Through the years, I’ve come to appreciate the entire ‘hunting experience’ more than the pursuit of the animal I’m hunting. After researching Mexicana desert ram hunts in Old Mexico, Rancho La Guarida rose to the top of my list. The warm and inviting atmosphere, Jose and Esperanza’s hospitality and their magnificent hacienda in the Tinaja Verde Mountains didn’t disappoint. Esperanza’s oversight of the kitchen – and very capable culinary skills – assured every meal was wonderful. Jose personally guided my hunt, and we saw many fine rams before I chose to harvest an extremely heavy old warrior. I would have been ecstatic with any one of a number of rams we encountered before we located him. Logistics were crisp, personalized and the travel to and from, including clearing US Customs and Agriculture on the return, was easy and stress-free.
I had a great experience with the people and the hunting at the La Guardia Ranch. The accommodations and the hospitality were amazing and was only made better by the hunt itself. The sheep were all over and there were plenty of large rams to choose from. The food was also fantastic and freshly made. My hunt at the La Guardia Ranch was great experience that I will never forget!
Bob, Carole and Jennifer Griego
From the beautiful mountains of Chihuahua , to the majestic rams in the distance, we loved all of it especially the warm hospitality of wonderful people -Jose and Esperanza Vallina at the La Guarida Ranch.
Their accommodations were impeccable and gourmet meals with a Mexican flare were incredible and delicious.
And the best part – we harvested a stud and one-of-a-kind desert big horn sheep.
We had a fabulous time! A Great place.
My sheep hunt at La Guarida was one of the best hunts I’ve been on. I’m a bowhunter and normally expect Mountain House and a tent, so this hunt exceeded my expectations. From the time I was picked up by Jose at the airport, to the ranch and the great meals, I was very impressed. We saw many mature sheep and I was able to screw up a couple times before connecting on a great ram. I’d highly recommend La Guarida to any bowhunters.
Richard A. Bonander
I had a great time hunting for Desert Big Horns with Jose at the La Guarida Ranch north of Chihuahua. Jose was a great guide and host and Esperanza cooked up some wonderful meals and was very entertaining. The ranch was rough and beautiful and I especially enjoyed hunting on horseback. Had never seen so much cactus in my life. The staff was very helpful and pleasant to be around. Bruce Bummer and I hunted together and both got beautiful Boone and Crockett sized rams. One of the most enjoyable hunts I have been on! I have attached a copy of my short story on my hunt.
After purchasing the desert sheep hunt to LaGuardia at the wild sheep convention in 2018 I was looking forward to traveling to Chihuahua in November for my hunt. I had talked to Jose the owner about what size sheep I could expect. He asked me what I was looking for and I told him one over 180. Hunting for several days letting mid 170 sheep walk we finally found the one I was looking for. The sheep turned out to score 182.
For anyone looking for a great hunt with exceptional horses,guides and accommodations this is the one for you. I travelled back to LaGuardia in 2021 and enjoyed another great hunt getting an exceptional ram again.
I have been hunting for 50 plus years over the entire world. I must say that the experience of hunting on the La Guarida ranch is on the top of my list when it comes to my most enjoyable trips. The Vallina family goes beyond making you feel like part of the family. I have made new dear friends in Mexico. The accommodations and food are exceptional. Jose has done an excellent job of building a sustainable free range desert sheep population. If you are apprehensive about hunting in Mexico, rest assured that Jose will handle every detail like gun permits, customs, and paperwork to export your sheep. In short, the Vallina family is the best of the best.
I recently returned from a desert bighorn sheep hunt in January 2022 at Rancho La Guardia in Chihuahua State, Mexico. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to accomplish this hunt along with a buddy of mine, Dave Johnson, and friend Wade Ovard of White River Guide Service. Dave had purchased this hunt on the auction of Dallas Safari Club 2021. I had previously successfully completed a Stone and two Dall Sheep hunts.
The friendly atmosphere and hospitality of the Vallina Family began when Jose met us at the Chihuahua International Airport. Jose had ensured that all of the paperwork necessary to bring our firearms into Mexico led to a smooth and easy passage through customs. He also took care of the necessary hunting licenses. We were easily and safely transported to the Ranch without concerns. During the 3 hour trip to Rancho La Guardia, we became acquainted to Jose and his wife, Espiranza. We also were impressed by the beauty of the Mexican high desert landscape of Rancho La Guardia. The backdrop of the ranch house against the mountains was magnificent.
Immediately upon entering the ranch gate we saw a band of nice rams and this continued throughout our stay there. The number and size of the rams seen was truly impressive. We hunted both on horseback and by truck. I found Jose, his assistant guide, Servando, and his cowboys, Ricardo and Juan, excellent judges of the quality of the rams. Dave and I both shot book rams on the second day of the hunt. Our trophies were promptly removed from the field, capped, salted, and frozen in preparation for transport back to the US in a fashion that made passage through US Customs and Wildlife a breeze. Our Cities Permits were all completed appropriately. In fact, the officers at DFW Airport commented on how orderly the paperwork and preparation for importation of our trophies was. My taxidermist was also impressed with the shape the cape was in upon my return.
The hospitality of the Vallina Family was unparalleled. Esperanza is an amazing chief. We were treated to numerous types of Mexican cuisine. Fernando, their server, was always very attentive. We were also lucky enough to have Roberta, their daughter, in attendance during part of our stay there. She was especially friendly and helpful.
The accommodations were very luxurious! The ranch house is beautiful and well designed. Jose personally designed and built it years ago in classical Mexican design. We had our own bedrooms. They were cleaned everyday including bed preparation. We had access to wifi calling and internet in order to maintain outside communications.
Our desert bighorn sheep hunting adventure was completed successfully upon our return to the US. I was saddened to leave such good company but happy to have made new friends. I would highly recommend the Rancho La Guardia and the Vallina Family for a quality sheep hunting experience. I hope to return someday!
My son Kyle was fortunate to win a Rancho La Guarida desert ram hunt in a 2018 Wild Sheep Foundation raffle. When Kyle hunted in December 2020, he wound up taking a great 10+ year old ram, on Day 4 of his hunt. From the wonderful ranch hospitality, to the quality of desert rams, and from the seamless paperwork for Kyle’s firearm and ram export, to the lifelong friendships cultivated, hunting Rancho La Guarida was an amazing experience! I/we hope to go back someday soon for another great adventure!”
I chose to finish out my quest for the Super Slam with Jose Vallina and La Guarida Ranch. The Desert Sheep was my final animal to complete my North American 29. I am a bow hunter and film all my hunts for Outdoor Channel. Unlike other Outfitters, Jose was up for these additional challenges. Our hunt was outstanding in every way. We looked over many rams and made several stalks over 6 days before closing the deal on an amazing 173” ram! The only thing better than the hunting was the amazing accommodations and service we experienced from Jose, his wife and staff. I would recommend LaGuarida to anyone looking for the hunt of a lifetime!
Hunting a desert ram at La Guarida with Jose was my dream, and not only did it come true, the entire experience at the ranch with Jose, his lovely wife Esperanza and his guides surpassed my expectations in every way. The horseback hunt Jose leads every day through the desert canyons, arroyos and mountains made it feel like we were transported to the Old West–incredible fun. The herds of sheep we glassed each day were healthy, perfect specimens, clearly flourishing at La Guarida thanks to Jose’s decades of hard work providing water systems to sustain them. After assessing so many fine rams, we finally picked a dandy, which I harvested on day three of the hunt with one perfect shot. In a word: the hunt was spectacular, all you could ever want. After we transported the ram back to the ranch by horseback, we spent the next few days glassing La Guarida’s outstanding mule deer bucks and even taking a few javelinas with Esperanza, who was now our guide. As for the accommodations, food and beverages, it all was flawless. Jose, Esperanza and everyone at the ranch made us feel comfortable, as if we were part of the family. In the kitchen, Esperanza works magic, serving meals I still remember and crave: huitlacoche empanadas, chicken with mole sauce, an apple pie you wouldn’t believe, and so much more. Esperanza even threw me a balloon-festooned surprise party dinner after I took my ram, and she patiently taught me how to make tortillas the authentic Mexican way.
If you dream of a desert hunt in true Old Mexico fashion, led by gracious hosts and truly the gentleman-godfather of Chihuahua’s desert sheep, La Guarida is where you must go.
“I couldn’t believe I was passing on that ram!”
That phrase became a common theme in my head throughout my desert ram hunt at La Guarida. Quickly into my hunt, I realized everything I’ve researched about this place was true; I was hunting with a top notch outfitter whose decades of management practices have produced a top quality population of great desert sheep.
I recalled time after time, as we rode off on our horses, my guide/outfitter, Jose A. Vallina said “we could do better”. And boy, was he right because I ended up harvesting a book ram on day 7 of my hunt!
Each day, we would start the day with a delicious Mexican style breakfast and a packed lunch for our day of hunting. We’d spend the day riding through picturesque mountain ranges and terrain with Jose and his partners/cowboys. In addition to desert sheep, there were an abundance of other wildlife including mule deer, javelins, various bird species, foxes, etc.
After a day of riding and glassing, we’d return back to the Ranch villa and we’re greeted by a refreshing beverage of our choice (my favorite was the tamarind margaritas!). As we sit outside under the patio, we would recap on our day and enjoy other delicious Mexican snacks as dinner time approaches. After we watch the sunset, we would continue the festivities (and drinks) at the dinner table where we were served exquisite and gourmet Mexican cuisine (something different and amazing every night).
The accommodations and the care for their guests were on another level. Esperanza’s hospitality and attention to detail really made our trip extra special (my wife and 9 month old son joined me on this hunt!).
Jose’s entire crew and family (wife Esperanza and daughter Roberta) helped make this experience something my whole family will always cherish and never forget. Not to mention I have a huge trophy to show for it. If you are looking for a memorable sheep hunt with chances at a giant, look no further than Rancho La Guarida in Chihuahua, Mexico!