Where to hunt Astor Markhor
Astor markhor is a subspecies of markhor, a variety of wild goat (genus Capra) which is characterized by horns that have more or less corkscrew shape. Its fragmented distribution range covers parts of the Indian province of Kashmir, the Gilgit-Baltistan province in Pakistan, and the adjoining areas of Afghanistan. It is only in Pakistan, however, where a highly successful community-based consumptive use conservation program provided a huge boost for the animals’ numbers, that the markhor can be legally hunted.
Only a handful of Astor markhor hunting licenses is auctioned off each year, and the prices may go well above $100,000. The outfitters get only a tiny fraction of the money, however, as the lion’s share is used to finance the conservation and is paid to local communities as an incentive for preservation of markhor and other mountain game of the area.
Learn more from our blog story
“Markhor” is the name of a major conservation award, and it is not a coincidence. Using the money generated by trophy hunting for a community-based conservation program was outstandingly successful in Pakistan. But the best proof of the efficiency of this approach is that it was successfully replicated in Tajikistan, and worked well for both the local wildlife and communities.21 Jul 2017 How Hunters Saved Markhor in Tajikistan.
When to hunt Astor Markhor?
The hunting season for Astor markhor in Pakistan is generous. You can schedule the hunt any time from October 15 to April 30. Choosing the best period for hunting depends on many factors, but on the balance the winter months, when high snows push the animals down to the valleys, and the rut takes place, is the time recommended by many experts.
Astor markhor hunting is done by the classic spot-and-stalk method, typical for most mountain hunts. The hunters use optics to spot the animals (usually in the morning, when they are most active), and when the suitable old male is located, approach it carefully within range. Mountain animals don’t usually expect danger from above, and the stalk often requires a long and weary detour to rise above the markhor and approach it downwind. In the first years of the program some hunters reported that local guides, while knowing the animals and the territory like the palm of their hand, were not too competent at trophy estimation and other requirements of trophy hunting. Now, however, this problem seems to be a thing of the past.
Why hunt Astor Markhor?
Denizen of the most inaccessible mountain peaks, the markhor has been a magnet for international hunters ever since the Industrial Revolution made it possible to travel to other countries to hunt there. It may sound insane to many that someone would be willing to spend a small fortune to stay in camp tents and shepherds’ huts without indoor plumbing and other comforts, and face the challenges of mountain hunting, and maybe bring home the large, flat horn, that branch out wide with a half turn to them. But a true hunter at heart will understand the irresistible attraction of the high mountain peaks and the elegant creatures that grace their slopes.
Interested in this animal? Create a subscription to get offers right to your inbox