A dream hunt needs to be a combination o...
A dream hunt needs to be a combination of many factors. It’s more than just the animal, the location, the trophy… I have a lot of dream hunts. The one thing they have in common is they all share the same essence.
The most important thing for me, when it comes to dream hunts, is they need to take place under fair hunting conditions. I like a challenge, so it’s better if the odds of success are low. The harder a hunt is, the better. It means more time in the mountains. It also usually means a bigger reward in the end. For these reasons, my dream hunt takes place with my bow. I like all weapons, but the bow has the power to bring out the best version of yourself.
While location is important, each particular mountain range has its own mesmerizing beauty. However, being remote in a place where you will not cross paths with another hunter, or even another human is intense. It proves there are still wild places where things haven’t changed in hundreds or thousands of years. For this purpose, is hard to beat mountain hunts, where access due to the terrain is very limited, and the Altai Mountain Range is a very special place.
Another factor that must be present is the adventure, and adventure requires uncertainty. There is something magical about not having things under control, going to uncharted places without a scripted plan. Success can never be guaranteed, and you need to flow with the events and trust your gut. For this I think Asia is unbeatable – the cultural difference, not understanding the language, the change of plans, the chaos perception sometimes is lovely. I think you either hate it, or you get to enjoy it somehow.
One of the most attractive things about our passion is discovering new cultures. Getting to spend time seeing a completely different point of view from what we are used to. This will broaden your mind like nothing else and sharing a hunt with some Nomads is hard to beat. Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is by far the oldest human subsistence method, and was the current way of living of our local guides in Mongolia. We were sleeping in their “ger” (Mongolian word) or “yurt” (Turkic word), surrounded by their cattle, riding their horses, sharing their food and doing what we all liked the most – hunting. No matter the huge cultural differences, one of the most special things about hunting is how people, no matter where you go, can understand each other and connect to work as a “pack” toward a common goal.
A dream hunt needs to have also a spiritual journey. Most of the time we go on hunts to pursue animals, while we do not realize that there is way more than that. I traveled to the Altai to hunt for ibex and discovered much more. The hunt started bad by spending three full days inside the “ger” with a high fever. I hunted hard the rest of the week in very weak conditions, and after ten days I had to return home empty handed. You learn more from failure than from success and it was very special to make things happen a few weeks later on my second trip.
Finally, there are animals that we feel more attracted too than others because of their beauty, their behavior, where their live, how they are hunted or a combination of all of those. In my opinion, it is hard to beat the beauty of an Asian ibex. It’s hard to chase an animal with better instincts that can live in the rudest places and under the toughest conditions, and which can only be hunted a proper way – without any shortcuts.
After a lot of traveling, I can say that my experience in the Altai Mountains in Mongolia was my dream hunt. It was an unreal experience living and hunting with the Nomads in an astonishing location, sleeping in tents, hunting with horses, using my bow and chasing my favorite animal. To top it all off, it involved two trips, a lot of days and a lot of effort, which made the success even more special. A hunt that will remember forever, and a country and people that I will have to visit again one day.