Where to hunt Okhotsk Snow Sheep
Okhotsk snow sheep is one of the five varieties of snow sheep that inhabit the north-east of Russia. It is found on the coast of the Okhotsk Sea, near the city of Magadan, in the rough and desolate mountain ranges that are hard to access except by helicopter or, occasionally, by a sea-faring vessel.
Okhotsk snow sheep is one of the most expensive sheep to hunt in Russia, with hunts priced sometimes as high as $30,000. Travel to snow sheep habitat accounts for a large part of the outfitter’s expenses, and the price of the hunt can be somewhat lower if you’re coming with a few other hunters, to split the helicopter or vessel charter cost.
When to hunt Okhotsk Snow Sheep?
The season for snow sheep hunting in Magadan Oblast usually opens on August 1, and continues until November 30. Most outfitters believe that the best time to hunt is early in the season: the last couple of weeks in August and the first two weeks of September. The later in the season, the higher are the risks that a spell of bad weather may ruin your hunt or delay your return.
Hunting snow sheep on the Okhotsk Sea coast usually follows the classic spot-and-stalk routine, where you can focus on a specific old animal, that is long past reproduction age, and enjoy the slow and emotion-filled approach until the mighty ram is in your sights. Some outfitters scout the coast from motor boat, landing on the shore and stalking the animals when they are located; this method allows to cover a lot of ground quicker than on foot, but requires great seafaring skill from the guides to save everybody from an ice-cold sea bath during landing.
Why hunt Okhotsk Snow Sheep?
Snow sheep can’t boast of snow-white coat like Dall’s sheep, but Siberian natives valued it highly, and used the skin specifically to make clothes for children. Of course, the delicious meat was also prized. One had to be a child of the wilderness to stalk the wary ram within range of a primitive bow, and even today, for a hunter with a modern rifle, the hunt is full of challenges. But that’s precisely what makes it exciting. An additional benefit is an opportunity to immerse in a new and unusual culture where modern advances are interwoven with ancient hunter/gatherer ways. The thick, tightly curled horns of the snow sheep will make a lasting memory of the adventure.
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