Let me get the good things out of the way first. The area was spectacularly beautiful, with fall foliage approaching the peak of its autumn brilliance. We stayed in a very comfortable lodge with good beds, plenty of hot water for showers, central heating, tasty and abundant food, and good Crimean wines and beers. The two cooks and the attractive girl interpreter did everything possible to make us comfortable and contented. Unfortunately, however, their influence did not extend beyond the lodge, and that was where the problems were.
In the first place, we had absolutely wretched weather. I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is certainly a dark, rainy part of the world, but the weather here was worse than anything I had seen. It rained virtually nonstop the whole time. What's more, the guides were strictly meat hunters. They knew nothing about trophy hunting. They thought that if they showed us an animal with antlers - regardless of their size - we should be delighted to shoot it. They had no binoculars, and knew nothing whatsoever of spotting and stalking. The only technique they knew was driving, which they insisted on doing day after day even after it became very clear that the drives were futile. The booking agent, Denny Geurink of Outdoor Adventures had sent two groups to the same area several years........(continued)