PESHAWAR: The hunting season for Ibex concluded on the last day of the past year with a Pakistani hunter bagging a prized trophy of 45 inch horns.
The winter was at its peak, when Maqsood Ali from Swabi climbed up the slopes of Golen Community Game Reserve of Chitral challenging snow and below freezing temperatures.
Maqsood was not alone, there were other hunters too in the lurk for the elusive Himalayan Ibex known for its agility and speed on the treacherous mountainous slopes.
However, only Maqsood, after a gruelling 14 days of tracking and stalking in snow, managed to gun down the huge male Ibex having horns measuring 45 inches.
He was assisted by Chitral Wild Life Block Officer Javed Ahmed who had assigned a game watcher to help Maqsood stalk the prey.
Under licenced trophy-hunting scheme, hunters pay a fee to the provincial government and are allowed to hunt over-aged males. Young virile males and females are prohibited for the sake of continuity of the species. The proceeds from hunting fee go 80% to the development of community living around the game reserve and guarding the wildlife and 20% goes to the provincial exchequer.
The fee for shooting a Himalayan Ibex is nearly Rs500,000.
Maqsood said it was lucky day for him and the game watcher to have brought down the mighty male Ibex in the last hours of the last day of the hunting season.
K-P government had auctioned three Ibex hunting licences and two were acquired by Maqsood and Engieer Hayat Muhammad.
However, Hayat Muhammad has reportedly not killed an Ibex as yet. But, Maqsood’s game watcher kept encouraging him pushing him on in inclement weather to keep on tracking the prey in freezing cold and finally they were able to have the Ibex bull in range and a perfect shot.
Maqsood told The Express Tribune that he was overjoyed on once-in-a-lifetime adventure. He thanked the wildlife department and particularly Block Officer Javed Ahmed and the game watcher he had assigned to him.
However, Maqsood said that after paying such huge amount of fee, the hunters expect a decent night shelter. “Outdoor life is part of hunting, but people paying almost half-a-million rupees deserve some shelter in freezing cold,” he said after spending 14 nights in a goat-shed with game watcher.
“When I was leaving for the hunting grounds, I was assuming that having paid such heavy fee at least they would provide us night shelter after all day walk in the snow, but I was wrong. I slept in a goat-shed that the game watcher had arranged for me, otherwise I would have frozen in the cold,” Maqsood said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2019.
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