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Hunting in Pakistan

Astor markhor derives its name from the mountain settlement Astor,  located in the Astor valley of Azad Province of Kashmir in Northern Pakistan.

Of all the markhor species, Astor markhor hunt can be the most demanding if a good trophy size is of utmost importance.

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Hunting in Pakistan

Northern Areas




OVERVIEW

Astor markhor derives its name from the mountain settlement Astor, located in the Astor valley of Azad Province of Kashmir in Northern Pakistan. It is indigenous only to Pakistan and perhaps the least hunted among the markhor subspecies that live in this country. Although classified as flare-horned, the horn configuration differs from the others of that belong to this category. Typically horns flare out to both sides very widely just above the bases and then curls upwards with 1 or 1 ½ twist.

Back in early 80’s population of these animals were on the decline to a great extent due to illegal hunting, lack of conservation incentives and lack of awareness. Realizing the effects of unmanaged illegal hunting on animal populations in the long run, a markhor hunting program was initiated by the government of North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1986 for the straight horned markhor. Since then Pakistan has really taken an exemplary path of habitat and wildlife preservation which points the way for other nations to copy. 





HOW TO ARRIVE

Gilgit can be reached from Islamabad by plane in an hour as long as the weather conditions are favorable. Although flight schedules are subject to change without notice there are usually two flights a day back and forth.

On the other hand, flights may not operate due to bad weather conditions especially from mid January onward and the whole month of February which leaves the hunter with two options who is on his way to fulfill his long awaited dream: Wait in Islamabad until the conditions get better or take the ground transportation which may take about 12-14 hours to get to area. Although this travelling time seems a bit too long, it may in fact be enjoyable for the ones that are interested in cultural aspects of the trip.




AREAS, ALTITUDE, METHOD

Astor markhor is confined to Gilgit region and its real stronghold is on the slopes of Nanga Parbat (8125m) massif. It also occurs on both sides of the Indus river and its tributaries namely Astor, Hunza and Gilgit rivers and along the Indus as far as the Haramosh range in south western Baltistan. But here it seems to be overlapping with Pir Panjal (Kashmir) type.

Markhor is a comparatively low altitude animal and is known for its intolerance of snow & cold and it’s habit of migrating in the mid-winter to lower elevations. So its living range at that time of year varies between the altitudes of 2500-3000 meters.

In order to have a good hunt and to obtain a respectable size trophy, one needs to be in good physical shape. Long hikes with the first light may be in order until a billy with desired horn length is spotted.




SEASON, WEATHER, ACCOMMODATION

Legal hunting season for markhor runs from November through mid- April. However December is the best time as the rutting time may present some advantages. Late January and February and maybe even early March has disadvantages with the weather as it can turn bad any time. However late March and early April may also be considered a good time to hunt as the animals come down quite a bit to forage for the green grass that comes out when the snow melts.

Depending on the area accommodations may vary from a very good hotel to a bad one, also from very nice village guest houses to simple shepherd huts or even caves.




TROPHY TREATMENT AND SHIPMENT

The skin of the trophy is carefully treated, ears, lips, nose are opened and salted and the scull are boiled and cleaned and later, the trophy carefully packed for shipment. After all papers are prepared which are necessary for the shipment, the shipment is sent to the address that you provide us with. Receiving the trophies could take couple of months and shipment cost is around US$500 -750 depending




DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

In most of the cases travelling time in Pakistan takes more time than the hunting itself. There are exceptions to the rule and Astor markhor hunting may prove to be one of them. It is a 12 day program with a tentative itinerary as follows;

Day 01. Arrive Islamabad and fly Gilgit.

Day 02. Transfer to the hunting area.

Day 03-10. Hunt for markhor.

Day 11. Return back to Gilgit.

Day 12. Return back to Islamabad.

Day 13. Fly back home.




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Grab your Astor Markhor with Caprinae Safaris.
An award winning, world class outfitter from Turkey!
Book your hunt now!