Subscriber W. Campbell at Saidi Tagnob Conservancy in Tajikistan during December.
By Justin Jones, Assistant Editor
Subscriber W. Campbell submitted a report (10769
) on a December hunt for Bukharan markhor on Tajikistan's Saidi Tagnob Conservancy booked with Neal and Brownlee (www.nealandbrownlee.com
; 918-299-3580). Campbell also took Bukharan (Afghan) urial on another conservancy. We have covered the development of markhor hunting in conservancies in Tajikistan since the first hunt on the Zighar Conservancy in 2014 (see Articles 3567
). The conservancies have made excellent progress in protecting markhor, urial and snow leopard populations, and are now managed through a cooperative group called the Hunting and Conservation Alliance of Tajikistan. Conservation Force has also done invaluable work supporting the conservancies in Tajikistan and Pakistan, including successful efforts to allow the import of trophies (see www.conservationforce.org/markhor
Campbell calls this hunt "the adventure of a lifetime," saying that he spotted numerous markhor and urial in spectacular terrain. While we weren't able to get in touch with Campbell, who is traveling for an extended period, we did get an account that he wrote of his trip.
Campbell found the flight from Istanbul to Dushanbe mysteriously delayed for five days, but the operators in Tajikistan made alternate arrangements. From Dushanbe, Campbell was driven five hours to Kisht on the border with Afghanistan, where he met with the rangers and guides who patrol Saidi Tagnob.
"I had the only permit for this area for 2016, the third granted to Saidi Tagnob," writes Campbell. "This conservancy was one of the first, established by two families in 2008. It covers nearly 50,000 acres. The population of markhor has increased from 40 animals to around 400. I saw around 150 markhor."
For accommodations, Campbell slept on a cot in a sod-roofed dugout in a hillside, accessed by a four-hour hike from the Panj River. He calls the terrain a mix of mud, snow and eroding rock.