Luckypup operates in the California region encompassing areas generously spread across both sides of the border. While the owner/operator and most clients’ permanent residences are located in the greater San Diego area, these sportsmen spend time both in and out of the field in Baja California so frequently that crossing the border is of no greater day-to-day consequence than passing through a stoplight. Such is the specific investment in developing a unique wild bird hunting experience in the region. Unlike many other so called international “outfitters” who limit their cross-border involvement solely to the practical consideration of permits, leases and guns, Marcus Vitale and his Luckypup representatives have cultivated unique relationships and connections that span a wide range of social and civic involvement in California, Norte and Sur.
Specifically, the seasonal base for Luckypup is in Ensenada, BC just 50 minutes from the border crossing and less than 90 minutes door to door for most members. From this beautiful town on the bay the first quail hunting destinations are just 30 minutes into the Guadalupe Valley, the wine region of Baja California. By securing fantastic hunting areas in a locale known primarily for other activities Luckypup has successfully engineered an amazing contradiction: international wild bird hunting with local convenience and without competition. Just a little farther down the Pacific Coast in San Vicente, is a vast region with quail populations in excess of any other destination in the world. It is here that a newly completed hacienda built in the Spanish style and with international hunters in mind waits for the fanatical wing shooters that are clients of Luckypup. With little other development and no distraction whatsoever, San Vicente is unmatched and can best even the most fantastic expectations.
On the opposite side of Baja California, the area around Mexicali is in all effect a time warp. In this fertile plain farm practices resemble those of Idaho in the era of Hemmingway. Weedy edges, spilled grain and a crop diversity recreate perfectly the best pheasant habitat ever known. Luckypup clients smile quietly when they hear mention of the Dakotas knowing they visit a place so special and with such abundant roosters that it’s equal in the US exist only in faded black and white photopgraphs of their grandfathers.
Water fowling for Luckypup takes place in the Imperial Valley of California right in the busiest part of the Pacific Flyway. Unlike the rest of North America, Luckypup hunters don’t bundle up and break ice to hunt ducks and geese, it’s strictly a warm weather affair often bookending their excursion to Baja.
Participants from Southern California hunt in Baja California just as if it was their own backyard. The cooperation between local and federal governments on both sides of the border beginning with NAFTA in 1994 and extending up to the current day has provided special consideration for those who know how to seek advantage. Nearly all Luckypup participants have been successfully enrolled in the SENTRI program for expedited border crossing by Mr. Vitale. This grants the privilege to utilize special lanes for vehicle traffic at border crossings that all but eliminate the usual difficult formalities of international travel.
Hunting wild birds in Baja California with the professional hunters at Luckypup is as matter of course as the enjoying a meal with your wife at you favorite restaurant or club. The social and political developments in Baja California over the last decade has created a unique opportunity for the international wingshooter by displacing the casual tourist. Luckypup clients vacation and travel in the style of well-heeled domestic visitors from within Mexico and enjoy the same courtesy and entree´.
Additionally for Anthony Bourdain’s take on the culinary experience in Baja California check out this link:
This WSJ piece details wineries in the Guadalupe Valley and related tourism:
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