Hunting Closed For Urial in Turkmenistan


Published: February - 2006

Still in Asia, Turkmenistan seems to have closed hunting for urial. Technically, the hunting season this past fall was never authorized, and the spring 2006 season has not been authorized either. Operators are holding their breath in hopes that the season this fall will be opened.

Turkmenistan is of course the country where international hunters have been going for Trans-Caspian urial, and it is currently the only destination from where this species is importable to the US. The country is an oil-rich former Soviet Republic now ruled by an autocratic president who was "elected for life." Travel within Turkmenistan is very restricted, with many areas off-limits to both residents and visitors.

No one seems to know exactly why the hunting has not been authorized there. Our on-the-ground contacts could not (or would not) say, but we understand that the president has issued an executive order closing urial hunting. He issued the same such order six years ago for Bukharan markhor, which has never reopened. Some hunters speculate the Turkmen president is reserving the resources for his own uses. Officially, the word is that the problem is one of "ministerial bureaucracy" - a familiar theme these days in lost hunting opportunities.

Whatever the reasons for Turkmenistan's failure to open hunting, agents who book this destination are either applying hunt payments to other destinations or refunding monies to their clients. Some are still hoping for the fall season to open. Unfortunately, the only other place to hunt Trans-Caspian urial now is Iran, which of course is off-limits to Americans. And the current political climate there makes it a dicey destination for all Westerners right now.

........(continued)

 
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