Fortunately, this kind of chicanery and foolishness appears to be over in Mongolia. A relatively stable hunting industry has emerged and game numbers are good overall. Sheep are doing particularly well, according to Mike Frisina, a wildlife biologist with the State of Montana, who recently completed a one-month study of argali populations in the Altai. He saw over 500 sheep in the Altai and Hangai Mountains, including many large rams. Furthermore, he reported a very high level of outfitting and service, certainly much higher than on his previous visit in 1993. He attributes the improvement to efforts by the new democratic government to privatize the hunting business and much of the rest of Mongolia's economy. Furthermore, he found no evidence of sheep poaching, and is convinced that the future of sheep populations in Mongolia lies in hunting, as local people will protect the sheep if they can see good money in them.
As regards actual results from this past season, visiting hunters enjoyed 100 percent success on High Altai argalis. Trophies averaged about 55 inches, and agent Gregg Severinson of Cabela's Outdoor Adventures says one of his clients took a 60-inch ram with 22-inch bases. The quality of sheep trophies was uniformly high because of the low harvest in recent years, a situation brought about by the severely limited number of permits. Only 35........(continued)