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Czech Republic 2019

I want to note the high level of the organization of this trip and high density of animals. I’ve got the trophy of mouflon, three roes and the deer. Thank you very much to Igor Raevsky.

Dagestan Tur

Height: 3500 masl. Distance: 408 meters. Rifle: Sauer 404, cal. 7 mm Rem Mag.

Hunt on Chukotka

I hunted on Chukotka from September 13th to 15th and got Koryak Snow Sheep. We found two males on the second. It took us four hours to approach one of them. I fired from the distance 320 meters. The hunt wasn’t easy.

Hunting for Kolyma snow sheep

The hunt was organized in the very professional way and was over in the first day. Thanks to Konstantin and his team. I got the sheep by the first accurate shot from the distance 604 meters.

Hunting for the Snow Sheep on the Kharaulakh ridge

The idea to write this article was born when the results of genome researches of the Kharaulakh ridge snow sheep had been published. This work was done by the scientists from the All-Russia Research Institute for Animal Husbandry named after Academy Member L. K. Ernst. Russian scientists submitted that snow sheep, which habitat on the Kharaulakh ridge, can belong to the separate subspecies of the Snow Sheep. Being the hunter and the researcher at heart I was interested in it and wanted to obtain the additional data about that species. So, my friends and I organized the expedition to the north of Yakutia at the end of August 2019. It took us nine month to prepare for this trip. We asked Alexander Borisov, a well-known Yakut hunter and local historian, to help to organize it. Unfortunately he tragically died and we encountered first difficulties. The son of Alexander, Ilya suggested his help. He is a young but responsible guy, who is worthy to continue his father’s business. We coordinated the dates, defined goals, got all necessary licenses for hunting for the snow sheep and contacted with the local hunting company which had hunting area in the interested area. I has to note that the logistic was tricky. We flew directly from Moscow while the local outfitters arrived by the domestic flights from Yakutsk to Tiksi. It was the difficult task because our domestic flights leaves much to be desired by the quality of the planes and the regularity of the schedule. But Ilya and his cameraman could arrived in time and we met each other on August 28th. Vladimir Alekseev, the directror of the company MUP “Primorsky”, which had the hunting area where we were going to hunt, met us in the airport. The helicopter delivered us from the airport to the base camp and it took us an hour and a half. The weather at the end of August was sunny like in summer but there were frosts at nights. Summer at that land is very short, the last snow cover melts in June and a new one can fell in August. The hunting grounds cover an area of about 1 million hectares. The main hunting games are wild reindeers, snow sheep and moose. Those area is the habitat of such predators as bears, wolfs and wolverines. The mountain ridge isn’t really high, some peaks are about 1000 masl. with gentle slopes and they are easy to hike there. The Khara-Ulakh river was full-flowing at that period of time. It was difficult and dangerous to cross it by foot because of the speedy stream and unknown and deep bottom. Vladimir send two ATVs to that place beforehand which we used for this purpose. The local deers’ shepherds waited for us on the base. These guys became our guides and did it for the first time in their lives. They tried to do their best to help us to hunt successfully and to have a good time but we wouldn’t talk about their professional training. They live in the traditional way and don’t suspect about the quality standards which is normal and used in the trophy hunting trips. It doesn't detract from their desire to develop, in this new for them, kind of the activity. I’m sure that next time they’ll take into account all our recommendations and organize everything in right way. We didn’t pay much attention to those difficulties because brought all necessary equipment with us, including the camp and food and were fully autonomic. There aren’t much choice of goods in Tiksi’s shop and you have to remember it. The weather was nice and it eased our stay there. In the first day we accounted 7 animals which grazed on the nearest slopes. I has to note that during three days we saw 72 individuals, and female with lambs were less than one third of the total number. Almost all females were with babies, which is a good sign for the stable development of the population. Being once in some habitats of Okhotsk Snow Sheep I spent several days or even weeks and didn’t see any sign of these animals. But here the picture was different we met sheep which belong to different age and sex in almost all mountain circuses and on the each ridge. The locals said us that there were lots of bears but we saw just one female with the cub. Moreover we didn’t find any bear’s tracks. We were lucky to observe a rare natural phenomenon –the aurora which happened in the frost, uncloudy night. The local community has pastures where they keep 4K herd of caribous. This activity is the traditional for those people. Once the herd size was more than 40K caribous but now they are lucky that has what they have. Republican authority supports the reindeer husbandry though the process of salesl finished products is very complicated. The administration has given them money to buy the mobile slaughterhouse, to procure venison. Telling the truth none of the serious and reliable scientific researches were done there. I've found the results of the aerial survey made in 2010, but can’t judge its reliability. Nobody can imagine or difine the resource base of the snow sheep in that area. I can characterize it like a good one. I hadn’t met such high population density among snow sheep. 72 animals dwell on the area 25 square km. It’s a good result. During the rut season, which starts at the end ofn November the locals have seen the groups of 40 and more sheep. The average temperature at that time is -50C and animals migrate to the southern part of the region. I asked our guides about the salt licks, which attracted animals but they didn’t understand what I was asking about but then discussed it and told us that there were some places where sheep came to lick the ground. We took four adult males in the first day and one more and the biggest one Ilya shot on the next day, not far from the base camp. We took genetic materials and made morphological measurements of animals. All individuals were well-developed with thick subcutaneous fat layer. The condition of habitat there is really harsh but local vegetation is nutrient enough for them to stay and hibernate. The depth of snow cover is different but some years it can reach several meters. Also it’s evident that animals migrate to the winter pastures which are more available during the winter. The local shepherds and hunters get sheep and nobody knows the correct number but I don’t judge them. They live there for centuries and hunting is their traditional activity, they use all parts of the animals and nothing is wasted. There are lots of people who criticize everything though they don’t have any right and knowledge to do it. It’s clear for me that the local community is interested in the protection and the reasonable use of this natural resource. The development of the trophy hunting is the most effective tool which will help to reach this goal. But we need to do a lot! We have to start from collecting full and detailed data about the population density of the Snow Sheep in the Kharaulakh ridge. The state and scientific departments of Yakutia are experienced enough to definitely volume of seizures All decisions concerning wildlife must be the base on the evidence-based and reasonable approach. The work, to research and probably the scientific recognition as a separate subspecies of the snow sheep of the Kharaulakh range, can give serious potential for the development of trophy hunting. I assume that, the scientific work and trophy hunts can give the new impulse of the development for the local communities, which locate in one of the most remote region on the north of Yakutia. It will give them the new source of income which helps to create the new infrastructure, buy new technic and create new jobs. These factors will improve the economic indicator of the region. This remote territory is far from everything but it won’t be the obstacles for the real trophy hunters. They are ready to pay money to the local companies for their service and it’ll be the impulse for their development. In September of this year a young scientist Arsen Dotzev, from the the All-Russia Research Institute for Animal Husbandry with the support of our CMH will take part in the international symposium devoted to the wild sheep of the world and organized by the Wild sheep foundation of USA. Arsen will make a detailed report on the results of the study of the snow sheep of Russia and also told about the results of the gen research of Kharaulakh ridge sheep. We have to implement modern practices which exist and are used in the world. Our role is to teach people how to organize such kind of hunts. Not all hunters are ready to endure the absence of elementary conditions when they pay money. And if we want to correspond to the international level and be attractive to professional hunters from all over the world we have to make serious work to prepare and hold hunting expeditions on the high quality level. I made a commitment to prepare the detailed instruction how to hold the different kinds of hunting trips. It pushed me to thought to write the quality criteria for such expeditions and I promise that we’ll prepare and published them on our site. In the conclusion I want to say that I realize that most of the things we are making are the results of discussions and not all of people share our opinion but I don’t pretend to make a final stand but respect any professional opinion and open for any advice. Lots of initiatives of our Club are the results of discussion of experts and people who are interested in this theme. It’s known facts the most of the people who used to take part in such discussions don’t have full information and doubt in everything. There are some guys who call for boycott of all Club’s initiatives. Let's leave it to their conscience. The CMH implements a number of educational, scientific and environmental projects in Russia and we do it just because believe in their expediency and usefulness. We’ll be glad to take part in any professional and productive meetings as it was not once in Ministry of Natural Resources and on the other panel discussions. We wrote about our initiative concerning the on restoration of number of population of Bezoar Ibexes and Chamois on the Caucasus and about the creation of separate population of the Crimean Chamois. All these projects have different results. The CMH provided financial support to the scientific expedition of the “Centrokhotkontrol" to study the opportunities and expediency of introduction of Chamois to the southern mountains of Crimea. After the detailed analyses of the results the commission made the decision to refuse to implement this project. Any initiative and any interference to wildlife have to be based on the environmental expertise and science-based analyses. We fully realize it and agreed with such decision of the scientists. But in any case the accomplished work was not in vain because the scientists had great opportunity to study the nature of Crimea. The Caucasian project is still active. We highly appreciate the help of Chermen Mamiev- the head of the Ministry of natural resources and ecology of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania and Zar Sozanov-the head of the North Ossetian state experimental hunting company. They take very active part in our project. Thank you very much to the Hunting Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources, FGU “Centokhotkontol”, VNII “Ecology”, “DeerLand Company” of Sergey Aliskerov. In October we’ll start to build the corral complex and write about it in one of our new magazines “ The Magic of Real Safari”. Respectfully yours, Edward Bendersky- President of the Club of Mountain Hunters.

The official accession

I’m glad to become the official member of the Club and join my friends.At the beginning of the century I hunted for Ibexes in the Sayan Mountains but my upbringing didn’t allow me to ask for the membership on the past achievements.Thanks to the invitation of Artem Molchanov and the technical supports of Edward Bendersky I could hunt in the Magadan region.It was the express hunt which took just four days including the way and the pure hunt. The hunt is more worthy because nobody did the preliminary scouting and the last hunt was organized in that area 5 years ago.Early morning we divided into two groups and went to opposite destinations. In the first day I and my local guides went about 25km and saw about 27 animals but all of them were females or young males. The locals call them banana’s sheep which reminds the original Russian word "sheep" but sounds funny. Next day we decided to go back to the base camp and moved to another region but detected the group of 6 males while returning. Two of them had trophy size.I fired from the lying position and used Blazer 300 WM. The shooting distance was 180 m.It wasn’t the biggest trophy but got me lots of positive emotions and was very tasty. We cooked its meat for the dinner.Thank you very much to Arzhan for his support, interesting conversations about policy and sport and for his tempo of moving. Also great thanks to Sergey Rudakov for his attention which is the characteristic of Siberians.

The continuation of the Spanish express

It was the interesting hunt for the Barbary Sheep. The guides were sure in 100% of success. But the extra self-confidence had failed us. The whole day we saw just females and the first group of  28 males was detected just in the evening. It was dusk. There were two trophy size males in that herd and we had to remember that females also had horns. The distances to the group was 300 meters and it wasn’t easy to find the needed male through the optics. The guides argued which was the best one. My nerves broke down. It was getting dark by each minute, I had to shoot and I did it. The sheep sat down to its ass and didn’t move. The PH said that we couldn’t take t it from the place where it was, and need to ask for the chopper. I noticed that the sheep stood up and started to went slowly around and fired the second time. I hit to its neck and it fall like a stone from the rock. It was unexpected! It fall to the bottom of the gorge and the guides told that we couldn’t descend there today, too dark. We found it  the next morning. A day before I hunted for the Pyrenean Chamois. I had the feeling that the hunt took place in the winter. It was wind, and snowstorm. Next day the weather had changed and I could get the trophy from the distance 280 meteres. I was charmed by the beauty of  Asturias by its green and nature. It reminded me Abkhazia but too wet and chilly. I got the trophy from the distance 100 meters though they said that the Cantabrian Chamois was the most difficult trophy.

Hunt for the Mallorcan Wild Goat

I got the Mallorcan Wild Goat on Majorca in the Tramontana mountains. Everything was organized pretty well. The hunt was nice and easy. I used the rented gun and the shooting distance was about 20-25 meters.

Hunt for Kamchatka Snow Sheep

In August 2019 I hunted in the Central part of Kamchatka in the Milkovo region. The outfitter was EVENTUS Company. The guides and I were delivered by helicopter to the hunting area where we spent 3 days hunting in the autonomous regime. At last after the long morning climbing we detected the trophy size male which I got by the first and accurate shot.

The Desert Ibex. The motto of this hunt is -"We must hurry slowly."

I will start my story from the place where we’ve stopped the last time. The habitat of the Desert Ibex was in 40 minutes’ drive from our camp where we hunted for the Kerman Sheep. I wrote about it in my last report.So, next morning after taking the trophy of the Kerman Sheep we moved to the area where were going to hunt for the Desert Ibex. A Desert Ibex is a mountain ungulate with the weight about 30-40 kg and about 70 sm height at shoulder. It reminds the European Chamois with big horns, that’s why the kill zone is not more than 15 sm and you need to remember it.After arrival we detected the group of animals which located on the one of the mountain’s top but they were far from us. It consisted of females and wasn’t interesting for us. The distance between us was about 1,5 km. Later we noticed that a Desert Ibex is very sensitive and timid animal and doesn’t allow a hunter to approach less than 1 km. It’s very interesting but Ibexes in Iran can distinguish people who pose the danger for them from the others. When the locals do the agricultural works or carry woods or something else ibexes can come to them to 300 meters and less.The first hunting day was almost over when we spotted the trophy size male in 800 m from us, then it came even close to 500 m while I was looking for the place from where could shoot. The angle was 16 degrees. I fired twice and missed both. The Ibex which was safe and sound didn’t waste time and left us and we were left with nothing. I didn’t know the reason, it could be not correct setting or I hadn't measured the distance well but the luck wasn’t on our side at that time. The soil there was very dry and the dust cloud lifted each time when I shot. So we couldn’t see the trajectory of the bullet after the first shot. Analyzing video later we all saw that it passed in 15-20 sm above the animal. It proves my idea that we didn’t measure the distance well.After this accident I suggested to check the gun once again and fired to the long distance. The first check, we did, was on 300 meters. We were afraid that there were some problems with the gun or the sight. The check on the distance 100 meters showed that everything was ok like the others long-range shooting. Then we checked the binoculars and the rangefinder. The problem was that I didn’t use them.Next day we started at 7 am. You know that the expectation for getting the huge trophy reduces each day but the desire to get the outstanding trophy was still alive and I hoped. We hiked for a while when detected the group of Ibexes, the guide Murad measured the distance and said we I could try to get the trophy from 1100 meters but the problem was that there weren’t big males and we decided not to approach and come back to the gorge. 2 or 3 groups of animals were seen there a few days ago. We moved to the place which the locals called “The Garden”, because there were fresh grass and some springs, so it looked like paradise on the contrast with the dry relief of the mountains which surrounded that place. The scouts informed us that noticed the group of male and some of them were good enough.Soon we found it. The male, we were interested in, grazed in 900 meters from us. It’s body was hidden behind the rock but I could judge about it’ size by the potent neck and effective horns. I started to prepare for a shot. The shooting position looked comfortable from the one side because I put the gun on the big stone but it wasn’t so from the other because the stone was too big and I had to rise while shooting. It could be the reason of the offset view and it is important when you shoot for such distances. I wanted to finish the game in two day , hurried and missed once again.I fired one more time in that day and also missed. The sun shined to the slope and I could the aim well.The day was nearing sunset and next morning we were going to leave that area, that’s why we decided to hunt as long as possible and try to get the trophy is such not easy conditions. Unfortunately this hunt wasn’t successful and I couldn’t stay there for more days but the circumstances were such.The most important thing to draw conclusions, take the mistakes, improve them and come back before the end of the season. So I flew back to home from Iran just with the one trophy, not two as planned but going to visit that area once again and I’ll be another story.

Yakutia Snow Sheep

I opened hunting season 2019 in the Yakutia mountains. My goal was to get the trophy of the Yakutia Snow Sheep. Three year I studied the market of hunts in Yakutia and chose the Club “Sonor” and its’ leader Spiridon Starostin. Spiridon is the experienced mountains hunter and know all nuances of the successful hunt. It took us 15 hours to get to the base camp by car, including  ferries across Lena and Aldan rivers. Next day we drove further to the hunting area and used the special cars. In the first day we moved about 15 km and gained about 1 km altitude but didn’t meet good trophies. Day #2 we moved to another place. Day #3. In the evening I got my trophy from the distance 300 meters and shot with angle 25 degrees. It was 13 years old male. The used rifle was Blaser R8 300 WM. We came back to the camp in the late night about 2 am next day. Thank you to Spiridon and his team for the great organization of the hunt.

Opening of the hunting season in Sayan.

I opened the hunting season in Sayan. It was like from the shop ad “All by the same price”.  5 hours we flew to the place, then sailed 5 hours by boat, and climbed 5 hours.  There was enough food for all animals and the average temperature was high +30C  that’s why all big males, I was interested in , preferred to stay on the tops. Early morning we detected the group of 50 Ibexes which grazed on the top. We could go around and approached them the distance less than 100 meters.  My adrenaline was as high as if I shot from the distance 700 meters. I fired and got it. Thank you very much to V. Dorovsky and the guide Vladimir ( he is know after the video of Sergey Mazurkevich) for the organization of the hunt.

Karachay Cherkessia 12.08.2018

I knew the place where hunted.  The first shot was done from the distance 650 meters and I missed it. The angle of the shot was too high and the chamois  moved behind the bush.  The second trophy, we detected, was in 300 meters from us. I shot twice and got it. I liked the hunt’s organization  and the trophy what I got.

The Nubian ibex. South Africa 03.07.2009

After the previous hunt we arrived to the hotel in Hope Town at 2 pm. The hunting area was in 40 minutes’ drive and we moved there not to waste time. We walked about an hour and a half when detected a male in 50 meters from us. I was ready to shot but the PH asked me to walk 5 meters aside and put the tripod. I followed his advice but the Ibex raw away and we didn’t spot it till night. I had to fire immediately when noticed him and we didn’t lose so much time. I came to the conclusion during the next 8 hunting days that the only shot from 300 WM was enough to the most of big antelopes such as Sable or wildebeest .Next day we spent two hours looking for the Ibex and detected the trophy in 70-80 meters from us. I fired twice and got it. It was my 14th Ibex. The hunt wasn’t difficult.

Hunting for the Caucasus Chamois and Carlo Caldesi Award 2019!

I opened the world of the Mountains hunts in 2017 together with my son. The first trophy which we had chosen was the Caucasus Chamois. I had long dreamed to take this graceful animal. The hunting process was like in the classical book. We climbed, detected the animal and approached. The most important moment was that our trophy had amazing qualities. We brought it down very carefully and made lots of pictures. The biggest surprise was the results of its measure.After the taxidermy it was measured once again by the official specialist of SCI. I asked Julia Zvereva to help me with it. It got the champion points and updated the record. We discussed everything and send papers for the award of SCI “Trophy of the Year” and Italian Carlo Caldesi Award. The strict jury awarded Carlo Caldesi Award. The Awards was in Neapol in the frames of the 34th SCI Convention of Italy. Lots of outstanding hunters and outfitters from all around the world were invited to that Meeting. The program of the meeting was very interesting and eventful. The organizers included in its some excursions, shooting to the “ running boar”, yachting in the Neapolitan bay and tasty dinners. The descendants of the famous hunter: Lodovico Caldesi, Livia Caldesi, Vincenta Caldesi were also invited. I has to note that hunting with kids gives much more emotions and different feelings. You feel all difficulties, victories and failures in the different way. You feel like the head of the tribe who has to share your knowledge, skills and teach to take responsibility to the wild nature.

Hunt for Dagestan Tur in Azerbaijan

I got the trophy of the 14 years old male on the third day of the hunt. The shooting distance was 350m and I had to fire at an angle down.  The Tur jumped after the shot, I fired to the laying male, turned and ran over the mountain. We had to watch video to be sure that I hit it. The guides prohibited to go down to the trophy because of the steepness. Thus, I have the picture just with the skin and horns.