Last Updated on June 7, 2022
Mountain Hunting in Kazakhstan: What makes you the happiest about mountain hunting? Most will answer with a well-aimed shot, a beautiful trophy, and pictures of majestic mountains. I do not argue, that all this is important and will be remembered for a long time.
Credit: hunt expeditions
However, over time, something is erased from memory, something no longer looks so bright and exciting. But what is not forgotten is the people. Reliable comrades, ready to lend a shoulder in difficult times. A good deed, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is forever engraved in memory.
Once everything worked out for us: I had time to hunt, Slava took a vacation, and the huntsman William Frederick was free from the escort of trophy hunters. The weather, as they say, whispered: an unprecedentedly warm, snowless winter in Kazakhstan simply obsessively invited me to get off the couch and go to Kogershin.
We had licenses, they were waiting for us at the hunting farm, they promised us a warm house or, if we wanted, a trailer closer to the hunting grounds. We left at night and arrived at the place by six in the morning. We took a little nap right in the car, drank tea, and – forward to the mountains.
I went downhill. The day before I was cut down: either the flu or a newfangled covid. For three days he lay with a temperature, on the fourth day he seemed to have recovered: the temperature dropped to 36.2. But the muscles remained wadded, swayed, it burned in the chest, it was noisy in the head. I thought I would get to the cool and stay as a gunner. We reached the first fork and stopped in indecision: where to go next?
To the right or straight down the gorge? And here and there there were fresh transitions of goats. The problem is that the path to the right was frightening with the difficulty of the ascent, and if there is no ibex on the first shelves, you will have to storm a steep watershed to the next hunting place, and this is entertainment for the whole day.
In general, even a fresh crossing of hogs to the right could not force us to turn there. Still, the first day should be devoted to dispersing, and tomorrow you can choose a more difficult route. The huntsman broke the silence: “Where?” In response, we sighed and, without saying anything, went straight ahead.
We were lucky: we did not lose. On the first leveled ledge, almost at the very top, Sergey noticed a group of ibexes. From us at a distance of a kilometer. You can approach: you need to proceed further along the gorge and bypass the animals along the neighboring fold. The right of the first shot today was for Slava, and he reasoned as follows: if the goat is young, he will not shoot.
We moved slowly along the gorge, examining each potentially dangerous, as well as promising point, carefully peeking around each turn. Once again, when it seemed that they had already looked out for everything, and we were already moving forward, the huntsman suddenly signaled with signs to stop. Goats watched us from the rocks. Like sentries, they stood on ledges and controlled all movements along the gorge. There were many of them, almost along the entire length of the path.
The warning system of Capricorns has been worked out to perfection, as soon as they notice the danger, they give a signal with a whistle and run away. If someone did not hear the whistle (for example, it was blown away by the wind), then by the behavior of the guard goats, the experimental animals determine where the danger comes from and immediately hide in the opposite direction.
That is why in this gorge, which I have visited more than once, I rarely saw ibexes, only traces. Today we were lucky: we noticed the goats first. Barely peeking out from behind the stone, William Frederick gave a sign: “Lie down and crawl, on all fours. One by one”.
The score in this game was 3:2 in our favor. Twice the goats found us, and three times we were in the lead. And this last, third time, I was also pleased with the presence of a quite suitable ibex in a group of stags at an equally suitable distance. A group of seven goats moved along a sheer wall along the edge of a cliff, obviously on a bed. Distance 240 meters. Slava began to aim while standing, leaning on a stone.
But he did not like something, and he stepped back a little, where it was possible to shoot from a prone position. I barely managed to photograph a goat looking at us from a cliff, when a 168-grain bullet distinctly slapped the carcass. Capricorn, swaying, withdrew under the stone ledge and hid there. Smaller goats and goats darted about on the stone steps, and then all of a sudden they all peeked out from behind the juniper at the same time. Deciding that the danger had passed,
As happens in such cases, we began to congratulate Slava.
You still need to get it! he answered anxiously.
A tricky business! I hastened to assure him.
“Now let’s drop it quickly!” William Frederick waved his hand.
“Fast” stretched for an hour exactly. The stone on which the goat lay reached eight meters in height. At the same time, it was with smooth sides, lay at the base of a very steep cliff, and on the other hand hung over a cliff. At first, it seemed like there was no way to get in. And yet, Slava, supported by Frederick from below, managed to climb to the top through the crevice between the rock and the stone. According to him, there were fresh beds of goats with a thick layer of droppings on the stone.
Somehow, the branches of dry juniper that got there covered the lying ibexes, because of which they were not visible from anywhere, while they perfectly saw everything around. In the end, they lowered the goat, photographed it, butchered it, and sat down to drink tea with manti from wild boar. Spring is in my soul, and it is in the mountains. The mood is great. Like going to the store! We reached the car in an hour and a half at a fast pace. After another forty minutes, we found ourselves in the home warmth of the cordon. There Slava prepared an amazing goat’s liver, drank 50 grams for it, and at seven we were cut down to sleep.
We Learn From Mistakes
Wake up at five in the morning. After a good sleep, I felt a surge of strength and a desire to move mountains. We decided to drive to another gorge, where the snow had already melted so that even without chains it was possible to drive along the summer route to the places where roe deer and wild boars graze.
Today was planned hunting for “meat”. We set off in the dark and took a bag of grain with us, which we poured out at the baiting place for the wild boar. No fresh tracks were found – a couple of days before us they hunted here and drove well. A little higher, they noticed a tug on the slope – which means that the predecessors had success.
They climbed the ridge. Dawn broke. Silence. At some point, Slava noticed wolves chasing a roe deer. It is not often possible to observe such pictures live. The animals rushed down the slope in our direction, and the roe deer with huge leaps went into the gap. A larger predator (as we understood, a she-wolf) stopped half a mountain, and those who arrived in excitement drove another five hundred meters.
The distance between them and the victim gradually increased, and, realizing the futility of further pursuit, the wolves slowed down, lowered their heads, and hurried back at a jog. After some time, they sat on the top of the opposite ridge and began to inspect the downward slope in search of a new victim. The deer also stopped. In a cup, in a prominent place on the northern slope, she moved her feet funny, as if marching in place.
The little animal got scared, – William Frederick smiled.
Having not seen the wild boars, we decided to approach the three roe deer seen, among which the male was rubbing – he no longer had horns, but an experienced hunter of the male can easily identify by his muzzle. Today it was my turn to shoot, and Slava went to assist me. The distance from 720 meters was first reduced to 500. Having carefully examined the roe deer through the optics, I still did not dare to shoot from such a distance. They went down imperceptibly into the beam and, hiding behind sweets, climbed out onto the edge.
In order not to disturb me, Slava went down about fifteen meters. I measured the distance – 380 meters. It was comfortable to lie down, but the thorn bushes blocked the optics. He broke them off slowly and lay down again. The male stood, and the female with the yearling lay down on the bed, no one showed signs of anxiety. He aimed and was already ready to pull the trigger when he noticed a branch that went exactly to the muzzle. He pulled himself up again and broke another barrier. After that, he returned to the shooting position and, slowly, began to aim. Glory crawled.
Why are you taking so long?! My hands are already numb to hold the binoculars.
Meanwhile, the male lay down, only his neck was visible. Glory in a loud whisper began to resent my slowness. At the same moment, the roe deer jumped up and from their place – into a gallop. In a few moments, they had already disappeared behind the hillock. Slava looked at me expressively and muttered with annoyance:
This approach is ruined!
What do you object to? Screwed up, he’s right. While I was folding my rifle and once again examining the slope, whether other roe deer would appear, I lagged behind the guys. And suddenly I heard a low whistle. He looked up – there Slava waved his hand invitingly. I climbed the ridge and immediately saw a male roe deer. Measured the distance – 414 meters. The position is not very convenient: the target is at the top, and the platform is located so that my legs were higher than my head. He aimed, fired, and heard a slap. But the roe deer darted down on the swings. Miss?!
While descending, he lost sight of the beast. It’s good that Slava saw him and told him where to look. The male stood directly below us, actively moving his ears. He did not understand where they were shooting from. Now the distance has been reduced to 365 meters. The male was visible at a glance. I put the bipod on a stone, but I had to slightly tighten the rifle – it slipped. After the shot, the slap was not heard. The beast still stood still and moved its ears. “That’s the shooter!” – scolded himself.
The roe deer finally decided to climb to the top and began to gain height with long jumps. The rangefinder showed 470 meters. While I was introducing the correction, the animal took a step and, after walking thirty meters, stopped. Zero angles! It is much more convenient to aim this way: the rifle does not slip, and the mark of the sight is securely frozen on the shoulder blade of the animal. Exhale, shoot, and … the feeling that he hit. And so it turned out. William Frederick, filming the hunt on camera, saw that the beast had fallen.
There is! Finally! Well done! With the field! – congratulated Slava.
And I was sorted out with mixed feelings: well, just an interior hunter who is led, pointed with a finger, patiently waiting until you get wet, and you shoot and smear. Here’s how not to be grateful to the guys for their patience and endurance!
It was exactly 500 meters to the point of impact. They went around the hill on top and went down to the trophy. On the joint of the front right leg, they noticed a trace from a bullet – as with a knife, she cut off a tuft of wool without catching the bones and tendons. This is from the first shot – underestimated. The second is not at all clear where he went. Well, I got the third one. They dragged the prey to the car, butchered it, and left the offal and the skin with the head to the wolves – they would come at night.
We dined at the huntsman’s house, where Slava cooked the national Uzbek dish cauldron kebab. Cooking is his hobby. Full and satisfied with life, we went out into the street to drink beer in the sun. And then a strange sound was heard from the nearest hill – something between the cawing of a raven and the barking of a dog. At the top of the hill, directly opposite the gamekeeper’s house, a jackal sat and howled. He looked bright red in the late afternoon sun, more like a fox. The smells from our brew spread around the area. Determining the source of the scents teasing his nose, the jackal ran down the hill towards us.
I rushed into the house, but the rifles were sheathed. It took some time to pull out and load the carbine, grab the rangefinder and jump out into the street. Meanwhile, the jackal had already realized his mistake, turned aside, and soon had to hide in a fold in the terrain. Distance measurement showed 323 meters. Slava and William Frederick barked long, imitating the old dog. The Jackal stopped.
It was not very convenient to shoot: the bipod had to be extended to three knees, which caused the elbows to hang in the air. And then I felt Slava slip something under my right elbow. This immediately gave confidence, the trembling disappeared, and the brand smoothly led the retreating jackal. The guys howled and barked again, and the jackal stopped again, looking around. The mark froze in the middle of the predator’s torso, the finger touched the trigger, a shot rang out, and the red lump flew into the air and rolled into the crease like a ball.
Blimey! All past mistakes were immediately forgotten. 345 meters was beaten off by the “watering can”. Leaving the gun, he ran with Sergey to the prey and saw another one run out of the same place where the red jackal had rolled down! Dark brown, fox-like. Oh, it’s a pity I didn’t take a rifle! They dragged the beast to the house, and congratulations began again as if I did not get a jackal, but a record ibex from a prohibitive distance. How grateful I am to Slava that he slipped me a soft cast from a rifle under my elbow in time!
How else? We are a team, – Slava smiled.
What can I say… The result of our hunting is a collective result. And ibex, and roe deer, and jackal. Yes, moments of friendly help are remembered for a long time. Therefore, I do not hunt in the mountains alone.
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