Continuing subscribers know that we have been following the up-and-down developments around Marco Polo sheep hunting in Tajikistan for over a year now. We had warned that, despite announcements and promises, Tajikistan delayed officially opening the sheep season this year and was tardy in sending USFWS the sheep population data that agency requires to make a "non-detriment" finding before it will issue import permits to US hunters. In mid-September, at the 11th hour, Tajikistan got the information to USFWS officials. Not until November did the agency determine it would issue permits.
Unfortunately, that was too late for a number of hunters who were scheduled to fly to Tajikistan only days before Carpenter's e-mail. While a US hunter is free to hunt Marco Polo without an import permit, the trophy cannot enter the United States without one. Most hunters are understandably unwilling to hunt without an import permit in hand. Despite that, booking agent Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium was so confident that USFWS would indeed issue the permits that he accompanied several US hunters to Tajikistan in October. "We saw more than 1,500 sheep every day," he says, "including more than 300 rams each day. The four trophies taken measured 55, 56, 57 and 58 inches." Kern promised to get us photographs for our online Trophy Gallery.
Carpenter confirmed that US hunters approved for a permit would be able to import their trophy as long as they hunted during the legal sheep season, September 15, 2010 through March 31, 2011. If you........(continued)