Justin Jones, Assistant Editor
Editor’s note: Subscriber Bob Keagy (Report 11106) hunted for urial and ibex in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan near Dureji, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Karachi, with Caprinae Safaris (011-90-242-322-00-27; firstname.lastname@example.org). Here’s his story.
Among many overseas hunts, my recent Pakistan hunt was certainly right up there at the top. I purchased an ibex hunt at the SCI San Francisco banquet and upgraded with the Blanford urial. Caprinae had everything well-planned and organized, was responsive, and had fine, supportive guides and local staff. Accommodations were in a lovely guesthouse with excellent cuisine. Our Jan. temperatures were moderate and pleasant. Upon arrival in Karachi, I was met in a timely manner by Bilal, who guided me for urial. From that point on, whenever we were traveling, there was a security guard with a AK-47 either in the backseat or in the following car. At no point during the hunt did I feel the slightest danger or difficulty beyond hauling my diabetic 73-year-old self up the ridges.
Together with local staff, Bilal and I hunted the first full day after arrival. We climbed a mountain at first light and reached the summit at about 10:30. We saw quite a few urial but could not get a shot. At one point we waited on a craggy lookout over a large basin for over an hour while local guides unsuccessfully tried to push some urial rams within range.
After a late lunch, we began our disconsolate return down the mountain when we saw movement several hundred yards away. Two rams had bolted across a wide draw, and our head local guide, Rana, told me to get in position, as there might be other urial moving about.
Sure enough, soon a group of seven or eight urial crossed the shoulder of the draw and presented me with a 225-yard uphill shot. They were walking quickly among the boulders, and I managed a difficult shot just as the big urial ram was disappearing between two boulders. The jubilation helped my tired feet during the remaining hour and a half down the mountain after a 15-hour day.
That evening another guide, Mete, arrived from Caprinae’s Antalya office to assist and join our crew. We all left early the next morning to hunt Sindh ibex, driving across a broad plain toward a high sandstone ridge projecting straight up out of the desert floor. Our local staff and guides were following in a second Land Rover. We climbed the ridge and were driving down the other side toward a distant mountain range when we noticed that the second vehicle had disappeared. Far behind us, it reappeared, flashing its lights, with staff hanging out of the windows, waving frantically. Rana miraculously spotted a big ibex grazing behind a bush about 250 yards above a curve in the road!
We turned around and drove back as quietly as possible, parking the two vehicles behind a shoulder above the curve of the road. Walking bent over, we headed to the foot of the curve, where there was a roadside culvert with a fortuitous stone guard wall about three feet high. I hopped into the culvert and rested the rifle on top, the stone guard wall making a perfect rest. It was a big ibex, alright, and I had a perfect sight picture as the ibex stepped out from behind the bush. The ibex dropped at the shot, and although probably unnecessary, I put in a second shot. (I had no desire to chase a three-legged ibex!)
Everyone was simply stunned by our good fortune. This was unprecedented—an ibex hunted from the road! It was about as likely as finding a leprechaun’s pot of gold. I looked at my watch: it was only 7:45 in the morning.
It was difficult to get to the ibex, but the guides soon had the gorgeous 13-year-old, 40-inch ibex down to the road. After obligatory photos, we were back at the compound about 10 a.m.
We returned to Karachi two days later, and I spent a quiet day reading and resting at the very nice Pearl Continental Hotel. I returned to San Francisco via Dubai on Emirates Air, which had impressively good service.
We were blessed with extraordinary good fortune on this hunt, but it is also true that one makes one’s own luck. Despite the incredibly low rainfall, there were little seeps and basins with water, and game was, as far as I could determine, plentiful. The Caprinae guides, especially Balil and Rana, were excellent and together with local staff created the opportunities for our success, for which I am grateful. I highly recommend the folks at Caprinae.
Postscript: We heard from Mehmet Alkan of Caprinae Safaris, who told us the prince controls seven to 10 urial and ibex tags per year in this area and that Caprinae has access to tags in other regions as well. The list price is $44,500 US for a combo hunt for Blanford urial and Sindh ibex. Openings are available for combo hunts from Oct. 2018 through March 2019. Full information about these hunts can be found at www.caprinae.com/hunting-sindh-ibex-in-pakistan.