tim Joseph and Ramsey Russell of in Frank Ruiz’ Gabino’s Outdoor Adventures camp and nice things are about to happen. That’s the way it was this past winter at Ciudad Obregon and environs in southern Sonora, Mexico.

I was fortunate enough to accompany Ramsey and the folks from Benelli on a hunt outfitted by Frank Ruiz for black brant, elegant quail and doves, as well as an assortment of most of the major types of ducks. Also on the hunt were George Thompson from Benelli, Gary Giudice of Blue Heron Communications and Jim Saubier with Sitka Gear. Great gang and outstanding waterfowlers all.

mexicoduckhuntingMEXICO DUCK HUNTING is excellent with multiple species available, and the season is long with big daily limits. George Thompson of Benelli shows a strap of ducks he and blind mates took over an inland pond during a hunt near Sonora, Mexico.

The brant shooting was outstanding, although it didn’t particularly look like it would be at first. I was in a blind on the edge of bay in the Sea of Cortez with Gary Giudice and Jeff Johnston of Sporting Classics magazine. For the first hour or so, all Gary, Jeff and I saw from our blind were shore birds and a single, lonely duck do a fly-by.

Then, from our right came a wad of brant, probably a dozen or more. When they flew over the decoys, we opened-up and five dropped to our three guns. About an hour or so later, another squadron of brant came over the decoys from the left, and four dropped from that bunch.

After that, it was one here, one there as stragglers seemed to want to take a look at the small, but effective, decoy spread that had to be adjusted a bit from time to time as the tide rolled out. By the end of the hunt that morning, we had an even dozen in the bag. We probably should have had more, but we were having too much fun, enjoying the shoots when they happened and sharing yarns in between, including discussions about the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 shotguns we were using. More about them later.

Others in the group who were hunting from other blinds in the bay also were successful on the brant hunt. Jon Draper from NRA/American Hunter magazine even bagged a specklebelly (greater white-fronted) goose in the process – odd, because it was the first speck that Frank and his crew at Gabino’s had ever seen in that area. That bird must have gotten lost on the way south.

We hunted doves in the afternoons, and those shoots were the typical hot-barrel action found in Southern Sonora. Both white-winged and mourning doves swarmed bushy inland areas.

benellistimjosephBENELLI’S TIM JOSEPH shows a duck he took while hunting an inland slough along the Sea of Cortez.

Elegant quail are not available in very many areas, but there are inland spots from Ciudad Obregon where they can be hunted. It was a fun hunt, because we literally beat the bushes for them. Great birds and a lot of fun.

But the primary focus of the expedition was duck hunting, and we definitely ducked-out. On the first day of the hunt, Jon, Tim and I found ourselves in a very nice blind on the banks of an inlet of the Sea of Cortez. The decoy spread suggested ducks, and ducks it was – almost of all them teal for us that morning. During the several days of the hunt, we took green-winged, blue-winged and cinnamon teal, as well as a host of other types of ducks.

Fellow hunters in another blind on the tip of a small island about a half-mile from us that same morning bagged almost all pintails. One never knows what flavor of ducks might fly by, but there is no question that the “patos” will fly by.

Another morning found George, Ben Peterson of Delta Waterfowl and I in a makeshift blind at the edge of a small inland freshwater “marsh.” It was a brushy area that was flooded, and to suggest that the open water in front of us was even a pond would be stretching it. But it worked.

A variety of types of ducks either flew by close enough for some pass shooting, or they attempted to land in the small decoy set in front of us. There were never any big flights, but rather twos, threes and maybe four or five a couple of times. Lots of shot opportunities. Lots of fun.

Benelli shotguns and serious hunting go hand-in-hand. The SBE 3 is a full redesign of the Super Black Eagle platform – an effort that was 10 years in development with focus on what Benelli terms, “improved ergonomics; intuitive, flawless functionality and an updated design, style and feel for the latest in modern waterfowling reliability that’s all about the end game: Absolute superiority in the most unforgiving conditions.” Mission accomplished.

JON DRAPER FROM NRA/American Hunter magazine swings in a duck over the decoys with the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 shotgun.

The guns had no hiccups that I was aware of on the trip and they proved their mettle in not just waterfowling, but on doves and quail, as well. Great all-around guns.

By the time the dust settled on the trip, we had taken all, or virtually all, of the 16 species of waterfowl typically found in the area, as well as a specklebelly goose. Dove hunting saw hot-barrel action, primarily for mourning and white-winged doves, as well as some of the Eurasian collared doves. And there is nothing else in Bird-dom quite like an elegant quail hunt.

Bottom line, great hunting all around.

International hunts are much more than just a bunch of shooting. They are experiences, and that’s where Gabino’s comes into the discussion. They make it all happen the right way.

Gabino’s hunting lodge is called Hacienda La Nellita, Frank's lovely childhood home in Ciudad Obregon. It features nine bedrooms that can hold anywhere from 18 to 22 hunters and guests with bath, lounge area, bar, dining room, roomy exterior patio, satellite television, Jacuzzi, telephone/internet/fax.

Frank Ruiz' facilities are easily reached via daily jet flight service on AreoMexico from Los Angeles, Phoenix or Tucson. Upon arrival, guests are met personally by Frank Ruiz and his staff, assisted with customs and immigration and transferred promptly to the lodge.

From then until the end of the expedition, it is a steady stream of morning and afternoon action for both quantity and quality of birds.

benellisuperblackBENELLI SUPER BLACK EAGLE 3 shotgun worked well for author during the hunt.

authorandgeorgeAUTHOR AND GEORGE Thompson racked up a nice string of pintails on one afternoon hunt along the Sea of Cortez.

JEFF JOHNSTON OF Sporting Classics magazine shows a nice Pacific brant taken on one morning hunt.

ramseyrusselofRAMSEY RUSSEL OF shows a nice string of ducks that he and blind mates took during a morning hunt.

BEN PETERSON OF Delta Waterfowl shows one of the many doves taken on the hunt.

elegantquailELEGANT QUAIL ARE awesome birds. Here is one taken by the author during the hunt in Mexico.

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