Review Of Mongolian Elk Hunting


Published: February - 2004

Continuing subscribers will remember our reports a while back on maral stag (Asian elk) hunting in Mongolia. This species first became available to international hunters back in the 1980s when Chris Klineburger convinced the Mongolian government tourist agency, Juulchin, to organize it and offer it to international hunters. The first hunters enjoyed 100 percent success on 6 x 6 or better stags. At the time, the hunt was economically priced and in great demand. That continued to be the case for years, with the hunting becoming better organized and more professional until 1995, when Mongolia adopted a free-market system. That jerked the old Communist safety net out from under countless people, who were left without jobs and government assistance. A crime wave of sorts swept through the country, and one of those crimes was poaching elk for their antlers, velvet and testicles, which were readily sold in China for use in traditional aphrodisiacs.

The problem became so bad that the Mongolian parliament decided to close elk hunting in 1999 in an effort to protect the species. But without any real controls or enforcement, the move had no effect on poachers, and the parliament reinstated elk hunting in time for the 2000 season. What finally put an end to the extensive poaching about that time was a steep hike in the price of oil worldwide, which caused a 600 percent increase in fuel costs in Mongolia. Poachers could no longer afford to drive around in search of elk, and the illicit slaughter fell off dramatically.

What occasions this review of Mongolian elk hunting is a report we received from subscriber Jay Link, who recently hunted in Mongolia with Mongol Safaris, booking agent Safari Outfitters. Link says Mongolia's maral stag population is still in "rough" condition. He hunted about 160 miles southeast of Ulan Bator, where he found "spotty" numbers of elk. His outfitter had scouts looking for game for several weeks before Link's hunt, and the best they could find was a small band of stags. After glassing numerous valleys and mountainsides, Link shot the largest 6 x 6 he........(continued)

 
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