Maral stag hunting was once great in Mongolia, until the population crashed and the season closed. Well, there's a huntable population of these deer just to the north in Russia. Sergio Dimitrijevic of Safari International is offering hunts for free-ranging maral stag in the Lake Baikal region of southeastern Siberia. Lake Baikal is an UNESCO Wildlife Heritage Site and the deepest and oldest lake in the world. It is located just north of the Mongolian border.
Dimitrijevic offers a wilderness-type hunt near Baikal in September and October. The hunts are based from a rustic cabin and are conducted using horses to climb what he describes as small and thickly wooded mountains. Local game scouts serve as guides, who imitate the roar of a rutting stag using special calls made from tree bark. Hunting is by spotting and stalking. Dimitrijevic says hunters can see several stags per hunting period, with two or three shooting opportunities over a week's worth of stalking. The best hunting is during the rut, which typically runs from September 20 to the 30th. Rain and snow are common at this time of year, making waterproof clothing a necessity. Also, the region is riddled with streams that feed into the lake, and the ground is typically wet; so knee-high rubber boots are a must. Lodging is in a hunting cabin with no running water and an outside latrine. There is a Russian sauna for showers. Hunters must bring their own cold-weather sleeping bag. A camp cook prepares the meals and each hunter will have his own guide and horses. There is also an English-speaking interpreter in camp. Trips are for nine days with seven full days of hunting and cost $6,500. That includes hunting permits and one maral stag of any size. Not included is the $300 transfer to and from the airport in Irkutsk. That can be split with other hunters arriving at the same time. You'll need to add a hotel stay on each end of the trip, plus costs for a visa and weapon import permits. Trophies here are measured in European fashion by the........(continued)