One of the national headlines I read recently discusses Arizona's plan to stringently crack down on illegal aliens caught in that state. I'm all for allowing others into our country to work or visit, but FOLLOW THE RULES!
While reading the article I recalled several of my hunts near the border. In almost every case my hosts warned me to be on the lookout for illegal aliens and taught me a few phrases in Spanish for my safety.
I'd never thought much about running into illegal aliens until I hunted southern New Mexico one year and the rancher said they occasionally spy border crossers sneaking through the chollas. The illegals were on their way north to disperse into New Mexico or regions east or west. He admitted most were good folks just trying to better themselves, but he also added you never know. Drug dealers and human traffickers could also be in the ranks.
Another hunt in Texas a couple years back was even more eye opening to me.
On that hunt I was also taught a few Spanish phrases to advise any illegals I ran into that I was simply a hunter and not to be alarmed at my firearm. I was told to announce this phrase when near shooting stands or if I encountered anyone in the field.
Even more of an eye opener was the discovery of the amount of trash left behind by these illegal aliens. We found countless empty plastic water bottles, black garbage bags, tuna cans and an amazing amount of clothes. The litter was disgusting! While sneaking through the mesquite we even startled a sleeping visitor and when he saw us in camouflage armed with firearms he dashed away like an elk calf being chased by a bear.
Whether you're turkey hunting this spring in South Texas or coyote hunting in Arizona, be aware of your surroundings. Most of the folks crossing the border in the dark of night are nothing to fear, but it only takes one bad encounter to make a tragic story.