I booked the hunt through Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium, who arranged for me to have my favorite guide when hunting in Russian-speaking countries, Sergei Tishkovich. Tishkovich has guided me a half-dozen times throughout this region. We enjoy one another's company, and it's always good to meet up with an old friend whose dogged determination is to help you get a good trophy.
I flew via Delta Airlines direct from Atlanta to Moscow, then Sergei and I flew to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where we were met by the local representative of The Hunting Consortium. There were some delays there, as local authorities made us wait some time for a urial hunting permit. But after the difficulty on the two previous hunts I was quite willing to sit in a nice hotel where I could check e-mails and do some writing for a few days.
Only about 10 Afghan urial licenses become available each year, with hunts taking place in nature reserves along the Afghan border. Although Afghan urial are found through much of Afghanistan (where of course, you cannot hunt), there are also small populations in the southern parts of Tajikistan, Uzbe- kistan and Turkmenistan as well as the western border areas of Pakistan. Because of the hunting closure in Turkmenistan and the current security situation for westerners in Uzbekistan and Pakistan, Tajikistan is the only viable destination to hunt this species right now.
Once we finally had our permit, we were ferried by modern vehicle to the jump-off point two hours away down a paved road leading south, where we joined our local guide and driver for the journey to the hunting area. Our transportation was an ancient Russian jeep. Anyone who has hunted Russia or its spin-off republics is familiar with these vehicles. Ours was literally loaded down with supplies for the hunt.
There must be two seasons in southern Tajikistan: Dust and mud. Fortunately, we were........(continued)