As senior editor of NRA’s American Hunter magazine, I had opportunities to hunt in Mexico in 2010 and 2011 and had hoped to potentially turn my wild turkey grand slam of the four U.S. sub-species into a world slam, hunting for Mexico’s Gould’s and ocellated birds. But while hunters had long enjoyed Mexico’s outdoor heritage—supporting an industry that sustained the lodges and incomes of thousands of ranchers and villagers—there was growing concern for American tourists’ personal safety amid Mexico’s increase in drug-related violence. By the fall of 2009, American media outlets such as the Houston Chronicle were regularly running articles reporting that narcotics-related violence was on the rise. A Mexican hunting and fishing adventure would have to wait. Fortunately, times change—at least in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas—as Governor Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca is here at the 46th annual SCI Hunters’ Convention, Jan. 31-Feb. 3, with a contingency from his state to say, “We’re back!” as they greet show attendees in Booth No. 630.
“The reason we are here for the first time is to show the world we’re back!” said Cabeza de Vaca, acknowledging the concerns many American hunters have had over venturing into Mexico with its increasing drug-related violence in recent years. “We’re trying to get out the word in the States, talking to hunters, explaining how conditions in the state of Tamaulipas have changed regarding security issues.”
As noted by Cabeza de Vaca, American hunters have enjoyed a long history of hunting and fishing in Tamaulipas so he is doing everything possible to welcome sportsmen and ensure their peace of mind. “We are even providing a state police escort for hunters from the airport, such as in Laredo, Texas, to our lodges,” he said. “It’s not needed but we provide that. We understand concerns over safety and want to recover your trust.”
Pledging to keep attending the SCI show every year, he is here to key in on hunting opportunities as well as the great fishing. “We also have the best lakes for big bass, he said, in addition to great saltwater fishing, which is why the state hosted an international fishing tournament two months ago featuring contingencies from Mexico, the United States, Canada, Spain and Italy.
A hunter himself, Cabeza de Vaca said, “We have everything just like Texas—whitetail deer, wild turkey, dove, quail, javelin, duck, geese. A lot of our hunting ranches are booked with clients right now, but I’ve asked those operations to send representatives to join me here and help to explain that it is safe to hunt and fish in Tamaulipas.”
As he spoke of the beauty of his home state, you couldn’t help but dream of hunting its plains, mountains and rivers and enjoying its wonderful climate. Visit Tamaulipas Booth No. 630 and chat with Tamaulipas Governor Francisco de Vaca yourself. Get caught up in his excitement and you may just find yourself booking a hunt or a fishing trip before show’s end.