A Collusion Of Chaos

Hunting Snow Sheep In Siberia

On an exciting trip to Siberia to hunt snow sheep, Mark got to fly in an old Russian
military helicopter. He noticed everybody onboard was praying as it lifted off!

Hunting has thoroughly enhanced my life. Some misinformed individuals view hunting as simply pulling the trigger and taking an animal’s life. This misconception is a far cry from reality. Hunting is much more than punching a tag. The anticipation of the adventure, preparation, experiencing other cultures, seeing different places off the beaten path, making new friends — all add up to rewarding memories and give life an interesting dimension. Taking an animal is but one small piece of the overall experience.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience many adventures in far-flung, remote parts of this planet. For starters, I’ve done 29 hunts in Africa encompassing 10 countries, and 25 hunts in Asia in 11 countries. This has opened my eyes to say the least. All have been rewarding and memorable, but there have been a few bumps in the road.

Once Mark was on the mountain, it was worth all the headaches and discomfort.

Disorder And Disarray

few years ago, I traveled to Siberia, Russia for a snow sheep hunt. At the time, there was a once-a-week flight from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Upon arrival I was greeted by a Hungarian hunter and my Russian outfitter with whom I’d be hunting the following week. Early the next morning we drove to the airport to catch a flight to Plano. A message came over the loud speaker: “Flight to Plano delayed.” Two hours later we heard the same statement. We sat in the parking lot twiddling our fingers. Every two hours the same message repeated: “Flight to Plano delayed.” Finally, late in the evening we heard, “Flight to Plano cancelled.” Not exactly music to our ears. We returned to the motel.

The next day we arrived at the airport early in hopes to catch our flight. Every two hours we heard the same dreadful message: “Flight to Plano delayed” until late in the evening when we heard “Flight to Plano cancelled.” Back to the motel again. This went on for six long, boring days.

Finally, on the seventh day it was announced our flight was scheduled for departure. After facing a shoving and pushing match to get through the backlog of travelers through security — and a thorough pat down by a very attractive female Russian security agent — I was finally on the plane!

We flew to another airport only to hop on an old Russian military helicopter. I didn’t want to see the maintenance schedule. I noted most everyone on board was praying in some manner as the helicopter took off. I found out later we had to take a helicopter to Plano as they were working on the runway and a plane couldn’t land. We were all thankful when we landed and our feet were on solid ground.

The adventure continued when he got to take a 12-hour trip in this
tracked contraption across very rough terrain. No napping for him!

Worth The Effort

Our local guide picked us up and drove a short distance where we loaded our gear in a Russian tracked contraption that looked like a tank without a turret. At 6:00 in the evening we took off in it toward the hunting area. Have you ever ridden in one of these for 12 hours?

We arrived at spike camp at six in the morning. By the way, it’s impossible to sleep when a “tank” is going over rough terrain through remote Siberia! After a quick breakfast we loaded our gear on horseback and took off up the valley. Three hours later we dismounted and began setting up small tents. When we finished organizing our camp, the guides wanted us to climb a mountain to look for sheep. This had all the makings of an endurance contest.

After six hard days of mountain climbing, enduring rain and cold, we finally scored on nice rams. Immediately, we reversed our course and began the journey back. Our tank broke down on the way. This isn’t a place you call AAA or anyone else for that matter. Fortunately, the driver was able to repair the vintage military unit — after several hours of difficult maintenance.

When we finally arrived back in Petropavlovsk everyone was exhausted. Unfortunately, I missed the once-a-week flight back to Anchorage, Alaska, and had to wait another week! After three weeks away from home I called my wife and explained the situation. As you might gather, she wasn’t thrilled. She asked me if I had a girlfriend. I reassured her I didn’t, but if I could find that gal who frisked me at the airport …

Purchase A PDF Download Of The American Handgunner Sept/Oct 2019 Issue Now!