The bottom line is, the Mongolian hunting industry has begun to organize itself in a way it never has before. Ankhbayar says they are creating a professional hunting association and have just applied to establish a Mongolia SCI chapter. Also, he says he has been nominated to sit on the executive committee of the International Professional Hunters Association, which will become involved in Mongolian hunting issues. Mongolian operators are recognizing that the more organized they are, the better they will be able to fight the anti-hunting lobby.
So, what about the reopening of maral stag in Mongolia? You may remember maral stag hunting was closed two years ago due to the effects of poaching and a record harsh winter that decimated the population. A transplant program since then, plus improved anti-poaching efforts, have helped populations recover. Batsuk Delgersuren of Mongolian Travel/Juulchin tells me maral stag hunting will remain closed in 2007, but he is hopeful for 2008. It was telling that the Mongolian operators I visited on the SCI floor included maral stag hunts and packages in their marketing materials, although they readily admitted that they were not currently booking those hunts. All said they simply wanted to keep hunters interested until maral stag is available again.