Hunting in Asia
Going for a hunt in Asia can be a fantastic adventure. The world's largest continent at 17,212,00 square miles. It contains 30% of the world's land mass and almost 4.7 billion people. Its terrain is so varied that the hunting opportunities are endless. Asia has the largest variety of sheep and goats found anywhere on Earth.
Some of the most popular animals to hunt in Asia include many species of ibex, argali, tur, red stags, big roe deer, and massive brown bears found on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Asia is so large and has many different languages that travel to different countries can take a lot of planning. Some of the terrains can be difficult to navigate as there are some very rugged mountain ranges and deep valleys to cross.
We’ll take a look at Asian countries and the animals that are on offer in each one.
Armenia is a mountainous country located in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. It's bordered by Turkey to the west, Iran to the south, and east by Azerbaijan. It declared itself independent when the old Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It has had poaching problems over the past few years, but lately, poaching has decreased, and the sheep and ibex populations have increased significantly.
Four unfenced natural game reserves allow hunting. Two are in southern Armenia near Iran, and two are in western Armenia near Turkey. Animals available for hunting include the Armenian mouflon, Bezoar ibex, Mideastern brown bear, European roe deer, boar, and others.
If mountain hunting is your favorite method of pursuing game, a tur hunt in the Caucasus Mountains is a challenging quest to take one of the largest wild goats. The mountain landscape is spectacular, but the vegetation is sparse, making stalking difficult, and shots can be long.
Sport hunting in China began in the late 1970s. In 2006 all hunting was suspended. When hunting was still open, there were over 31 different species available, including such rarities as Tian Shan argali, Chinese blue sheep, golden takin (goat-antelope), Gansu red deer, and a whole host of others. If hunting reopens, the hunt can be combined with visits to cultural attractions like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and other sights.
China is in the process of restructuring game quotas and setting up provisions for residents in what was a foreign tourist-only operation. It is possible that hunting will open within the next few years.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world. It’s situated between Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Large populations of Persian goitered gazelle and Transcaspian urial sheep are in the mountains along the Caspian Sea. In the north bordering Russian Siberia are moose and Siberian roe deer. In the eastern and southern mountains are the largest elk in the world – the Asian elk of Kazakhstan. Also, these mountains hold large herds of mid-Asian ibex, Siberian ibex, and some different species of Argali sheep. As this is being written, all wild sheep hunting in Kazakhstan has been put on hold. There are snow leopards in the country, but they are fully protected; not so with wolves. They have become overwhelming, and hunters are requested to shoot them when possible.
Outfitting costs tend to be on the high side partly due to the lack of infrastructure throughout the country, but the variety of animals makes Kazakhstan one of the leading countries for hunters. The country’s largest city, Almaty, is served by regular flights from several European cities.
The Kyrgyz Republic, known as Kyrgyzstan, is a small country about the size of Idaho up in the western Tian Shan Mountains. It has become a popular destination for mountain hunters looking for Mid-Asian ibex, Marco Polo argali, and Tian Shan argali. The eastern part of the country is home to a growing population of Asian elk. The country's flood plains near the border of Kazakhstan have some Siberian roe deer. Roads and infrastructure in Kyrgyzstan are good, and most hunting occurs at the lower levels with horses. The primary animals hunted are the Marco Polo sheep, the Tian Shan argali, and the Mid-Asian ibex in the Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions at altitudes up to 12,000 feet.
Hunt where Genghis Khan and his 13th Century Mongols lived! This country is more than twice as large as Texas and has a diverse landscape filled with some of Asia's most popular hunting specie. Mongolia is one of the least populated countries on Earth. Most of its population lives in cities and towns. Mongolia has a strong tourism industry, and a lot of foreigners travel there to fish and hunt. The country is renowned for its wild sheep. Two species – the Altai Argali and the Gobi Argali are among the largest sheep in the world. The country is also known for the Hangai Argali, Altay ibex, Gobi Ibex, Mongolian Wapiti, white-tailed gazelle, Asian wolf, wild boar, and the Siberian roe deer.
High Altai Argali is the biggest and greatest of all Argali species in the world. Their horns can weigh up to 75 pounds. A mature male can easily top 400-450 pounds. For High Altai Argali hunts, horses are used followed by stalking. Some areas can be reached by vehicle instead of a horse. The Gobi and Hangai Argali are usually hunted with a truck followed by a stalk on foot. Ibex populations are good and can be hunted in conjunction with the Argali.
All hunters arrive in Mongolia through Ulaanbaatar Airport. Then an approximately 2.5-hour chartered flight will get you to an airstrip where there will be a two to five-hour drive to the base camp.
Hunt the Roof of the World! Nepal is a small country about half the size of Colorado. It is one of the richest countries in terms of biodiversity, partially because of its variations in altitude. You can be anywhere from sea level to the Himalayan mountaintops – all within a 100-mile distance. Its hunting species include Muntjac, Tahr, Blue sheep, and wild boar.
Muntjac, also known as barking deer, is one of the most prolific animals in South Asia. Their habitat ranges from sea level up to 10,000 feet, from forests to the slopes of the Himalayas.
Himalayan Tahr is a relative of the wild goat and is found on the steep slopes of the Himalayas. They prefer the north face of the slopes because it is warmer and usually gets less snow.
Blue sheep, known as Naur in Nepal, are high mountain animals found between 9,000 feet and 18,000 feet. Their only natural enemy is the snow leopard. Their natural color makes them hard to spot against the rocky hills, and they tend to freeze if frightened, which makes seeing them even more difficult.
Wild boars inhabit the rugged woods of Nepal. Hunting them can be quite exciting especially as they can be a bit dangerous up close and personal.
Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran to the west, on the east by India, and has China as a northern neighbor. Its population is over 180 million in an area slightly larger than Texas. It does have open space and hunting is allowed for numerous species, some unique to the country.
Pakistan has four individual hunting regions. The high, northern area holds good populations of the Himalayan blue sheep and the Himalayan ibex. Himalayan tahr and ibex inhabit the same area.
The Punjab Province in the eastern lowlands has the greatest variety of animals, such as the Punjab urial, hog deer, boar, blackbuck, nilgai, and others. Due to the high population density in the area, hunting is limited to private lands.
Western Pakistan, in the Northern Frontier Provence, has the markhor. The government auctions a limited number of markhor permits each year, and the money goes to aid in the animal’s conservation.
The southern Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces have the Blanford urial, Sindh ibex, and Kennion gazelle. A limited number of permits are auctioned off each year.
Russia is divided into three hunting regions: European Russia, Russia Caucasus, and Far East Russia (including Siberia). Russia's landmass is as large as the rest of the European countries combined.
European Russia has every terrain from arctic tundra to the open steppes which stretch to the Caucasus Mountains. Many species are available to hunt, some of which are only found here.
A partial list of available animals includes Forest reindeer, Barren Ground reindeer, European red deer, Eurasian brown bear, Siberian roe deer, and numerous others.
Russia Caucasus has everything for the mountain hunter. The Caucasus Mountains have some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, also large numbers of tur, Caucasian chamois, brown bear, European bison, red stag, and some very large boar. A tur hunt can be partnered with all these other animals.
Far East Russia is miles and miles of virgin, remote land. It's home to large numbers of big game animals; three types of brown bears, two types of moose, four sheep species, caribou, wolf, wolverine, and small game.
Siberia contains almost uncountable numbers of game animals. Western Siberia, Russia's "Breadbasket" has vast fields of corn, wheat, and grain. It also has the largest Siberian roe deer in the world. Asian elk, brown bears, moose, and musk deer inhabit southern central Siberia. The mountains of Eastern Yakutia have moose, snow sheep, Siberian brown bears, caribou, and wolves – big wolves! All in all, Siberia has over 12 big game animals available.
If Marco Polo sheep are on your bucket list, perhaps a hunt in Tajikistan is in order. Tajikistan is the smallest country in Central Asia. More than half the country is over 9,000 feet in elevation. Most of the land is the Pamir Mountains which tower above 24,000 feet and are home to the most beautiful member of the sheep family, the Marco Polo argali. These animals are hunted at elevations up to 14,000 feet, so you must be in excellent condition to tackle the rough terrain. The weather at these altitudes can be quite cold and dry, so proper hydration is a must. Preparations for these hunts must be made way in advance, as licenses for the sheep are limited.
The three main animals hunted in Tajikistan are; the above-mentioned Marco Polo sheep, the Pamir ibex, and the wild boar.
Most of the hunts in Turkey take place in remote areas up in the mountains. The most popular animal is the bezoar ibex. These ibex are striking and can carry a set of horns exceeding 55 inches. Other animals available are the hybrid ibex, Anatolian chamois, Anatolian red stag (only found in Turkey), roe deer, and wild boar. The hunting season runs from August through March. The bezoar ibex season is from mid-October through March. Mountain hunting in Turkey is similar to other countries, challenging and tough, so hunter fitness is important, and proper gear is a necessity.