By Tim Jones, Managing Editor
We are indebted to our sister publication The Angling Report
) for first bringing this story to our attention. They have run several articles recently about an agent named Larry Bryant who, having supposedly arranged fishing trips on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, has instead skipped out with the deposits and left a number of anglers holding the bag.
Now, we've discovered he's pulled this same trick with several hunters and worse still, actually left them stranded in Petropavlovsk with no hunt forthcoming.
We received an email from James "Bim" Blake outlining the details: "I was invited to go with some friends into Russia because I have guided there in the past. When they told me the hunt was being arranged by Larry Bryant, I was shocked as he was first here in Alaska and had many problems, doing the same tricks here for many years before they got him shut down.
"He always has things changed and doing better and 'you're going to have a great trip,' etc., etc. But the truth is, he takes clients' money and runs, leaves them stranded, and continues to do this over and over again. I warned my friends, but they had already paid him. Amazingly, he called me the very next night after my friends told him what I said. He pulled the same con again, and he is very convincing. Told me I should come along and see what a great hunt he had laid out for my friends. Then maybe he could change my mind about all these past stories. He tried to get me to buy a hunt. I told him I would bring the money with me. Sure enough he didn't even show up to meet us in Russia. He had someone meet us there and we had to pay a huge fee to get delivered to the hotel where we were to wait for Larry. Only Larry never showed. E-mails and phone calls to him went unanswered. Ultimately, the hunters were out their money, plus their travel money wasted. I was lucky that I only lost my travel money, but that was still about $3,000, plus the time lost and wasted."
We then heard from Denis Yalkut, another hunter on that same trip, who told us, "Don't let Larry Bryant take your deposit! He took over $40,000 from eight of us who booked his Kamchatka hunt for sheep, moose and bear. We went to Russia to meet Larry for a hunt. He never showed for our hunt, and we were left stranded there for a week. It's the old bait-and-switch trick. If you show up, he won't, then you have to wait a week to fly back. The local guys try to sell you another hunt while you are there, and I guarantee it will be terrible!"
For now, a word to the wise should suffice; if you want to hunt in Russia, book only with a reputable agent with a track record for staging quality hunts there. There are several, all well-represented in our database. We are continuing to look into this story and attempting to contact Larry Bryant for his side of the story. If you see any advertisements from Larry Bryant, have had any dealings with him, or know anyone who has, please contact Barbara Crown at 800-272-5656 or Barbara@huntingreport.com.