Yes, there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of hunters who couldn't get to their hunting destinations the week of September 11, and that has created a huge, hard-to-swallow goose egg of obligation that agents and outfitters will have to get behind them in some way. And, yes, some hunting professionals make a specialty of parts of the world that are truly dicey. Most of them end in -stan, and you know which ones they are: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Word reaching us at press time was, hunts in all of those countries but Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan were on hold. Only Bob Kern of the Hunting Consortium said he viewed Tajikistan as a "cautious go" the last week of September.
As for the future, that's where the picture was a bit darker. My calls near press time picked up a general reluctance among hunters right now to put hard money down on future hunts all over the world. "My phone is just not ringing," is the way more than one agent put it September 27th. Opinion was pretty evenly divided as to where to assign blame for the reluctance to book new hunts. Some said the falling stock market was the cause; others blamed the possibility of war. I think the real culprit is the combination of the two hitting individuals at the same time.
But enough of the bad side of things. The good side is, most hunters appear to be standing fast on hunt obligations they made before the terror attack. And those who aren't standing fast are agreeing to be rolled forward to next year, or later in the season. What's remarkable is the scarcity of outright cancellations and the general readiness of just about everybody to work things out rather........(continued)