By Editor Barbara Crown with contributions from Assistant Editor Tim Jones
The Asian country every international mountain hunter seems to want to hear about is China. For the past several years, we've heard repeatedly that China will reopen to hunting any moment now. It hasn't happened . . .yet. At least not at this writing.
Near press time, an article appeared on a China news website reporting that permits had been approved for hunters to shoot blue sheep and Tibetan antelope. At The Hunting Report, we immediately received a number of phone calls and emails from hunters raring to go and wanting more information. As we told our Email Extra subscribers, unfortunately, despite the hopeful "news report," there just wasn't much hard information to pass on.
As this was written in late August, our contacts in China told us no permits had actually been issued. What did happen is that an advisory board voted to approve hunting permits for blue sheep and Tibetan gazelle (not, as reported, Tibetan antelope, which are not exportable). But this approval does not mean permits will actually be issued in the immediate future. Or any time, for that matter. The advisory board's decision is more like a recommendation. We were told that officials higher up in the administration would decide what, if any, action to take within 20 days.
The advisory board's vote made the news because of the public outcry and protest that lead to the suspension of all foreign hunting in China back in 2006. You may recall that the State Forestry Administration was going to institute a more transparent method of allocating permits to hunting operators by holding an auction. News that hunting permits for protected species were being sold resulted in an unexpected firestorm of protest. Although the ministry had been issuing hunting permits to foreign hunters for years, the general Chinese public was unaware and, apparently, could not grasp hunting as a conservation tool. Since 2006, the Chinese government has several times told hunt organizers that they would soon issue hunting permits, and, each time, The Hunting Report has reported those promises. But each time, those promises came and went without action.
When we have definite word that permits are indeed being issued, The Hunting Report will issue an Email Extra Bulletin with the information you need to jump on the opportunity. Readers who have not upgraded to Email Extra can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the news tips, but Email Extra subscribers always see them first. Until the Chinese authorities actually issue the permits, hunters can only wait patiently.
Moving on to Central Asia to another "hot" destination, continuing subscribers will recall the story we published this past January by J.Y. Jones on his experience in Iran. While this destination had been open for hunting for numerous years, US hunters had trouble going there due to US economic sanctions that prevented them from bringing back their trophies. Jones' story produced numerous phone calls and emails from US hunters wanting to know more. Among the questions we've fielded is whether returning hunters were able to import their trophies as Jones reported they would. The short answer is yes. Everyone who brought their trophies back as part of their personal baggage cleared them with no problems. Hunting Report subscriber Mark Hampton hunted in Iran just this past January (Report ID 8114), and brought several trophies back to the US. So, this is apparently no longer an issue for hunters from the US. Of course, hunters from other parts of the world are not affected by US trade restrictions with Iran.....