The Markhor Hunt In Pakistan That Opened The Way For US Hunters


Published: December - 2007

A wave of excitement rippled through the US hunting community last month when the US Fish & Wildlife Service awarded an import permit for a Kashmir (flare-horned) markhor to subscriber Wayne Lau. The question on everyone's lips was whether this meant the flood gates had been opened to US hunters as regards markhor. The short answer is: Yes, but.

You can read all about the import matter and what it means for the future by turning to the December 2007 issue of Conservation Force Bulletin. Here, I'll tell you a bit about Wayne Lau's hunt. I should note first that Lau purposefully completed his hunt for a Kashmir markhor just so Jackson could get the service to review and recognize Pakistan's markhor conservation programs.

The Kashmir markhor are found in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It is the largest and most highly sought after variety, with horns that often exceed 40 inches in length. The Kashmir's range stretches from the northern Pakistan/Afghanistan border eastward where it overlaps with Astor territory, which extends into the disputed Kashmir region between Pakistan and India.

Lau hunted his Kashmir markhor in March 2006 with Karakurum Treks & Tours, a company we have featured in these pages before. Outfitter Anchan Ali Mirza's family once ruled a kingdom here in the mountains near K-2, the world's second highest mountain, so he has excellent connections in this region. Lau traveled to Chitral twice with the intention of taking a markhor with a bow. Reaching Chitral and the hunt area beyond requires getting through or over the Lowari Pass, which can be snowed-in during the months of February and March, when Lau was there. The easiest way to reach Chitral is by plane, but bad whether can delay flights for days at a time. This is common in the northern reaches of NWFP, so hunters going there need to be flexible.

Once he got to the hunt area, Lau says they were greeted by a group of about 10 local guides, none of whom were familiar........(continued)

 
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