Update on Nepal hunting after the earthquake
hunting after Nepal Earthquake
hunting Updates

Editor's Note: The earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 produced a major humanitarian disaster in that country and news headlines round the world. Our corporate affiliate, Ripcord, was on the scene evacuating 33 clients from Mount Everest and across the stricken nation {see Ripcord Rescues 33 from Nepal}. As the situation stabilized, Assistant Editor Justin Jones began contacting agents and operators in Nepal to see if any hunters had been immediately affected and what, if any, impact the quake might have on future hunting opportunities there. Here's his report, including a fresh hunt report from subscriber Jens Knudsen, who hunted Nepal earlier in April and left the country just eight days before the first big quake.

At this writing, the death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 and the 7.3 magnitude quake on May 12 has topped 8,500, hundreds of thousands are homeless, and an international relief effort is fully underway.

Fortunately, thanks entirely to fortuitous timing, it appears that no international hunters were in-country when the quake took place. Spring hunting in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve (about 300km northwest of the epicenter), where all international hunting in Nepal takes place, appears to have concluded prior to the earthquake, and as far as we can ascertain, there were no hunters traveling through Kathmandu at the time. It appears that hunting operators in Nepal are in a good position to offer aid to individuals in remote areas, and have been contributing directly to relief efforts.

We spoke to Clark Jeffs at Safari Outfitters (http://www.safari1.com; 307-587-5596), who told us that he was in communication with his partners in Nepal, Nepal Wildlife Adventure, shortly after the quake.

Thankfully, our last hunters left Nepal about a week before the quake hit, so none of our hunters were ever in harm's way. Two days after the quake we heard that our partners were ok, but they were concerned about some of their staff as most of the guides, porters, and camp staff live in the more remote villages that were heavily impacted. Now they are working to assist those affected."

Prem Singh at Nepal Wildlife Adventure confirmed this. The earthquake completely devastated the village where our support staff lives. A few of them lost family members, and many of them lost their homes as well as livestock. We are doing our best to provide them shelter, food stuffs and medicine."

Singh and Jeffs confirmed that fall hunting, which starts in October, should not be impacted by the disaster, and that there have been no reports of negative effects on the Dhorpatan Reserve itself.

All indications are at this point that the fall season will go on as planned," according to Jeffs. ?We had four hunters in Nepal this spring, and generally send about six a season. Everything went very well this season. This is one of the best mountain hunts in the world, and hunters are always very happy with Nepal Wildlife Adventure.

On the part of hunters, the very best thing that can be done is to continue to keep the hunts full and help the people of Nepal as much as possible. With only 13 sheep permits and six tahr permits available per season, the hunts tend to fill quickly. I encourage anyone interested to plan this hunt as soon as they can, as one never knows what changes may be around the corner. We also encourage anyone who can to donate funds, either via our office or through one of the many international relief organizations."

Jeffs says that he still has two openings available for blue sheep this fall, and can likely get another permit or two for a blue sheep/tahr combination hunt. He also has two openings for spring 2016. Prices are going up due to the permits being sold at auction, and have increased by about $2,000US for 2015. The hunt should cost around $22,000, including helicopter charter. Jeffs has put together hunts with late notice, but recommends planning around six months in advance.

We also heard from Deepak Rana, head of Tracks N Trails (shikarirana@outlook.com). In an email, Rana told us, ?This was a very good season for hunting in Nepal, with bookings exceeding the government quota. It was lucky that hunting was finished ahead of the earthquake. We are not aware of any major impacts on wildlife, although given the scale of the earthquake it is likely there has been some effect. At the moment, our operation is focused on getting food and medicine to people in the hinterlands."

Greg Brownlee at Neal and Brownlee (http://www.nealandbrownlee.com; 918-299-3580) told us that he spoke with his partners in Nepal, Himalayan Safaris, directly after the quake, and that they were out of harm's way. Brownlee says that they are fully booked for the fall, and that Nepal bookings have been strong for them over the past few years. We also heard from David Kidder of Kidder Safari Co. (kidsaf@comcast.net), who had spoken with Mahesh Busynat, head of Himalayan Safaris. Mahesh told him that the loss of life and property, particularly in rural areas, has been staggering.

We spoke with Samsher Parajuli of Global Safaris Nepal (http://www.huntnepal.com /info@huntnepal.com) about the earthquake. Like other major Nepal operators, Parajuli is based in Kathmandu. He tells us? Now that we are safe, the focus has been on coming together with people and providing relief to those affected by the disaster. Global Safaris Nepal been doing everything we can.

Thankfully none of our hunters had remained in Kathmandu during the earthquake. The only effect that this might have on hunters is to delay trophies for some time.

I hope that the earthquake will not negatively affect tourism, as hunters and travelers need to return to Nepal as soon as they can to help our economy recover."

Parajuli outfitted and guided subscriber Jens Knudsen on his recent Nepal trip, which concluded on April 17. In Report 10116, Knudsen writes that he strongly recommends Global Safaris Nepal, saying that he was very happy with the level of service. We communicated with Knudsen in a follow-up email to get more details on his hunt.

There are only a handful of registered outfitters in Nepal, and as a hunter you are totally dependent on your guide knowing the area. Global Safaris Nepal was recommended to me by a friend, who has been recommended for a Carlo Caldesi Award for a trophy taken with guide and owner Samsher Parajuli. Parajuli speaks and writes perfect English, and was a guide with other companies in Nepal before starting his own business in 2011. I booked with him directly. He handled all the paperwork well, and had everything ready for my arrival.

Global Safaris Nepal offers three species in Nepal, as clients can take Indian muntjac as well as blue sheep and Himalayan tahr. I was the last hunter out of Dhorpatan for the season, and was the only one to take muntjac in the spring.

The Dhorpatan is split up into seven blocks: Phalgune, Barse, Dogari, Ghustung, Seng, Sundaha, and Sudibang. Some blocks are best for blue sheep, some are best for Himalayan tahr, and some are good for combo hunts. It seems that price and quality goes together in Nepal, as all licenses and areas are sold at auction and the highest bid gets the choice of area. Parajuli told me that the success rate for blue sheep is about 70 to 80%, but that if you are in very good shape you will get a sheep. Some areas are physically easier than others.

We flew by helicopter from Kathmandu (about 1.5 hours) into the mountains of Dhorpatan. I was welcomed by Parajuli's team of 22 guides, Sherpas, cook and porters, who carried everything up into the mountains. Several of them had left Kathmandu eight days earlier to prepare.

My guide, Man, is a local hunter who grew up in the Dhorpatan and knows every corner of the mountains. He speaks English quite well.We made a three-day hike into the mountains to our camp at around 3,200 meters (10,500 feet).

During our hike we saw 60 to 70 sheep on the mountain. We hunted up to around 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). On the second day of hunting we came up through a ravine and spotted 30 sheep at 100 meters, and I shot the biggest in the group, a wonderful trophy. I should point out that the hair on the sheep is not the best in April, but ok for a nice head mount.

The next day we continued higher up the mountains for tahr, spotting a few one kilometer distant. Later the same day we saw three bull tahr on the opposite hillside at 800 meters, and studied them all day in spotting scopes, waiting for them to lay down for the day so we could stalk them, but they disappeared into the underlying forest.

The next day, we hiked up while it was dark and the wind was down off the mountain. Tahr in the Himalayas are difficult to spot in my experience, as their coats really blend in. Man, my guide, was an excellent spotter. We saw a number that were too small, and eventually Man spotted a great animal I managed to take. It weighed 80 kg, and was very old with thick rings on its horns. One of the Sherpas simply put the tahr on his back and carried it from 4,000 meters back to camp!

nepal hunting update

The remaining days we hunted Indian muntjac, a really special trophy to get from Nepal. On the third day of hunting muntjac we made a push through the rhododendron forest, and I took an excellent trophy.

We were lucky to have perfect, clear weather on the trip; freezing at night and about 15C (60F) in the daytime. We moved around to different areas, and the staff had a great camp set up for me every night. I had my own tent, and a chef from Kathmandu made excellent food. I had no stomach trouble or problems with altitude.

nepal hunting update

The price for the hunt itself will vary depending on whether hunters go alone or with a partner, although I recommend hunting solo for a combination hunt. Helicopter charters will cost about $9,000US, although it is possible to drive and trek to Dhorpatan. All hunters pay trophy fees for community support: $2,000 for blue sheep and $1,500 for tahr.

After the hunt Samsher Parajuli showed me around the fantastic sights of Kathmandu. This was definitely the hunt-of-a-lifetime, and it was hard to leave Nepal. It is strange to think that this was all devastated by an earthquake only a week later."

Postscipt: Samsher Parajuli told us that, if it is available in the specific block where the hunt takes place, Indian muntjac can be hunted with no trophy fee.

We also have a second new hunt report (10106) filed on April 9 by Alexander Staerker on an October hunt with Global Safaris Nepal (info@huntnepal.com; http://www.huntnepal.com). Staerker took both blue sheep and tahr on his hunt, calling it "a perfectly organized, outstanding experience." Sadly, he strongly recommends the sightseeing in Kathmandu and the surrounding monasteries .

We encourage readers to support Nepal's recovery efforts and its hunting community. If you hunt there this seas, be sure to file a report.