A special police unit has been created to escort visiting hunters in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, a major battlefield in Mexico's bloody drug war.

The prevision of police escorts for hunting tourists is meant "to avert incidents," Tamaulipas' deputy tourism secretary, Sonia Torre, told a press conference.

The state hunting season for white-winged doves extends from now through the end of next month.

The guards will be in plainclothes to avoid detection by cartel gunmen, Torre said, adding that the number of police escorts will depend on the size of the hunting parties.

Authorities in Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, expect some 3,500 people to take part in the dove hunt.

Torre acknowledged that hunt tourism has been hurt by the drug-related mayhem and said state officials are anxious to reassure potential foreign hunters that it is safe to come to Tamaulipas.

One person was killed and eight others injured in bombings over the past few days in various cities in Tamaulipas.

A decline in hunt tourism has prompted the closure of 250 hunting ranches in the state over the past two years and only 150 remain in business, according to official figures.

Hunting and sport fishing generate more than $20 million a year in revenue for the Tamaulipas economy.