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International hunts are not for everybody. Many hunters will spend there entire hunting careers hunting in their back yards or close to home. Many will never cross state lines in search of big game. But for the more adventurous hunter, international hunting offers a world of possibilities. With literally hundreds of trophy species distributed throughout the world, international hunting offers the chance to travel to some of the worlds most scenic and unique destinations while in pursuit of that special trophy one has always dreamed about. There are too many species to list here, but I will list some of the world’s most desired hunts that should be on every hunter’s dream bucket list.
1) Cape Buffalo
Cape buffalo hunts are the most affordable of Africa’s big five hunts. These hunts offer the opportunity to utilize your trackers skills and present a constant awareness of danger. Buffalo hunts are available in over 10 African countries and are relatively affordable. Commonly referred to as “black death” when wounded, buffalo are a favored big game animal of many experienced African hunters and should be at the top of an international hunter’s bucket list!
2) Russian Brown Bear
Kamchatka has the world’s highest population of brown bear. Although Alaska produces a few very large trophies each year, the average size in Kamchatka is larger, the success rates are much higher, and the price is significantly more affordable. The fall brown bear hunts in Russia are typically done by watching over streams where the bears come to feed on salmon. The winter hunts are done by using snowmobiles driven by the guide to pull the hunters in a sled while looking for the tracks of a big bear. Once a large bear is spotted, the final stalk is usually done either on foot or with the use of snow shoes or skis.
3) Himalayan Tahr
Hunting a Himalayan tahr in the mountains of New Zealand is certainly one of the world’s most scenic hunts. Posing with a trophy bull tahr with New Zealand’s spectacular scenery as a backdrop creates one of the best trophy photos possible. Due to the high altitude that these tahr live at, being in shape is certainly a plus for this hunt. You will have to put in some work to get your trophy, but the work put in is what makes this trophy so meaningful to the hunter. Tahr hunts are relatively affordable and are a great reason to extend your trip with some sightseeing or maybe even a red stag or chamois for your game room!
4) Marco Polo Sheep
The Marco Polo sheep is certainly the greatest sheep trophy on the planet. Sporting massive curling horns with spreads up to and exceeding 60”, a trophy Marco Polo sheep takes a commanding place in a hunter’s game room. The biggest Marco Polo argali are found in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan average over 55” and most of the largest specimens over 70” were all taken in Tajikistan. Marco Polo Argali are also found in Kyrgyzstan but tend to run smaller.
5) Lord Derby Eland
The Lord Derby Eland is certainly one of Africa’s greatest antelope hunts. Lord Derby Eland are found in truly wild Africa. The pursuit of these eland is not easy, as the heat can be oppressive and require long treks following these wanderers. But watching a skilled African tracker follow the eland’s trail of clues as it browses along for miles can be amazing. These hunts take place in northern Cameroon or in the C.A.R. with the C.A.R seeing a lot of religious based unrest, most Lord Derby Eland hunting currently takes place in Cameroon, where no charter flights are necessary.
6) Mid-Asian Ibex
The largest Mid-Asian Ibex in the word are found in Kyrgyzstan and reach horn lengths of up to 60”. Mid-Asian Ibex are typically hunted at 10,000’ and higher. These hunts are conducted primarily on horseback and hunters can expect to ride 8-10 hours a day. A good amount of walking will also be required to reach the ridgetops where you will glass the surrounding areas for your trophy ibex. The hunt will start at a base camp but typically will shift to a fly camp. The food will be barely adequate when in the fly camp, but the scenery and hunting experience will be awesome!
7) Argentina Red Stag
Argentina arguably has the best red stag hunting in the world. While lacking some of the giants that are now being bred in Europe and New Zealand, Argentina has the best free-range stag hunting in the world. These red stag hunts are typically conducted on horseback and you will dismount to stalk your stag once he is located. To hear the roar of a red stag is an awe-inspiring moment that ever hunter should strive to experience. Argentina also usually avoids the pay by the point system that is practiced in Europe and New Zealand and is one of the most affordable stag hunts in the world.
8) Russian Moose
The Chukotka Moose, which is found on the Kamchatka Peninsula, is the largest antlered animal in the world. With an average of over 61” and specimens being taken into the mid 70’s, these moose are immense. A moose hunt to the Kamchatka area is a trip of a lifetime for many. In the fall, these moose are hunted along salmon streams similar to the methods used in Alaska. In the winter, snowmobiles pulling the hunter in a sled is the preferred method, although the final stalk will be done on foot or with snow shoes or skis. With good populations of moose and very high success rates, a Kamchatka moose hunt is a hunt that should be experienced by all!
9) American Elk
A trophy elk hunt is the dream of millions of American hunters and most of these hunts can be achieved with good planning and a little luck. Whether hunting in Colorado or one of the states that offer over-the-counter tags or applying year after year to get a coveted draw tag in highly coveted state like Arizona or Utah. Most elk hunts take place in scenic forested mountains and the thrill of hearing a bugling elk will not soon be forgotten.
10) African Elephant
The African elephant is the largest land mammal on earth and certainly is a pinnacle hunt for many African hunters. With Ivory getting tougher and tougher to import into many countries, the opportunity to hunt this magnificent animal might not be available in the not-too-distant future, even though hunting it helps sustain the populations by bringing value to it on a hungry and poor continent. Elephants are typically hunted on foot and long walks in hot conditions are the norm. You will put your work in on a typical elephant hunt but the experience of taking one of these massive creatures and then seeing the benefits that it brings to the local village is a rewarding and unforgettable experience.