Good news! The Chinese government has come up with a new gun-import-permitting system and is ready to start processing applications for visiting hunters. That eases the way for hunts to resume this fall. And there is more news still. Seems the government has authorized three new companies to market and arrange hunting trips to China.
Previously, China Wildlife Conservation Association (otherwise known as China Wildlife) was the only entity authorized to arrange hunts there, secure permits and line up hunting areas. Now, Zhenan Travel Company, China Forest Travel Services and China Women Travel Service will also be handling hunting trips. We received all of the above information right at press time from Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium, who told us he was still digesting the information himself when he called. One concern is the increased complexity of the procedure involved in obtaining a firearm and hunting permit. The new process is expected to take two to three weeks, he says. It will require hunters to provide their intended hunting companies a special "letter of authorization" containing a number of mandatory paragraphs and supporting documentation, including a copy of the hunter's passport, a "statement" of criminal record (or lack thereof) and a US Customs Form 4457. Kern says he and other booking agents will be able to assist interested hunters with all these documents. So, what are the implications of there being more than one hunting company? Prices for the various hunting programs in China are set and standardized by the government, so all four companies will ultimately be offering identical hunting itineraries. However, that does not mean all of them will have the same level of experience in composing and executing itineraries, or the same amount of knowledge of the hunting areas, Kern says. Also, some of the companies will surely be in a better position to add complex sightseeing itineraries to the standard hunting programs. As for the species and hunts available, Kern says his partners in China tell him most of the details of hunting in China remain unchanged from last year.........(continued)