Ambiguity over the upcoming season in Russia developed, you'll recall, because the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Nature Protection (equivalent to our EPA) are in a struggle for control of hunting in Russia. That turf battle led to a demand for new ecological assessments (game surveys) in each Russian province. A scientific committee has been appointed to review the assessments, which were due July 15. Our sources tell us a number of provinces did not make that deadline, however, and that caused the committee to push the report deadline back to July 25.
As we went to press, the committee was said to be reviewing the data they did have. The big question was whether their entire review and subsequent findings would be completed in time for the ministries to set seasons and bag limits and declare the season open by August 1, which is when the earliest hunt traditionally begins. One person we spoke with said he was optimistic because the Russians had a way of pushing everything through at the last minute.
Ultimately, the matter is simply too close to call at this point, and we aren't going to try. We will tell you one source we trust was saying a mid-August opening is his worse-case scenario. We hope he is right. Another source who happens to be a booking agent said he had decided to err on the side of caution and cancel all of his August hunts. Still other people we spoke with were hanging tough at press time and hoping for a normal opening.
Our advice is to stay in contact with your operator and to stay........(continued)