By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York – -(Ammoland.com)- Russian and Asian hunting is beyond your average trip behind the house or even your average Western hunt.
General Manager of Safari Outfitter, Clark Jeffs described hunting Russia and Asia as a full culturally enriching experience.
He is well versed in this culture since his operation was one of the first from North America to start guiding in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. From the traveling, to the landscape, the people and their history, adventures in that section of the world are often overlooked. He also told me although the language barrier can be frustrating, it does add to the adventure.
Jeff described an adventure in which his native guide was describing something with his hands. Come to find out the guide was trying to tell Jeffs, they were near the old launch site for Soviet satellites.
A quick search of online videos will show a wild grandeur of animals which you think may only exist in your dreams. While walking the SCI show floor, there are numerous outfitters which provide the gateway to these unique adventures. A variety of sheep hunts available in Asia from Tur to Ibex, Snow Sheep- which are the Asian version of our Dall and Stone Sheep, and the famous Marco-Polo which has been described as the pinnacle of sheep hunting for their incredible horns, and the difficulty in which the country they call home.
When I was younger, a man in the general vicinity of my home town had a feature article in our local paper about traveling to Asia and taking an Asian Elk. These elk, known as Maral Stags do not see the same pressure North American elk do and their size shows for it. If you are an elk hunter here in North America, you can appreciate heavy beamed screaming bulls in brutally rugged country. In speaking with several guides, they too get the same satisfaction over calling in a rutted up herd bull in the early morning fog.
Curiosity sparked, I struck up conversations with different people. Sergei Tikhvinskiy, guide for Professional Russian Outfitters said told me,“Don’t be afraid to come to hunt Russia.”
Without pushing the subject further, it was clear there is still somewhat of a stigma associated with hunting Russia and Asia from days past. But in talking with Sergei, I thought, here is a person I could hunt with. Many of their adventures take place in the Eastern part of Russia for brown bear and legendary sized moose in Kamchatka however, Sergei told me his favorite hunt was the Maral hunt. In broken english he told me, “Calling in big bulls is such an incredible rush. Tough hunt in the mountains of Kazakhstan but worth the difficulty.” I didn’t need much more of an explanation as an elk hunter myself, We both had a mutual understanding. See, as hunters, we have that unspoken binding connection even if we don’t speak the same fluent language.
Interesting point about hunting Russia though, there is a rule which dates back to the old Soviet days in which bowhunting is prohibited. Sergei’s explanation consisted of officials not being able to hear for poachers. So until further notice, In Russia, bring your rifle.
Russ Smith of Hunting World Wide, another hunting guide specializing in Russia and Asia, talked about preparing hunters for their hunts.
“The biggest thing is, everyone wants to know about the logistics. From getting there and back to transporting your trophies.“
After talking with Smith, the importance of asking the right questions to make sure you have the right gear. He sends a gear list to each of his hunters which also includes a limitation on the amount of ammunition hunters can bring with them. Trophy import and export permits are crucial for not just hunting in Russia and Asia, but anywhere in the world. Smith told me for species like the Marco Polo Sheep, there are only about 60 permits allowed each year for bringing those trophies back into the USA and he makes sure those are taken care of for his hunters.
Combine history, culture and an abundance of unique animals with some of the toughest terrain in the world, you might have to re-think what you know about hunting in Russia and Asia. Sight in your rifle, adventure awaits.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com