Why rifle permits were cancelled and how long they will remain that way is unclear at this writing, but it seems all but certain that the blue sheep season this winter is in trouble. We are following this story and will have more details in the next issue of The Hunting Report. In the meantime, if you are booked on a China hunt, get in touch with your agent before you make any more hunt preparations.
Our first word of the cancellation of rifle permits came in the form of a fax memo from Wang Wei dated February 20. The memo states bluntly that hunts for this year are cancelled and offers little hope for relief. Wei goes on to say he regrets the closure, but he is in no position to do anything to help clients "...make up their losses."
Reached at his offices in Virginia, Kern was much less gloomy about the closure, noting that similar closures have occurred for the last two years. The closure last year lasted two weeks. The closure before that lasted only three days, and was due to the fact that a high-level international meeting was being held in Beijing. All three closures appear to have been caused by security agencies in China reacting to some real or perceived threat. There is no indication that anti-hunting pressures have anything to do with them.
As this was written on February 20, 2004, Kern said he was confident that hunting will resume in China shortly, though perhaps not in time to rescue this year's blue sheep season. He said anyone booked with him had no reason to be concerned about the eventual return of........(continued)