B.urial(Ovis vignei blanfordi) is one of the 4 sucbspecies of urial family that is found in Pakistan. Taxonomic status of Blanford urial is unclear. Some taxonomists consider it a separate subspecies while the others synonymize the B.urial with the Afghan urial (Ovis vignei …..) since they look similar in appearance although Blanford type is noticeably smaller than the Afghan or any other urial species in PK making it a distinct trophy type. Indeed field measurements taken by the scientists or hunters show that Blanford urial is the smallest member of urial family. Adult rams achieve body weights ranging between 80 and 90 lbs (36-40kg) while they obtain shoulder heights of around 26-28 inches (65-71cm). As with other urial types, adult Blanford urial rams show a neck ruff and a bib extending from the jaw to the chest. Although it varies from individual to individual, Blanford urial tends to have lesser of these when compared to Afghan type.
The general distrubition range of Blanford urial stretches from southern parts of the Pakistan provinces Sind and Balochistan all the way into southeastern corner of Iran although exact range and population in this country is unknown. In Sind province, hunting area is limited to non-protected localities. In Balochistan trophy hunting for international hunters has been carried out at least for four decades in the famed Dureji Game Management Area.
The Dureji Game Management Area (DGMA) is a 1,301 square kilometer private wildlife reserve in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, that maintains significant numbers of Blanford urial (Ovis orientalis blanfordi) and Sindh ibex (Capra aegagrus blythii). The Bhootani family first informaly established the DGMA in 1972, out of concern for declining Blanford urial and S.ibex populations on their huge, privately owned lands near the village of Dureji. At the time, the urial and Sind ibex were in exteremely low numbers due to lack of protection which gave way to the excessive poaching. Early hunters in this area had hard time collecting good size rams and often went home empty handed which seems impossible today.
By 1975, a game guard system was in place providing effective protection for Blanford urial, Sindh ibex, and Chinkara gazelle. Currently, a small army of game guards protect the wildlife in this area where poaching has been reduced to zero. Available current evidence indicates that the urial population increased in response to this vigorous efforts for protection. Fees derived from hunting were -and stil are- an important incentive in the protection of urial and several other wild species on the area. Estimated number for Blanford urial in the area was 1000-1200 animals by the late 1990’s. Today we know that the number increased substancially and the trophy quality is far better than ever.
Majority of our hunters in the past ten years collected 30” plus rams with a few exceptional horn length of 35 and even 36 inches although average size in the area considered to be around 28 inches. Of course, an extensive pre-scouting effort the experienced hunting staff of the Bhootani family put in over the years contributed to our success in this matter.
SEASON & WEATHER
Hunting season for Blanford urial starts as early as October 1st and runs through the end of March. However early and late season hunts can be a little hard to handle due to high temperatures in the area and thus are not recommended so much. The temperatures can reach up to 100 F (38C) during the day by early October but will drop to around 90F (32C) by the end of month. Likewise early March can be quite hot but will get even hotter toward the end of the month. Heat may have some negative effect on the hunt minimizing the animal movements and limiting it only to early morning and late evening hours. However this can be an advantage for bow hunters when the rams are located bedded down in the mid day heat which makes it easier for a stalk.
Best times to hunt Blanford urial in this area is the period between mid November and mid January when the weather conditions will be at its best. Temperatures will go as low as 70F (21C) and hunters can hunt all day long without sweating out so much. Early and late hours of the day can be a little chilly but no cold.
Hunters should consider this as a hunt with 100% success. Hunters can collect their Banford urial successfuly regardless of the time of the year.
AREA & ALTITUDE
The Dureji Game Management Area (DGMA) where we do majority of our Blanford urial hunts is located about 150 km northwest of Karachi near the town of Dureji in southern Balochistan Province. The area can be reached in three hours by following a mostly paved road in one of family’s comfortable SUVs. Most of the time hunters are escorted during the short trip by a second car provided by the Sind Police Department although this is just a symbolic security measure that is not really needed.
The area is a 130,122 hectares (1,301 square kilometer) series of mountain ridges runing in a roughly north-south direction and adjacent plains with occasional rocky outcrops. These are partially rugged desert mountains. But most parts are accessible by dirt roads which makes hunting a lot easier. The highest point on this prime urial area is mount Bhuedar with the elevation of around 3,300 feet (1,000 m) while most of the hunting takes place at the altitude of 600 – 2100’. The elevation of valleys varies between 500-690 feet (150-210 m.)
The area is arid and the only perennial water source was Habb river (home to the threatened marsh crocodile) until the family started building a number of small water resorvoirs in the area. There are very few occasional Acacia trees scattered here and there and the main shrub that covers the area is cactus like Euphorbia caducifolia is the main source of food for the Blanford urial.
ACCOMMODATIONS & HUNTING METHOD
Any hunting day starts by a hearty breakfast served in the guest house at a very early hour of the day. A ride of 20-60 minutes in a 4-wheel drive truck on dirt roads takes the hunter to the area by sunrise where most of the time local scouts meet the hunting party. From this point onwards hunters are required to hunt on foot.
Since the terrain is not too hard or physically demanding and the local guides know the localities of the animals, it does not take hunters too long before they make their first contact with animals. Local guides and our PHs are good judge of trophy size and they will assist you while evaluating the trophies. Animals are in good numbers and the trophy quality is good. When all these combined, collecting a good size Blanford urial takes only a single day or two days at the most.
Hospitality is a way of life in Pakistan. Guests are considered to be a gift from God therefore people treat them with the most phenomenal hospitality one can encounter anywhere. The guests are treated like nothing less than royalty. Bhootani family too would like to make sure that their guests are well taken care of. So the hunters are accommodated in the family guest house where they can have their own bedroom with a separate bathroom. The guest house is located in the middle of the area and hunting areas can be reached from here within a 20-60 minute drive.
The power supply and the types of power outlets differ between countries as there is no international standard. The power supply in Pakistan is 220 volt. And the electricity is available in the guest house. Another luxury that a hunter can get after a long day in the field is the hot shower. Here in the guest house the family makes sure that hunters feel at home