News

With the permission of our friend Mr. Thor Kirchner we publish his story. We thought this kind of text is very important to share and to think about, as each day we encounter much of aggressive approach from those calling themselves the animal lovers.

The threats to wildlife here in Africa are much different to the ones you have in developed countries. My main objective here is to protect and increase wildlife in a country where wildlife is under huge pressure. I rarely shoot animals personally. I don’t feel the need to go and kill animals for myself. When I shoot it will be because there could be a dangerous situation coming up or there is a dangerous situation in progress. I will shoot if I need to get meat for myself or someone else. And I will shoot if there is a problem animal as a crop raider or a man-eater. The two biggest threats to wildlife here are population growth and legislation made by western countries based on political pressure and emotional feelings rather than scientific evidence. So not only do I have to deal with the problems within the country but have to fight people who are thousands of kilometers away and have no clue about the situation on the ground. People that have done studies in a place where everything is different to here and think they have the solutions for something they don’t know about. So I do not agree that international organizations should be dictating to local people how to do things if they won’t understand the drivers of the depleting wildlife and forests in Africa. But I do think that in a perfect world that the state in each country should be controlling what is going on in its own country. The problem in our countries here is the corruption going on in the governments and that very few in government and local communities actually care about wildlife. Government only cares about money and don’t see the long-term value in nature and wildlife. Local poor communities only see wildlife as a nuisance and threat to there own existence, because animals raid the little incomes they have from their fields or kill their livestock or in worst case kill humans. Because of an exponential human population growth poverty is increasing with it. And because of bad agricultural practices, deforestation is growing at a devastating rate. With the habitat loss animals are succumbing to starvation, retaliatory killing by the people that live with the animals or just desperate starving people that need food.

Now to be successful in in conserving wildlife and forests or other natural habitat all of these problems need to be addressed. And it is an uphill task, which often makes me want to quit. But it seems I continue trying.

Zambia has a third of its landmass set aside for wildlife protection either as National Park where photographic safaris is the revenue source or hunting area where hunting is the revenue source. Out of this total area one third is National parks and two thirds are hunting areas. If you take away the trophy hunting, what do you think will happen? Wildlife will deplete within a few years in TWO THIRDS of the areas that were previously holding wildlife. Some people will then say, just turn the hunting areas into National parks. Well the fact is that there are not even enough people and funding to fully protect all the existing national parks in the country. So how are they going to succeed in three times bigger areas?

Hunting creates employment, funding for community projects and meat from hunted animals is given to the starving people. This gives the animals’ value to the people and an incentive not to kill them. Much the same way the photographic tourism brings in revenue through employment and funding for community projects less the protein part. One trophy hunter will pay what a hundred photographic clients will pay and have far less environmental impact on the area he/she is visiting.

What I do. I with some investors have taken a piece of land that was not a hunting area or National Park but potentially ideal wildlife habitat, that still had not been deforested, and turned it into a prime wildlife area. This was community land that was bound to be deforested because it didn’t have any protection and is in close proximity to the villages. It still had a bit of wildlife existing and it bordered a hunting area where wildlife would cross over and re-inhabit the area if it was protected. Through private funding and after a few years funding from trophy hunters we have turned a depleted area into a wildlife haven. The only current option we have to get funding is through trophy hunting. Therefore, I could not care less if a trophy hunter gets a kick and can boost his ego by hanging a trophy on his wall to showoff as long as the animal has been killed in an ethic way.

What I need is funds to protect the wildlife and the trophy hunters are the only ones prepared to drop that kinda cash. Anybody who says I’m wrong is welcome to come pay the bills so that we stop the trophy hunting. But no one ever seems to be keen on doing that! Until someone has a viable alternative to hunting in my area I shall continue to do so whether you find it right or wrong. Note our area is not fenced and wildlife moves freely. We kill less than two percent of the wildlife population in our area. We are so successful at what we do that the bit of poaching that goes on in our area does not affect the population growth anymore.

In this past season, I did a hunt in a GMA for another operator in Zambia. This was the first season for this company to operate. The GMA had not been hunted since 2012. It had been dormant for 5 years. I had heard stories about the beauty of this area and the abundance of wildlife it boasted in the past. But it saddened me to see what had happened in the past 5 years. The poaching in the area had been significant and it was easy to see how it had affected the area. Not only poaching, but several illegal logging sites were found and illegal fishermen had diminished the fish population in the rivers with small nets and poison.

The hunt I did there was for leopard. We quickly got some leopards on bait. After seeing that one of the males had a snare around its neck we decided to hunt this one. It was clearly suffering and struggled to breathe. The photos show how bad the leopard must have had it. The snare had cut through skin and flesh and only an inch of skin between head and shoulders was still intact. So when you start bitching about how bad hunting is, I want you to think of this leopard that you were not there to help with your Facebook post sharing when it really needed your help. When you consider signing a petition to stop hunting I want you to think about how this leopard felt when you were not there to help it with your online petition. When you feel hate for people that hunt I want you to remember that this happened to this leopard because hunting was stopped. It is your fault that this leopard’s life was miserable for its last 3 months or so! If you succeed in closing the hunting in these areas, then this is the fate for the rest of the animals. All of them will die a slow and painful death like this leopard was bound to do. And it will be your fault!

Hunting is not the ideal solution for all areas. There are places where non-consumptive tourism is better and other areas are more suited for other kinds of conservation. But at the moment the majority of the remaining wildlife habitat in Africa is under protection from some form of hunting. And hunting is the best you can get out of these areas as things are in this day and age. Until something big changes you have to live with hunting in these areas or no wildlife whatsoever. What do you choose?

All of the western world countries are slowly trying to strangle these areas with legislation that make it harder and less profitable to do trophy hunting in Africa. Even if it has nothing to do with them at all. And by doing so the viability of these hunting areas is diminishing. It is a bit ironic that majority of these countries allow hunting on their own species. And in most cases, at some stage have themselves once eradicated their own wildlife species.

   

Special offer: Traditional Russian Capercailie hunt. Take a chance to collect this amazing relict bird!

Hunting is available in two regions: Kirov and Saint-Petersburg.

Dates: April 24-30 in Saint-Petersburg; April 29 - May 06 and May 04-11 in Kirov.

Price: 1500 Euro/ 1700 USD trophies included.

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

"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.

     

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….