As this issue went to press, some very bad news was emanating from the mid-Asian country of Mongolia. For starters, effective January 1 all elk hunting was shut down by the government. The official reason was to help end what has become an epidemic of poaching brought on by a deteriorating economy. Poaching, actually, is only one of many types of crime flourishing in Mongolia, but it is not a minor one by any means. Poachers are killing not only bull elk for their antlers, velvet and testicles, but also cow elk for their reproductive parts. A circumstance that aids and abets trafficking in animal parts is the fact that relations with China - the country that provides the biggest market for those animal parts - are so good these days the border between the two countries is wide open. Even the Chinese border guards are said to be profiting from the illicit trade. When they confiscate contraband animal parts, it seems, they put them up for auction and receive part of the proceeds rather than turning them over to their superiors.
Fortunately, the poaching to date has been confined to areas that are fairly close to the capital city, Ulan Bator, and that are open and flat and easily accessible by vehicle. Remote, mountainous, heavily forested areas have so far been affected very little. Huntable populations still exist in these areas and at press time moves were underfoot to try and get the hunting ban rescinded. There were preliminary indications that a quota might be created for foreign hunting clients. That was not certain by any means, however, and anyone eyeing an elk hunt in Mongolia should be careful.
In the meantime, elk results this past season were mediocre at best. I have that from Safari Outfitters, The Hunting Consortium and Cabela's Outdoor Adventures. The only agent who reported good success on elk was Purka Batman of Purka International Travel. Purka sent just two elk hunters to Mongolia, but they took 7 x 7 and 8 x 7 monsters. The key to his success was sending clients........(continued)