Where to hunt Maral Stag
Maral is the local name for either of the two subspecies of Elk - the Altai Wapiti (Cervus canadensis sibiricus) and the Tian Shan Wapiti (C. c. songaricus) - that inhabit the mountain ranges and boreal forests of Asia. Their distribution covers south-eastern Siberia, parts of China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The best hunting opportunities for Maral are found in Russia and Kazakhstan.
The price for a Maral hunt in Russia may be as low as $2,300 (with $2,000 shooting fee and $100 daily rate for a three-day hunt). However, most hunts that imply a week’s journey into the wilderness are priced between $5,000 and $7,000. The most expensive options are combination hunts for Maral and Ibex, and the opportunities to hunt the Tian Shan variety, which is the biggest Maral of all in body and antler size, in south-eastern Kazakhstan.
When to hunt Maral Stag?
Historically there are two Maral seasons in Siberia: the spring season for antlers in the velvet (which are highly valued by traditional Chinese medicine), and the fall season for trophy and meat hunts. Most international hunters prefer to hunt the Siberian Wapiti during the rut (or, in the local lingo, “at the roar”). As with the Elk, the rut usually peaks in late September or early October.
Jagdart alle Jagdarten (6)
During the spring velvet antler season Maral stags experience a great need for minerals to build their amazing crown with. Hunters use this to advantage and wait for the Maral over salt licks. In the fall season, a Maral hunt runs on the same lines as an Elk hunt in North America. The hunters’ strategy depends on the dominant bulls guarding their harems of cows from competing bulls. The guides use a call made of tree bark or cinema film to imitate a rival bull and challenge the dominant bull to come and deal with the intruder (use of cow calls is almost unknown in Russia and Kazakhstan). Calling will be combined with stalking according to circumstances.
Why hunt Maral Stag?
Who wants to travel many a mile in a sequence of international and local flights, followed by a lengthy truck ride and a longer trek on horseback, tortured now by customs officials and airport queques, then saddle sores? Who wants to spend days in a tent devoid of even basic comforts? Who rejoices a spell of below-freezing point weather and bemoans the warming rays of the sun? An Elk hunter turned Maral hunter. Indeed, a devoted Elk hunter must experience Maral hunting in Asia at least once, to learn that for all the cultural and environmental differences, the sound of the bull’s bugle also raises the hair on the back of one’s neck, and the sight of the Monarch of the Woods, breathing clouds of smoke into crystal clear mountain air, makes the same imprint on one’s mind.
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