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"And Russia is, like, a Third World country?"- that was the question I'd once received from a PH, while driving upon a dusty rural road in one of the African destinations. I can't actually remember if I felt offended at the moment. But - yes, most probably. However I sadly have to admit that Russia is a very undeveloped country in terms of hunting legislation and public opinion. In the end of 2018 we've seen a great public uproar as an answer to the article published by one of our Russian clients who had a vast experience of international hunting, Mr.Vladislav Reznik.

At the present moment Russian legislation forbids hunting of any kind for the endangered species. Mr.Reznik offers to start restricted hunting for several species on that list. He assumes that the trophy hunting would allow to finance and develop the natural habitat of the animals and provide for future species population growth. However the public response showed that many people here couldn't know less about trophy hunting and the way it works for the conservation. The feedback questions were: How come the hunters can save the nature? Isn't killing in order to increase the population unnatural and impossible?! Dramatics followed on. If we speak for short, here is a way to object: the trophy hunter pays for the hunting trip, which includes a license cost, environment management tax, wages of the professional hunters, guides, cooks ets, and a part of the amount goes for the hunting region development. If the species brings money, the locals start to care for it. The hunters and the guides are the first ones to provide for wild species well-being and breeding. Rudely speaking, if the animal costs nothing - there is no protection at all (the state services underperform), and the locals prefer to kill the wild species for meat instead of using the farm animal. The wild one comes for free and there is no profit in protecting it.

In the perfect world the whole arrangement works as following: the hired staff performs their work: develops the hunting region (roads, protection, sustainable consumption), keeps the population record and controls its growth. We, the human beings, affect natural resources, therefore we need to know how many animals need to be culled to allow others to breed. We need to know what amount of animal resources might be taken away without affecting the natural system. The example of proper selling the hunting licenses for endangered species can be seen in Mongolia and Pakistan. In these countries the trophy species are sold at a very high price, and this vast amount of money is used for developing the hunting regions.

And this is the whole point of the offer. We need to understand finally that we are in charge. We provide for conditions in which the wild animals dwell. We affect them every day, taking away their forests, fields, water sources, air, food - and that means taking away life. It is us, the people who use vehicles for transportation, build the infrastructure, use all the resources and produce waste. No matter if you sit on a couch all day long or run in the park, no matter whether you are vegan or meat lover, no matter whether you wear fur and leather or prefer synthetics all over - all of this doesn't matter at all. It is us who pull the trigger each and every day, killing indiscriminately, baste the young and the old. We take away their habitat and their lives basically just by being human. Each and every one of us is a poacher. So it is finally time to thine own self be TRUE. If we cannot change the system, let's learn to be partners: we are the ones in charge of taking away lives, but we are also the ones providing for life. Taking care and investing in living, consume thoughtfully and feel gratitude. We need to start thinking and understanding. In order to eliminate poaching we need the right laws and the right decisions providing for the interests of all parties. The hunters stand for nature, for animals and for the healthy and honest arrangements. Yes, the hunters kill, but they do it with all responsibility and NOT unreflecting and weak-willed, as all the others do.

The trophy hunters are ready and willing to invest the wild nature of Russia: invest the anti-poaching, sustainable consumption and hunting grounds development. All of us as the society need to undertake a commitment to repair what we've done to our nature.

     

To say the truth, we've never got enough time to do so many important things in the year that is now ending. Things that could've made us completely happy. We, the Stalkers, have sent no one to get the Gaur trophy in Myanmar. Neither we have signed a petition for opening China for the hunters, nor joined those pushing back against CITES abolishment for taking a crocodile. We even haven't done a documentary about the threatened mountain felids. Wide have gone so many more important things.

However, over the whole year we've been organizing hunting trips; we've shipped, measured and registered the trophies; have prepared visa docs and rebooked the flights, registered the guns and chosen the best camps; and we've been weaving gazillions of different actions into one whole canvas of what is called a good quality hunting trip. 365 days of phone calls, emails, negotiations, assistance, clarifications and all other turmoils. If one loves to do the work, it's never boring. And why do we love it? Because it is a great chance to communicate with interesting characters, to learn and love nature, value the effort and time of each other.

Dear Hunters, it is thank to you that we are so delighted today - feeling passionate and proud for our results and our deals, feeling happy knowing that you need our job. We breath it and we love it. All the best wishes for the year 2019 ahead and have a Merry Christmas! What was put together by the friendship and common grounds shall not be divided by the little nothings of life!

Yours, The Stalkers

Let’s speak some about hunting the Tur in Russia. All three Tur species can be hunted here: the Kuban Tur, the Mid-Caucasian and the Dagestan Tur. Generally speaking, all these three species can be taken within the same large region called Caucasus. The Kuban, or Western Tur is found in Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, the Mid one can be hunted in Kabardino-Balkaria and the Dagestan or Eastern Tur inhabits Northern Ossetia.

But what’s so special about all this Tur hunting in Russia? Well, that is not only the beautiful trophy, which is a great creature with horns reminding both those of an ibex and of a mountain sheep. That is also the ultimate expression of hunting itself. The Caucasus Mountains are always ready to challenge you. And let us tell you, this hunt is not going to be an easy walk in the woods. You will be challenged not only physically – by the steep cliffs raging above your head and ripping your knees, by the flowing stones beneath your feet, overnight cold and mid-day heat. It will also take a great mental intension to stay calm while sitting in a tiny tent under the neverending drizzle or in the midst of the seamless fog. You will maybe have to resume hunting again and again after these billies outsmart you. There also will be one more challenge – the technical one. You have to be ready for the really long distance shots, sometimes at the unbelievable angles. Still, we all know that the mountain hunters love this type of adventures and they will come back to harvest the whole Tur collection. Our experience shows that even if the hunter has bad luck once, he/she’ll come again next year, truly fallen in love with the magic of Caucasus Mountains and the gorgeous Turs.

Tur hunting becomes some type of real expedition, so you need to be properly prepared. To make the most of your experience, make sure you are very fit physically and your marksmanship is at very high level. Train to shoot confidently at least at the distance of 300 meters. The well-considered equipment will also help. From our side, we will ensure that all logistics goes smooth and you get to see the best Tur grounds in Russia.

Bow hunting is not yet allowed in Russia, but we hope this technical problem will be solved within the next couple years.

This week we have received a comment on a picture we’d posted on our Facebook page. A beautiful Nepal Tahr trophy was named a “farm boy” due to the fact the animal was handsome and clean, and had very nice and well tipped horns. So, we’ve decided to write a couple words about hunting in Nepal. The main thing when talking about Tahr hunting in Nepal is not to be confused with the New Zealand hunting. It is of course possible to harvest a great Tahr trophy on a hunting farm in New Zealand, however hunting in Nepal it completely different. There is no single hunting farm existing in Himalayan Mountains. This mountain hunt is considered to be one of the hardest in the world. In order to get your Tahr and Blue Sheep trophies in Nepal, you have to be ready for quite severe conditions. Those would involve several ingredients.

First, take the long transfers to the hunting area. You’ll start with a helicopter transfer to the altitude of about 9800 feet (3000 m). From there you’ll take a 2 day walk to the base camp. This time is necessary to get acclimatized to the altitude. By the way, do not forget that you need to carry all your equipment and belongings all the way up.

Second come the altitude itself and a very tough terrain. Mainly the hunt is organized at 11.500-16.500 feet (3.000-5.000 meters), sometimes at up to 18.000 feet (5.500 m). These beautiful species prefer to dwell among the stiff cliffs and falling rocks. Add the harsh weather and temperature conditions: cold spine-tingling wind and freezing fogs will become your everyday routine.

Finally, after you manage to find the well-desired trophy, comes the moment to shoot. Sharp angles and long shots are waiting to put your skills at a test. So, let us assure you – no “farm boys” available in Nepal. And though our skilled hunting team is ready to provide a very helping hand, still every trophy is well-deserved and every trip will surely bring you the experience of a life time. Are you ready to give it is try? The beautiful Tahrs are up there waiting….

     

During the first half of year 2018, we’ve already had several successful safaris in Ethiopia. This country is a great choice for the weathered hunters who want to enlarge their collections with unique trophies. Several endemic species inhabit Ethiopia and those will for sure dress up any trophy room: Mountain nyala, Menelic bushbuck, Northern gerenuk, Abyssinian bushbuck, Somali gazelle and Beisa oryx.

The hunting territories of Ethiopia can be divided into three regions: mountains, savanna and forest.

So, to the mountains. The mountain camp is located at the altitude of 3223 meters. The hunting camp in Ethiopia can be either a tented one or consist of small bungalows. There’s a WC, shower and dining room. The cook is always ready to treat you with fresh game dishes.

Hunting for the mountain nyala is of particular interest for the trophy collectors. This forest antelope species was discovered only in 1910. The mountain nyala is endemic to Abyssinian highlands and the Great Rift valley. Thanks to the inaccessibility of the habitat, this species is still poorly studied and remains a desired trophy even for the seasoned hunter. The hunt is organized at the scarfs. The slopes are heavily forested and it is not that easily to spot the trophy male. There is a set minimum for the nyala trophy in Ethiopia: the horns need to be no less than 29,5 inches. If a smaller male is harvested, the hunter will have to pay a large fine. The local PH will help you to judge the trophy size before placing your shot. There are also a couple of trackers and state game scouts in the hunting team. The game scouts make sure you hunt legally and fair. You need to be ready for a long distance shot of no less than 250 meters and often placed at a great angle.

If you have a thermal scope and a night-sight – take those with you. It is legal to hunt at night in Ethiopia. You can harvest felines and hyenas – as they prefer nocturnal habits. There is a great chance to shoot a leopard in the mountain region. By the way, there is a good amount of totally black cats

The savannah camp is located at the altitude of 780 meters. It is a large bird watching camp in the beautiful surroundings. Sitting on a small hill, it overlooks a great volcano valley. Be ready to spend most of the day moving around the hunting territory in the car searching for the trophy size animals. There will be a couple hour break in the middle of the day.

There is also a third hunting region – a forest one. Here you can hunt the bushbuck. The vegetation is very thick, making it hard to spot and judge the trophy. Sometimes all you can see is only a part of the body. The shooting distance is very small, get ready to shoot quickly and without any sticks or tripods.

It is necessary to take malaria pills during the trip, except for the mountain region. In addition, we advise to take only savannah and forest camo: since the mountains are heavily forested, there is no need to bring extra real mountain colored set.

We’ll be glad to share more of our experience and to organize a trip to Ethiopia for you!