Last year, a number of would-be Mongolia hunters were indeed not able to get ibex and argali permits. And the reasons for that are pretty clear-cut. First, ibex permits were cut after the SCI convention last year by a third, going from 300 permits to only 200. And Argali permits were cut from 80 to 60. That meant that a number of agents who sold hunts on the floor of the SCI convention could not get permits for all of their clients. Another complication was a political crisis in the Mongolian government that led to delays and some disorganization in the way permits were issued. That prompted rumors that argali permits were being recalled or cancelled. As for the hoof-and-mouth disease rumors, there was indeed a reported outbreak among domestic animals in some hunting areas after the season had already started. The Mongolian government, we are told, closed those areas down only to conclude three weeks later that no such outbreak existed. The areas in question re-opened, but hunts had been cancelled in the interim.
So, what should you do this year if Mongolia is in your plans? Everyone we spoke to about this warned hunters to be careful when booking a trip to Mongolia. When booking with an agent, find out who the operator is and ask for written confirmation that a permit will be available. The truth is some marginal agents have been selling Mongolia without the connections to secure necessary permits. Our advice is to book with an established agent or directly with an operator. If you do your homework properly, you should not have a problem.