MEXICO: Desert Bighorn

JES Adventures

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After nearly a four year wait it is finally here. My youngest son Parker and I are checked in at San Antonio Int’l airport waiting to board our flight. We are headed to Hermosillo, Sonora to hunt with Rogelio Lizarraga of Rancho El Bamury.

Flying on American, check in was a breeze and with TSA Pre Check we were at the gate in short time.

Scheduling worked out that Parker is on Spring Break this week so he could join me. Its always a blessing to hunt with your kids and I am so happy we will share this adventure together.

This hunt is for my third specie of North American Wild Sheep so I am slowly chipping away at the Slam.

The weather should be nice ranging from the high 40’s to low 80’s. I checked and re-checked the list as I packed yesterday and we have all the essential gear.

I recently upgraded the optics on my Christensen 300 RUM to the Swarovski ds 5-25 with the built in ranging and auto reticle. It is an amazing piece of hardware to say the least. I have been practicing a bit and last week was shooting 400-500+ yards in a 5-10 mph wind. I used the wind drift hash mark and hit the target every time!

We connect in Phoenix and are scheduled
to arrive Hermosillo at 1:11. I got an email from Rogelio’s daughter Maria that she will meet us at the airport then have a 4 hour drive to the ranch.

Expectations are running high and I am ready to get started Monday morning. Preparation and anticipation of the hunt can be almost as fun as the adventure itself. I am sure this trip will have its share of twists and turns as every expedition usually does.
 
Best of luck! Look forward to the report!
 
Great hunt awaits. Look forward to your report and pictures.
 
Sounds like the makings of another great adventure. Good luck and safe travels to you and your son.
 
How exciting! Your son (and you!) are having some grand times! Can’t wait to read your report!
 
My son will be my “packer” and videographer.
 
Sounds like a grand adventure in the making. Hope for the best.
Bruce
 
I'm excited for you. Looking forward to your report as it unfolds.

Hope you get a bruiser!
 
Congratulations on the hunt! With your son with you it sounds like a fantastic adventure!
 
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The flights were all on time and we arrived Hermosillo at 11:20. Our bags were waiting for us after passport control and the Customs officials met me at a table with my paperwork. It took less than 10 minutes to clear my gun and we were met by Rogelio’s daughter Maria and a gentleman named Enrique that was our driver. After we exchanged greetings we were on our way North to the ranch.

A light rain was falling in Hermosillo and Maria said it rained off and on all the way from Pitiquito, the town nearest the ranch. The plan is to drive a couple of hours then stop for lunch

We stopped in Santa Anna, a descent sized town about halfway to the ranch. A nice linch followed by an hour and forty five minute drive put us at the ranch. A traditional Mexican ranch house of adobe and block construction. Parker and I settled in our room then headed outside for a look around. The yard was adorned with countless shed antlers from some outstanding desert mule deer. There were also several nice coues deer sheds and a couple of pick up skulls that would push the limit for Boone & Crockett.

As the sun was sinking the temperatures cooled a bit and Enrique made a fire. We sat around and talked about the days travels, the tranquility of this wild place and the beauty of the desert mountains in the distance.

About an hour after sunset Rogelio and the guides showed up from their day scouting. After we exchanged greetings Rogelio began to tell us about the day. They saw over 30 ewes and last years lambs along with several rams. Three of which were legal rams but one exceptionally large ram. By his emotions, I could tell he was very impressed with this ram. When they left the rams just before dark they were feeding calmly. The forecast is for a clear, sunny day so he wants to be at the mountain early.

The plan is for two guides to go ahead before first light to locate the rams. We will go an hour later as I need to check zero on my rifle before heading up the mountain.

After a traditional Mexican meal of homemade tamales, rice and salad we turned in early as tomorrow will be a big day.

I told Parker as we were going to sleep that we were way ahead of the game knowing the general location of the rams. On all my other sheep hunts we spent days just locating the rams. Then we had to devise a plan to hunt them.

First thing tomorrow, we’ll be hunting those rams.
 
Good luck and have a great safe hunt!
 
John Ed I hope you have a great hunt!
 
Thanks Guys for the kind words, it has been a whirlwind so here we go!
 
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Day 2

I was up at 5:22, I heard the guides truck leave the camp. Parker was up shortly thereafter, and we enjoyed a traditional Mexican breakfast of eggs, potatoes, refried beans and fresh tortillas. I watched the day come to life as the sun rose behind the mountains we would hunt today.

The guides put up a target so I could check the zero on my rifle. The first shot was 3 inches high, the second, a half in from the first. I adjusted the Swarovski and it shot right on at 100 yards and we were off on the hunt.
 
We arrived at the place where the guides were set up and they showed me the smaller of the three rams in the spotting scope. They were up the mountain about a mile and a half away and the big ram was bedded out of sight.
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Rogelio discussed his strategy with the other guides and a plan was made for our ascent. Two guides stayed below with the spotting scopes and radio so they could inform us about the rams movement.
 
We loaded our packs and started up the mountain. Parker carried our personal gear, Rogelio, Luis, Miguel along with Lupe who was our cameraman all had a pack. The climbing was challenging as nearly all the vegetation had thorns or needles so heavy leather gloves were a must. The ground was mostly decomposed rock and some shale, so it was slippery at times.

It took us about an hour to reach the edge and about 20’ from reaching the top the radio chattered. The rams were up feeding so we stayed below the horizon not to be skylighted. After a few minutes Rogelio and Luis peered over the edge and only the youngest rams were up feeding. Rogelio whispered down to me “462 yards”. I had told him last night I am comfortable to 500 but really do not want to shoot past 500 yards. He said no problem, our hunters normally shoot 250-300 meters.

As the day moved on, the young ram bedded, and I made my way up to the top to look through the spotting scope. I still have not seen the big ram but located the young ram so had an idea of the general vicinity. I found a good spot to shoot from and set up the 300 RUM, chambered a round and zeroed in on the ram. It was 468 yards to the sheep and we waited.

What seemed like an hour but was only about 20 minutes Luis said “Borrego Grande is arriba” . I was into the scope and located the big ram walking and feeding up the mountain. I had the scope on 24X and could see the mass of his heavily broomed horns as he walked away.

As he continued, I reset the range a couple of times and he was 492 yards. He never gave me a shot and bedded once again just right of a saguaro cactus at 496 yards. I settled down and watched periodically through the scope I could see his ear flick from time to time and he would occasionally move his head a little.
 

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