• By Ken Perrotte

There's Gould's in Them Thar Hills! The Feathered Treasures of the Sierra Madres

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

If I’ve learned one thing traveling to distant places to hunt, fish or just experience another culture and cuisine, it’s that the people living in those destinations are what set the lesson apart. Sure, there can be exciting moments in the field with incredible spectacles put on by wildlife, but for me the most lasting moments seem to be those where I’ve gained insight from people, some of whom might first appear to be worlds away from you.

Last year I joined a group of hunters and outdoors communicators in Sonora, Mexico at Rancho Mababi, an incredibly productive, well-managed ranch loaded with cattle, sheep, Coues deer and wild turkeys. Our host was Linda Powell, of O.F. Mossberg & Sons and we were hunting beautiful Gould’s turkeys.

You can read all about the hunt, more about the ranch and its vibrant history (including Pancho Villa's excursions across the property), plus see 14 additional photos in the July-August issue of Turkey Country magazine (click here).

The article begins on page 64.

Blog continues below.

We used Mossberg 935 turkey model semi-autos and pump action model 500s, loaded with Winchester Longbeard XR shotshells to take the big-bodied toms. Writer Craig Boddington and I actually doubled on the second day of the hunt.

A Hunting Convert

Here at the Outdoors Rambler, we'll share a story about how one of the ranch owners, a non-hunter, came to value and appreciate the importance of hunting and the dedication and conservation ethic hunters bring to their pursuits. The ranch, tucked in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains, is owned by Roberto and Alice Valenzuela. Roberto is Mexican by birth. Alice was an American "military brat." They met in college. Both have MBA degrees but the fled Silicone Valley for rural life on Roberto's family ranch (see the Turkey Country article for the unique story of how the ranch came into the family's possession.

Alice shared that she first didn't want the ranch to become a hunting property and marketed it as a great place for birdwatchers. Eventually, though, abundant deer were attracting a lot of mountain lions. To manage the lion numbers they needed to manage the deer numbers. She began learning about deer hunting. The Valenzuela’s offered a free hunt to a group on the condition that Alice accompany the hunters to learn what it was all about. Her preconceived notions were grounded in Hollywood stereotypes and they weren’t favorable.

Her experiences with the hunters contrasted sharply with those she had with the birdwatchers. While the observations may be anecdotal, she was able to discern a clear difference in both the approach and commitment between birders and hunters. She observed that her bird watchers seemed more interested in simply checking the blocks -- seeing a bird and then looking for the next one on the list. “They weren’t interested in the habitat the birds were in,” she said, adding the guests seemed only politely interested in the history of ranch and how the world-class habitat was created and nurtured. “I tried to get them interested, but all they wanted to do was check off birds,” she said. The hunters gave her a crash, but in-depth, course, teaching everything from glassing for game to recovering downed animals. When they were finished, they quizzed her about the terrain, the vegetation and more.

“It was more tiring, physically, than with the birders but when they (the hunters) left, I felt so energized,” Alice said. On the hunters' last day at the ranch, they asked her what she thought of the experience. “It came out of me – it was beautiful,” she said with emotion. “I was really shocked by that…the whole thing was beautiful, from beginning to end.” She said she was impressed by the way the hunters honored the animals and told of one lifelong hunter who saw the biggest buck he’d ever spotted but passed on a shot because it was a little too long to be sure of a clean kill. “It was almost a religious experience. I could feel their excitement,” she said. “They had a deep interest in everything, not just getting a buck. That’s how we decided to do hunting.”

Fine Dining!

Electricity at Rancho Mababi is still provided by generators and all cooking is done on a wood stove. Alice loves the way food tastes cooked over a wood fire. For me, the best camp food is that which reflects the area, the culture and the game that’s being hunted. The meals at Rancho Mababi provided that total experience.

During our hunt Alice and Rosyy Pulido, a local chef she employed, crafted incredible meals. Pulido's breads and pastries, incorporating local ingredients such as mesquite flour, were phenomenal. She made adaptations of a Hawaiian pizza, using wild Gould’s turkey meat instead of ham. One of the highlights was a meal featuring wild turkey with a special molé sauce. She shared the history of the dish and her preparation techniques. Click Here for that interview.

#Gouldsturkeys #Mexicoturkeyhunting #Mossbergturkeyhunting

Subscribe for new stories, reviews, and more. 
(Don't worry, we won't spam you)

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2017-2021 Kmunicate Worldwide LLC, All Rights Reserved. Outdoors adventures, hunting, fishing, travel, innovative wild game and fish recipes, gear reviews and coverage of outdoors issues. Except as noted, all text and images are by Ken Perrotte (Outdoors Rambler (SM). Some items, written by Ken Perrotte and previously published elsewhere, are revised or excerpted under provisions of the Fair Use Doctrine


Privacy Policy:

What type of information do you collect? We receive, collect and store any information you enter on our website. In addition, we collect the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; login; e-mail address; password; computer and connection information and purchase history. We may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, length of visits to certain pages, page interaction information, and methods used to browse away from the page. We also collect personally identifiable information (including name, email, password, communications); payment details (including credit card information – although the site does not currently engage in any type of e-commerce), comments, feedback, product reviews, recommendations, and personal profile.

How do you collect information? When a visitor to the site sends you a message through a contact form or subscribes to receive updates and other communications about new stuff on the site, we collect that subscriber’s email address. That address is used only for marketing campaigns or other information we send regarding site updates or changes. Site usage data may be collected by our hosting platform Wix.com or by third-party services, such as Google Analytics or other applications offered through the Wix App Market, placing cookies or utilizing other tracking technologies through Wix´s services, may have their own policies regarding how they collect and store information. As these are external services, such practices are not covered by the Wix Privacy Policy. These services may create aggregated statistical data and other aggregated and/or inferred Non-personal Information, which we or our business partners may use to provide and improve our respective services. Data may also be collected to comply with any applicable laws and regulations.

How do you store, use, share and disclose your site visitors' personal information? Our company is hosted on the Wix.com platform. Wix.com provides us with the online platform that allows us to share information or sell products and services to you. Your data may be stored through Wix.com’s data storage, databases and the general Wix.com applications. They store your data on secure servers behind a firewall.

How do you communicate with your site visitors? The primary means of communicating with site users is via email for the purposes of marketing campaigns, promotions, and update. We may contact you to notify you regarding your subscription, to troubleshoot problems, resolve a dispute, collect fees or monies owed, to poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, to send updates about our company, or as otherwise necessary to contact you to enforce our User Agreement, applicable national laws, and any agreement we may have with you. For these purposes we may contact you via email, telephone, text messages, and postal mail.

How do you use cookies and other tracking tools? Our hosting platform Wix.com and our analytical services providers such as Google Analytics may place cookies that facilitate their services. To be perfectly honest, Kmunicate Worldwide LLC, the owner of outdoorsrambler.com, never looks at cookies or any other tracking/data collection tools, only the aggregated reports provided by the hosting service or analytical services providers.

How can your site visitors withdraw their consent? If you don’t want us to process your data anymore, please contact us using the “Contact Us” form on the site.

Privacy policy updates: We reserve the right to modify this privacy policy at any time, so please review it frequently. Changes and clarifications will take effect immediately upon their posting on the website. If we make material changes to this policy, we will notify you here that it has been updated, so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we use and/or disclose it.