Baja Hunting was founded in 1989 by owner Artuto V. Malo, an avid hunter who learned wild life behavior while growing up in the Mexicali Valley, 120 miles east from San Diego, California on the Mexican side of the border.
Baja Hunting Started working in 1989 when non resident hunters could come and go without restrictions.
Arturo Malo grew up on the Mexicali Valley hunting with a BB gun and later with a shotgun when the Colorado river was full of water and waterfowl hunting was the most important activity for local and foreign hunters.
Arturo was a avid motorcycle off road racer in Baja, where he met some of his opponents who were also hunters and soon he guided them just for fun; slowly those friends brought more friends and the friends brought more friends; it was to the point where hunting for fun was consuming a lot of time away from his retail clothing business. A though decision had to be made in 1994 when the recession hit Mexico and the peso devaluated more than 100% against the dollar. The question was to keep selling clothes or start a brand new operation in something that I loved but did not have a clue how to do it.
Finding clients is not easy when you don’t have references of any kind, especially if you want to make a living out of it in a market where nobody know who you are. The first three or four years hunters would stay on a Hotel in Mexicali things were going well due to the good success of the hunts and as the clientele grew up the idea of finding a place to stay closer to the hunting grounds came up; The Baja Hunting lodge was first a 24 by 60 mobile home, then 4 rooms were built and now the lodge holds 24 hunters in 12 rooms with everything a hunter need. The mobile home was transported to Ojos Negros for the Valley quail hunts where it is located now.
As time went by the Colorado river dried out and ducks changed their flyway, pheasant and Dove hunting became more intensive as well as Gambel Quail and hunters started asking for other locations, it was then when expansion came to all the state of Baja California; Ojos Negros for Valley Quail, and San Quitin bay for Pacific black Brant.
The need for good guides and locations was a must and from remembering the racing days Arturo contacted his racing co driver from Ensenada, where the Valley Quail coveys can hold from 50 to 300 birds on a good year.
Eduardo, who is Arturo’s partner in the Valley Quail hunts, is a farmer who lives in Ojos Negros, he knows where the coveys live and how good they reproduce every year, the quail depend directly from the rain fall and in the area we have 7 inches a year; a little more than that will help the birds very much to reproduce in big numbers which is the case for this year.
When the idea of San Quintin came up was time to go scouting, hunt, learn about these birds and put the act together for some avid waterfowl hunters; The Old Mill hotel was choosed to host clients, this Hotel is right by the shore of san Quintin bay, you simply get up, have breackfast at the restaurant and walk to the boat who will take you to the blind, The athmosphere in San Quintin is so peaceful and relaxing that seems time does not move. Pacific Black brant is a sea goose which migrates from Alaska, most of them none stop loosing a good percentage of their body weight, the population of brant is estimated in 120,000. San Quitin bay holds 30,000 to 40,000 brant every year, being January and February the optimum time for a good hunt, trying to take advantage of a high tide to be able to stay out on the blind longer.
Being raised on a retail business family I was always told, if a client asks for something and you don’t have it, pay attention, if more than three clients ask for the same thing you better have it as long as you are happy. That was why Baja Hunting expanded to Sonora, Chihuahua and Campeche; Having fun, hunting and keeping always in mind that pleasing people is the clue to success and a long term relation ship with hunters, farmers, landowners, and the staff who works here is a must. This is a team who puts the puzzle together, hunters only come to relax and enjoy.
Every end of the season a friend or two would ask, so you work November and December and wait until hunters come again? Well, the same criteria was used, when a person or more ask you the same question, you better have a good answer. By 1998 Baja Hunting was not only working pheasants in November and December, it was hunting White wing dove late in August, Dove in September, Quail in October, Pheasants in November and December and Pacific black brant some weekends in January and February……now what.
I went to Sonora, where some friends and I used to go Mule Deer hunting in the days that you could trade a cowboy a bottle of Tequila and hunts the ranch he was working on. It all had change, owners of ranches were aware of the cost of hunting a Mule deer and they were not letting cowboys carry a 22 rifle any more, no more people coming to get wood, no more compadres or friends in the property for any reason, leave the Mule deer alone, they mean a good extra income for ranchers. After a few trips to Sonora good properties were found and I have now more than 50,000 acres of good Mule deer habitat with ocassional hills that hold some coues deer. Since the coues deer weren’t very good in Sonora the need to find more properties came up and after some time I ended in Chihuahua hunting Goulds turkeys where while coming in and out of camp we spotted deer; I asked my guide David who is now a very good friend and partner on the coues deer operation what kind of deer were those, he said those are coues deer. Being a spring hunt, the deer had no antlers and I had to come back next year to hunt and check how good quality of those deer were. I came back the next year, and the next, and the next; I have harvested so far three Boone & Crocket coues deer.
After harvesting a good Goulds turkey I needed the Ocellated turkey from the jungles south of Mexico and traveled to Campeche, I hunted a nice camp eight hours drive from the airport, the equipment was in terrible conditions and took me five days to get one. It was time to then start again, find a good lease and hunt Ocellated turkeys when you have nothing else to do. A good property was found two and a half hour from the City of Campeche, we are 100% success and have entered some turkeys in both NWTF and SCI record books.
Baja Hunting has grown so much all over Mexico that Arturo’s wife and Daughters are now involved in the business, Rachel, his wife takes personal care of the meals at the lodge, in Mexicali, she also makes sure the lodge is clean and functional. The daughters, Barbara and Fernanda work at the office. Arturo Jr., who is 9 years, is thinking of becoming a professional bird boy, these days, when is not in school, he may be out on the field with Arturo trying to hunt pheasants and doves.
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