I noticed that many hunters prefer to deal not with intermediary travel agencies, but with outfitters, in our opinion, hunting users. Therefore, when a few years ago in Kamchatka land in the north of the peninsula, on the border with the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, was put up for auction, I decided to participate. The price was relatively small due to the fact that the logistics are very complicated, and in the end, over the next 49 years, he became a hunting user of 700 thousand hectares.
In general, when I took these lands, I began to count. It is correct to do the opposite - first count, and then act. But I simply did not have time to count - as in a joke: I have no time to think, I have to shake. And then - further, as in another joke, apparently, just lucky - the past season showed that everything was done correctly.
The grounds are a terrain with a varied relief - there are also mountains, although not as high and rocky as in central Kamchatka. They are rather gentle, rather hills. There are valleys here where elk are found. But in the north of the Kamchatka Territory, elk hunting is prohibited. Therefore, the whole reckoning on bighorn sheep and to a lesser extent on bears, since in the north of the region the bear is noticeably inferior in size to those found in the center and in the south, and their number is small. That is, it is advisable to consider a bear in these lands only as a passing trophy, since getting here is a serious problem. I do not know, unfortunately or for joy. Why to joy? Because it would be difficult to protect land in these places - there are no settlements here and it is impossible to recruit local employees, but it is the absence of the local population and the inaccessibility of land for non-local people that solves the problem with protection - it is simply not needed. But about how to get here with the hunter-client, I had some thoughts.
It is clear that Kamchatka hunting users, due to the fact that they live on the peninsula, use the same time-tested scheme for delivering clients to the north: first, they fly by plane to the village of Tilichiki, rent a large helicopter there and go to the lands on it. I was to fly there from Moscow. Having studied the alternative options, I came to the conclusion that it would be more convenient to get to the place through Anadyr. And from it already by helicopter.
The hunting season this year began at the end of July. And, accordingly, we flew from Moscow to Anadyr with one of the members of the CSC, Sergei Razzhivin, at the very end of July. Here, according to a preliminary agreement, the local hunter Ildar met us in a car, brought us to some garage cooperative, where we could change into camouflage. To my surprise, it turned out that the garage, in which civilian clothes were to be left, was decorated in such a way that you could at least spend the night in it. We did not need to spend the night, we quickly changed our clothes, and in the same car we were taken to the airport, where the helicopter was already waiting.
You need to understand that a helicopter is an expensive pleasure and, in order to minimize transport costs, I decided to conduct hunting in these places according to the principle of reasonable minimalism. Through trial and error, I have found the optimal formula for a hunter who is not afraid to be face to face with the wild. Firstly, delivery to the place is carried out by a Robinson helicopter - this is the cheapest option. The car is designed for three passengers, so we only fly together with the hunter - there are no cooks, camp workers, huntsmen-guides in this case. Accordingly, I undertake all their functions. The third passenger seat is for equipment.
Since we arrive at the place by helicopter, there is no point in landing in the valley and then wasting time climbing the mountains. We immediately disembark on the ridge and this usually happens in the afternoon, towards the evening. I managed to study the territory in advance - I flew there the year before last and last, looked and know where to look for sheep. Still, 700 thousand hectares is 70 by 100 kilometers, and you need to have a good idea of where and what can be found here.
Our landing was not the most successful. The weather pumped up - on the day of departure there was low cloud cover, and we could not land where we had planned. The pilots suggested waiting a day or two, but I know that in Kamchatka a day or two can easily turn into a week or two. Therefore, we flew without waiting. And the pilots were right. The highest mountains were shrouded in clouds, and it was constantly drizzling with a nasty rain. I had to land below, where I could land, or rather, sit down without turning off the engine - the helicopter.
They threw equipment on the ground and waved to the helicopter pilots. As soon as they left, we set up two single tents, which became our camp for the next two days.
The only advantage of this place was that there were streams nearby. There are no streams on the tops, and going down to them - it is 700-800 meters - is not the greatest pleasure. Therefore, I take with me 15 liters of water in plastic bottles, and this amount is usually enough for the entire duration of the hunt - it takes from one to three days, as a rule.
We threw our equipment into the tents, took all the essentials and immediately left for the rest of the day, making a rather long detour through the mountains. Usually I move along the ridges - it saves energy, I don't need to run up and down. Well, there is a good view from the ridge. Traces of animal activity on the neighboring slopes are clearly visible. An experienced person, having examined a place where no animals are currently visible, will always be able to get an idea of their presence, if he notices traces - paths trodden by animals, beds, and so on. From them he will understand how active the vital activity of the beast of interest to him is.
Neither on the first day nor on the second day did we even see females with lambs. There were traces, but such that left no doubt that at this time the rams must be looked for higher. We caught sight of several bears at a fairly large distance, but they did not interest us at all.
Two days later, the weather improved, and therefore a helicopter was called by satellite phone. Recently I have been using Iridiums, which have a navigation function. You send a point to the pilot, and he takes you where you are. Of course, you need to find a suitable seat, since not even "Robinson" can sit everywhere.
The new place, where they landed, was much higher and, accordingly, better in terms of hunting. Even on approach, we noticed a herd of females with young growth. When the helicopter “crouched” on the ridge, the animals ran away, but as soon as it flew away, they calmed down and continued to graze calmly. This fact more than lucidly indicated that the territory is wild, the animals here are not familiar with humans. It's just that last year I managed to hunt in Tuva and saw how female bighorn sheep with lambs rushed away, barely hearing somewhere in the distance the noise of a helicopter, which was still not visible.
We set up camp again - put up tents, looked at the calmly grazing herd and went to look for trophy stags. We were moving all the time along the ridge, periodically stopping to take some glasses.
Probably we walked about four kilometers, no more, and saw stag beetles. We approached them about three hundred meters already at dusk. The two males were very good. Sergei decided to shoot. I mounted my .338 LM carbine, and after firing one of the stags immediately fell. The second rushed down. I must say that Sergei shoots well and walks in the mountains very well, which, generally speaking, is a rarity.
I decided to spend one license on myself in advance, and when I saw the ram rushing off, I ran after it with my Blaser .300 WinMag in the hope that the beast would stop to look around. And so it happened. The ram stopped, and I fell on the ground with my chest and prepared to shoot. It was 360 meters before him, and he was much lower than me. I use a relatively inexpensive Winchestver cartridge with a bimetallic sleeve and a Ballistic Silvertip bullet. I put all the data of the cartridge from the Winchester company website into the Lake ballistic calculator, and at 500 meters I shoot quite confidently. The ram stood for a while and moved downstairs. The first shot hit him in the body, and with the second he hit the one who had already stopped.
Between the catch of one and the second ram, no more than ten minutes passed.
Of course, the first thing we did was take pictures with the trophies. Then they started cutting.
When we finished, it was already dark. We still had a decent walk to the tents, so we took one trophy and a piece of meat in order to return for the second the next day.
The weather was favorable, and the next day a helicopter was called. All morning we were busy dragging to the landing site what we could not pick up yesterday. In the afternoon, we said goodbye to the lands that gave us both a trophy.
We landed at the base of friends, about 300 kilometers from Anadyr. In fact, it is possible to use two bases - one in the form of a country house with all the amenities and a sauna, where we ended up. The other is an apartment in the village of Markovo. And depending on the situation, you can stay there or there - spend the night, wait for the weather, and so on.
At the base, the first thing they did was send the meat to the freezer, and the next morning I started processing the trophies - carefully removing and salting the skins for the cape, boiling the skulls.
For two days we waited for the wind to disperse the clouds, and as soon as the weather allowed, the same "Robinson" transferred us to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.
This time there were no adventures, flew out early and immediately sat down in a good place. That is, at the dominant height, on the ridge, from which several other ridges diverged, thanks to which we had the opportunity to explore a large territory without much hassle. We immediately set up tents and put the basic equipment in them. It was just lunchtime, and the rams do not graze at such hours. I offered to have a quiet lunch and then go. I definitely take a gas burner and freeze-dried foods to the mountains. I can’t be on top without hot food. Usually I buy a Rolton, but not our "beach packs", but a good one, of European quality. I like Aptonia very much - Kazhym Dzhumaliev got me hooked on it. We had a quiet lunch, checked the weapon and went in search.
Many rams were seen - more than three dozen, although at first they were unlucky for trophy ones.
We moved along the ridge and walked, probably, no more than two kilometers, when suddenly on the right, seven hundred meters away, we saw three rams of about the same trophy quality, one of which stood out a little for the better. The animals were clearly older than those that have come across until now. Sergei decided to shoot. He was ready to make a shot at these very 700 meters, but since there was an opportunity to come closer, I dissuaded him. We descended from the ridge to the left and moved forward under the cover of the ridge so as to climb up the ridge again and be just above the rams. In general, it was not far to go, but when we looked out from behind the ridge, it turned out that we were either mistaken in the distances, or the rams moved away a little. They were about two hundred meters away. Sergei looked and said that he would not even click with optics. He fired, the beast immediately fell. And before I had time to congratulate him, I suddenly notice that a group of rams with simply excellent horns is breaking down three hundred meters away from us! ..
What is there to do?! Shooting another one is too expensive. If I had licenses for my lands, then here - alas. How worried he was!
Then there was a photo session, butchering a ram ...
At night we sat on the top of the mountain, by the fire, had enough talk. It's generally great to sit at night in good weather on the top of such a mountain, around which there is not a single person for hundreds of kilometers. And the most important thing, perhaps, is that it was very comfortable to communicate with Sergei - this does not happen often.
No, it was not in vain that I participated in the auction...