Since 2001, the number of operators marketing tur hunts at the various hunting conventions has also increased. What is behind this surge of interest for a previously obscure species?
I placed a call to Dennis Camp- bell at GSCO to find out. Campbell told me that several important factors converged around 2001 to put tur in the sights of international hunters in a big way. To understand those factors, you need to understand where tur are found and what the species are, he says. Tur are a species of wild goat, or ibex, found only in the most formidable ranges of the Caucasus Mountains. These mountains run from the Baltic Sea in the west end all the way to the Caspian Sea in the east. The very peaks of the Caucasus form the border between Russia and Georgia for most of their length. The range ends in northern Azerbaijan, which borders Russia along the Caspian.
There are three species of tur. Dagestan (Eastern tur) are found from Azerbaijan up through the Caucasus of Russia in the republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and North Osetiya. The majority of hunting for Dagestan tur occurs in Azerbaijan, but there is also an established hunting area in North Osetiya. The Mid-Caucasian tur is located further west in the Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, and the hunting is based from the town of Nal'chik. The Kuban (Western) tur is found west of Mount El'brus, which is on the border of Kabardino-Balkariya and the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkesiya. Years ago, hunting for Kuban tur was conducted at the very western end of the Caucasus near Sochi on the Black Sea, but for political reasons, the area was closed and........(continued)