Forgotten Paradise

Photos by Ben Peterson

If you dread packing away your gear after the seasons close in North America, consider heading south — way south, beyond the U.S. border. The birds keep going, and you should, too.

Though a sometimes forgotten waterfowling paradise, the eastern shore of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez — a 700-mile-long gulf formed by Baja California — offers hunting combinations found nowhere else on the planet. After booking through an agent such as Ramsey Russell of (601-214-9737), you’ll hunt saltwater flats as well as freshwater ponds a stone’s throw from the sea.

It doesn’t seem like a place you’d find ducks, given the terrain of fishing villages punctuated by desert and prickly pear cactus. But they are there … by the many thousands. Pintails. Wigeon. Teal of all flavors including cinnamons. Even brant in giant flocks feeding on eel grass on the roll of the tide.

It’s a place where hunting occurs closer to the peak-breeding plumages of North American ducks than any other. Every trip to the blind nearly guarantees a glimpse of perfect crescent-moon bluewing, emerald-striped greenwing, and copper-black cinnamon drakes all flying together in the same flock. And you’ll cap off the day hunting black brant — the creaking honks of thousands of these ocean geese etching indelibly into your ears and brain.

It’s a special place to end the waterfowl season. The birds keep going … and you should, too.

Ben Peterson is photographer/videographer for Delta Waterfowl.