The complete guide to hunting in Tajikistan
- Credit: Archant
Is your dream to hunt monster wild boar in challenging, remote yet stunning landscapes? Then head to Tajikistan for the hunting adventure of a lifetime! Tony Jackson advises
Make no mistake, this is a hunt for the hardy, the tough and adventurous... but the rewards are worth the effort! If you are serious about hunting really big wild boar or massive ibex then Tajikistan is a prime destination. This land-locked country of 55,000 sq miles in Central Asia - a region of high-peaked mountains, valleys, lakes, scattered villages and towns - has a population of only 8.7 million and is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north and China to the east. Tajikistan is a remote and wild country and that is one reason why there are still big boars to be hunted and outstanding ibex. The capital is Dushanbe.
THE BEST HUNTING AGENT IN TAJIKISTAN
The agent for hunting in Tajikistan is Renaud Desgrees du Lou, who lives in Morocco, speaks English and has a vast and comprehensive knowledge of mountain hunting in Asia. He has been operating as a hunting agent since 1985 and, in conjunction with US hunting travel agencies, organised big game hunting on the Tibetan plateau where he shot argali and blue sheep. He then organised hunting in the Kamchatka peninsula, in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Following the collapse of the USSR, he acquired an in-depth knowledge of this part of Central Asia and now, apart from guiding hunters in Tajikistan, also guides clients in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Cameroon. In addition, Renaud is hoping to open up hunting in Morocco to include Barbary sheep. To contact him see below.
WILD BOAR HUNTING IN TAJIKISTAN
It is important to understand that if you wish to shoot a large number of wild boar then Tajikistan is not for you, but if you are seeking really big keilers in a wild, natural setting - animals which are roaming freely - then this remote country is well worth the effort. In summer or the beginning of autumn, depending on the season for crops and fruit, massive boars can be encountered by ambush hunting under moonlight or during the day.
If, however, you prefer to stalk or take part in a drive, then the autumn and winter months from November till March are the preferred time when the high ground is snow-covered. In this part of the world the winters are not so cold, but when it's frozen during the night and thaws in the daytime wild boars emerge to feed on the lower ground and are then more easily seen and can be stalked. In addition, when the first snows arrive on the high ground the animals are forced down to lower altitudes, and the males are then seeking females to mate.
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It is sometimes necessary to engage two or three beaters with dogs from a local village to drive a valley and push boars to higher altitudes where hunters are waiting for a suitable shot. Distances are usually from 100m to 300m.
An ideal party is from four to six hunters as larger groups are more difficult to manage, or they have to be divided into two parties and sent to different hunting areas. The best regions for wild boar are situated between Dushanbe, the capital, and the Pandj river to the south of the country.
WOLF/FOX HUNTING IN TAJIKISTAN
There are numerous wolves and foxes, and one can shoot as many as you like, but if you wish to take a wolf pelt back to the UK you will be charged €1,000 and, in addition, will have to discover whether a CITES import certificate is required.
IBEX HUNTING IN TAJIKISTAN
The ibex found in Central Asia is the largest of the ibex species, carrying the longest horns and with a male weighing up to 285lb (130kg). This is a superb trophy but, if you wish to hunt one as well as wild boar then you will need to stay for up to 10 days.
The hunting season for ibex can be any time from August to March, and after the first heavy snows in November and December ibex will descend to lower altitudes. It must be understood, however, that in the summer and autumn the animals will be found on the high ground which is often quite steep, presents challenging hunting and requires a reasonable degree of fitness on the part of the hunter.
If you are not in condition to climb the high ground, then it is best to wait until the first heavy snows in December have driven the ibex to the lower ground. January to the beginning of March is recommended for a successful hunt.
The best area for ibex lies on the Pamir road, some six to seven hours drive from Dushanbe. This is a rocky region so there are fewer wild boar in the big valleys.
For wild boar hunting, accommodation for hunters is usually in a villager's home in the simple Tadjik tradition. Occasionally, a small hunting lodge is available on the hunting ground with a simple bed and a bania, a local sauna in the Russian tradition.
Where ibex are concerned, in some areas a quite comfortable hunting lodge is available, but to guarantee success on a one to one basis, it is best to sleep in a local guide's house or in a light camp close to the ibex area.
Hunters are advised to employ powerful rifles suitable for long-distance shooting and best calibres are from 7mm upwards and include the .30 Magnum and upwards range of calibres. In a few areas rifles such as a .300 Weatherby, .270 Winchester and 7mm may be available and there is no hire charge, but it is far better to bring your own rifle, one with which you are familiar. It is also essential to have good binoculars and a rangefinder. A local guide will carry a spotting scope. It is essential that hunters are confident with long distance shooting.
Warm, strong clothing and stout, well-broken in boots are essential in the colder months. You will also need a light back-pack to carry drink and any other essentials.
It is essential to have comprehensive insurance, including full medical insurance.
Fly from London Heathrow with Turkish Airlines to Istanbul. Then fly on to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Flights from Istanbul to Dushanbe are on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Allow a minimum of two hours between flights to ensure baggage, rifle and ammo are transferred to local flight and destination. Arrive early morning Dushanbe where you will be met and then driven four to seven hours to the hunting destination.
COST OF HUNTING IN TAJIKISTAN
A package for one or two hunters for nine days is £4,000 per hunter and 11 days is £5,000 per hunter. A package for three to six hunters for nine days is £3,000 per hunter and for 11 days, £4,000 per hunter. These prices include all necessary licences to hunt, assistance with clearance of rifles and ammo at the airport and full board and accommodation in the hunting areas.
The price does not include flights or visa at Dushanbe Airport (£30) or VIP assistance (now available), or an overnight stay and meals in Dushanbe. The new Hyatt is worth considering. Also not included are all insurances and repatriation of trophies which are usually sent with luggage and may involve excess baggage payment. Check with the airline to ensure they will carry trophies.
Trophy fee for ibex is £3,000; wild boar tusker, £600. These fees must be paid in cash at the end of the trip. Young wild boar are free. Hunters must not shoot large female boars. The first big animal in any herd of wild boar will be a big female and she must not be shot.
Half of the trip's price must be paid one month before departure by credit card or bank transfer. The ibex fee can be paid on the spot when the animal has been shot or in advance if one prefers not to travel with too much money.
Contact Renaud by email at email@example.com or at www.facebook.com/pages/SELADANG. Footage of wild boar and ibex in Tajikistan can be seen on Renaud's channel: www.youtube.com/seladang. These will give a graphic idea of the type of hunting and what to expect.