On a related topic, several subscribers have asked us if bad weather last winter harmed game populations in Mongolia. News accounts of heavy snows and dying livestock in Mongolia last winter are behind the questions apparently. The answer is, game came through the winter quite well, Galan says, except in a few areas. Few hunts will be affected, he says.
As rosy as all this sounds, we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't pass on the much less bullish opinions we got near press time from Purka Batmanh of Purka International Travel. Batmanh was a guide in Mongolia for 14 years before coming to the US and starting his own travel agency.
Batmanh is very downbeat about the elk prospects in Mongolia, citing recent widespread poaching and extensive forest fires several years ago. He says the latter displaced the elk far from their original habitat. "They are much more scattered now and harder to find," he writes. "I think it is irresponsible of agents to be sending elk hunters to Mongolia right now."