HUNTING ON THE MEXICAN BORDER
By J. W. JOHNSON
THERE has been very little written about this great game country, and I will attempt to give you a little information that might interest the readers of the good old H-T-T. I have been a hunter and dealer in wild animals nearly all my life time, and have hunted in some of the best game localities in the states, but I must say that old Mexico has them all beat for a real hunters' paradise. On account of the countless, revolutions there in the past, and the scarcity of guns and ammunition, together with the difficulty the American hunter meets with when trying to get a permit to carry guns and ammunition into that country, there is no wonder that the game there has become so plentiful.
Fishing in the beautiful Rio Grande can't be beat for channel and yellow catfish, and some I have seen brought in by the peon Mexican fishermen weighed as high as eighty pounds, and it is no uncommon sight to see 20 and 30 pound channel catfish caught out of this river, and those of you who are acquainted with this gamest of all the catfish family, and who are used to catching the 4 and 5 pound size, can imagine how these Rio Grande cats can make you get busy. Good fishing can be had anywhere on this river but one must fish from the bank as the Texas Rangers, River Guards and customs officials do not allow boats to be used on this river on account of the illegal passing over of aliens and the smuggling of booze across the border. All kinds of liquor but the good kind can be had just across the line, and bootleggers are not uncommon here on the Texas side, from a point 50 miles south of Laredo to where it enters the Rio Grande, are so plentiful that one soon tires of the sport killing them, and at this season, they are fat on the native wild pepper which is very plentiful there, one can't very well eat them on account of the hot flavor caused from feeding on this pepper. Mexico has little or no game laws, and one can hunt there at any season of the year they wish and the only difficulty you will have in going into Mexico to hunt, is in the procuring of permit to carry arms and ammunition, as they seem to think that you might want to start a revolution if you have any guns.
Both the Bob White quail and Mountain quail are plentiful all over Mexico, especially the sandy regions, and mountain lions, coyotes, ant eaters, armadillos, raccoons, wild cats, Mexican spotted cats, or small leopards, panthers, black and brown bears, peccaries and all kinds of snakes such as diamond back and Mexican rattler, blue and white racers, brown bulls, pine snakes, Iguanas and a host of others too numerous to mention, can be found in great abundance in the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
We have a fine game bird here called chacalacas, but I prefer to call it a Mexican pheasant, that is a slate blue color and as fine a game bird as any one can wish to hunt. They go in droves of from 10 to 25 and the best time to hunt them is about sun up, as they are real noisy at that time of day and one can locate them very easily on account of their racket.
We also have a white wing dove or pigeon that is fine for sport as the famed passenger pigeon was in its day, and in the months of September, October and November, they are as fat as birds ever get to be, and if one hunts in cornfields or around watering places, they will have no difficulty in bagging all he wants. Good guides can be had for a small wage if you can speak the Mexican lingo, and you can depend on these men to take you to the game districts, and if you don't get your share, it won't be the guides' fault, for they will find all the game you will have need to shoot at. The months of January and February are the best for hunting here, as the weather will be cool enough to keep the meat you wish to bring out of Mexico with you. We have very little cold weather here, and I have been told by responsible parties that they have had only one snowfall in 25 years.
I am planning a two weeks' hunt in Mexico for November and I will come again with a story of some of my hunting trips and photos of game so plentiful here.
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