Bukhara Markhor

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Experience an exclusive hunt and contribute to conservation of wildlife and to local community development!

The Tajik or Heptner’s markhor is found only in two scattered populations in the Kugitang Mountains at the border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and in the Hazratishoh and Darvaz Ranges along the Panj River at the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Thanks to the conservation efforts in community-based conservancies the population has recovered in recent years and during surveys increasing numbers of markhor were recorded by experts of the Academy of Sciences, government agencies in charge of wildlife conservation and national and international NGO representatives: in 2012 a total of 1018, in 2014 a total of 1300, in 2016 only in three conservancies 1450 and in 2017 a total 1901 among them a healthy percentage of mature males. The markhor are an important prey of snow leopard and several hunters already had the luck to observe this elusive cat during their trip!

The Tajik or Heptner’s markhor is found only in two scattered populations in the Kugitang Mountains at the border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and in the Hazratishoh and Darvaz Ranges along the Panj River at the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Thanks to the conservation efforts in community-based conservancies the population has recovered in recent years and during surveys increasing numbers of markhor were recorded by experts of the Academy of Sciences, government agencies in charge of wildlife conservation and national and international NGO representatives: in 2012 a total of 1018, in 2014 a total of 1300 and in 2016 only in three conservancies 1450, among them a healthy percentage of mature males. 1901 animals registered in 2017. The markhor are an important prey of snow leopard and several hunters already had the luck to observe this elusive cat during their trip!

To stimulate further conservation efforts the Government of Tajikistan annually issues a hunting quota of so far up to seven markhor annually. As the hunting quotas are low compared to the total population mature males with excellent trophies are numerous. Since the opening of legal trophy hunting on markhor by the Tajik government already several world record trophies have been taken. Horn length of more than 100 cm is common. Please be aware that only trophies taken in the conservancy areas and in accordance to the scientifically justified quota recommendations qualify for CITES import permits in accordance to CITES and national regulations!

 

Markhor hunts are demanding and adventurous mountain hunts, and success depends strongly on the physical condition of the hunter. Typically markhor are hunted at altitudes between 800 m and 2000 m a. s. l. and hiking at steep mountain slopes, supported by experienced guides will be necessary.

Prior to the arrival of the hunter the local rangers recognize the best hunting sites. In good snowy conditions the markhor stay at least in the morning and afternoon hours in the lower slopes. Usually an overnight stay at the hide is not necessary, but the hunter may prepare himself for such an option. Shooting distance 300m. Sturdy shoes, warm clothes, a warm sleeping bag and a well-to-carry backpack are required. Guns with bolt action (no combined arms) of a caliber suitable for wide shots (e.g., .300 WM) are recommended. We also recommend range finders and binoculars.

WHEN AND WHERE?

The hunting season for markhor is defined by the Decree of the Government of Tajikistan and lasts from September until End February. The early winter provides good opportunities due to the rut season in December, while late winter provides favorable hunting conditions as markhor will concentrate in the lower parts of the mountains with the first green herbs and grasses. A ten-day-trip including eight hunting days is usually sufficient to achieve success. Shorter trips are also possible upon request!

The areas where markhor hunting is taking place are located in the south of Tajikistan, in the provinces of Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO). The conservancy of LLC “Morkhur” Ltd. is located in the southwest of Shuroabad district, near Dashtijum Strictly Protected Area, the conservancies of NGO “Muhofiz” and LLC “Saidi Tagnob” Ltd. consist of several sections in the east of Shuroabad district and the conservancy of LLC “M-Sayod” Ltd. is located in Darvaz district at the slopes of the Darvaz Mountain Range, with a separate section in Shuroabad district. All these conservancies offer, along with markhor, hunting opportunities on wild boar.

Service, accommodation and meals

For the journey a cross-country vehicle is rented. On site hunts usually take place on foot, with the help of guides and donkeys. Local rangers are very experienced traditional hunters who know very well the area, speak basic English, Russian as well as local languages. The group is also accompanied by a young translator who speaks English. Accommodation is organized either in traditional family guesthouses in villages located at the edge of hunting areas, in simple isolated guesthouses or in solid clean South African safari tent. Communal lodging is the rule. For the overnight stay in the field, if necessary, a small tent available. Hunters should bring their own warm sleeping-bags and insulating mats. For spring hunt of wild boars the weather is usually nice with mild temperatures yet with sometimes significant rainfall. Daytime temperatures in summer are very hot, up to 40°C, nights are cooler but still warm. Depending on location the sanitary facilities of the guesthouses may include WC and sauna or be rather simple (dry-toilet and bucket shower).

Species