So, what exactly is the problem that has caused a second possible closure of hunting (or failure to open) in as many years? The reasons are multiple and complex, but they include a trend in Moscow toward centralizing control of wildlife management; bureaucratic wrangling; a growing bias on the part of resident hunters against international trophy hunters; and growing anti-hunting influences in the government.
A presenting problem, we are told, is the failure of the Russian federal government to gear up for the population surveys it requires in order to open the hunting season. Last year, you'll remember, federal authorities rejected surveys conducted by regional wildlife officials. And they did not open the season until new surveys were completed.
One bit of good news is the fact that the Russian outfitter community has begun to get organized and reach out to hunting organizations such as SCI, FNAWS/ISHA and others to develop a plan to lobby, educate and influence law makers and ministerial representatives. They also plan to reach out to international hunters with a unified body of information on hunting in Russia, including information in English on hunting regulations, permit information, season dates, etc. To accomplish this, they have created the Federation of Hunting and Angling Tourism, or FORT for short in Russian. Their stated goal is to further "the development of the modern market for hunting and angling services in Russia; the formation of a positive public opinion on various hunting and angling issues; coordination of activities of different individuals, companies, agencies and organizations in promotion of hunting and fishing as........(continued)