Kidnapped in Mexico: Sportsmen At Risk?

A report from F&S contributing editor Thomas McIntyre: Hunters from the United States frequently travel south of the border, where … Continued

A report from F&S contributing editor Thomas McIntyre:

Hunters from the United States frequently travel south of the border, where they seldom encounter serious crime. But an exception took place last November, when at least 20 armed assailants raided a ranch in northern Coahuila state and abducted three American deer hunters: the ranch owner Librado Pina Jr., his son Librado Pina III, and Texas factory owner David Mueller. A Mexican businessman and the ranch cook were also taken. The gunmen hauled off everything from washing machines to beds. A pair of Mexican hunters later discovered the ranch stripped bare and notified authorities.

A few days later, Mueller and the Mexican businessman were turned loose in Monterrey, Mexico, roughed up but otherwise fine. By mid December, the rest of the abductees had also been released.

As many as 50,000 U.S. hunters go to Mexico annually, in search of big game, upland game, and waterfowl. Although some of them now wonder if they should worry about security, this incident seems to have been an isolated one involving personal motivations, without any bearing on the overall safety of hunting in Mexico. “We do not see any significant danger to American hunters in Mexico as a result,” says Don Causey, editor of The Hunting Report newsletter.

Of course it’s always smart to be cautious–30 to 40 Americans, involved in a variety of pursuits, are kidnapped each year in Mexico. Causey advises that you talk with your outfitter beforehand about the safest way to arrive at hunting camp. If you’re looking for further reassurance before a trip south of the border, check for public announcements and warnings from the U.S. Department of State at travel.state.gov/travel.

Given its abundant game, Mexico remains an exciting destination for U.S. hunters, and an isolated incident of kidnapping ought not to deter Americans from traveling there. If you’re still obsessed with absolute safety, stay home; just be careful not to slip in the bathtub. –Thomas McIntyre

(After submitting this story, Tom McIntyre went on a quail hunt in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and encountered no problems of any kind–except for uncooperative birds.)