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What our clients write about us
Daryll Hosker Print

hoskerokhotsk_soobDear Editor, After doing research on the 3 sub-species of Snow Sheep in Siberia it was obvious there was only one outfitter to hunt the Kolyma, Okhostk and Yakutsk sheep with. So I booked direct with Irene and Sergey Rudakov of Kulu Safaris at the 2012 GSCO convention. I set it up with them that I would hunt the 3 sheep over 2 season’s , that way depending on the weather we could adjust our schedule accordingly. I arrived in Magadan on August 1 to rain and was told that so far they had only 1 day of sunshine all summer. Luckily the fog had lifted so we were able to fly out the next day to the Kolyma area. As quick as the helicopter dropped us off the mosquito’s and flies hit us. I’m used to bugs living in northern B.C. , but had never experienced them this bad before ! The first day we hunted around our main tent camp and didn’t see any rams, then the fog and rain moved in for 2 solid days. After the weather broke we loaded our packs and headed down valley 7 hours to another area, where the bugs were even worse. We couldn’t find any rams there so we hiked back to base camp where we were rained and fogged in for another 2 ½ days. Finally on day 9 the head guide Sergey found  1 lone ram while out scouting in the fog.

Earlier in the hunt they asked the common question “ how big of ram are you looking for “ ? I always explain that it was not so much the horn length, but “ old “ and heavy is what was important.

The next morning we left camp in the dark and by 7:30 Sergey had me within 300yds of the old ram, we had lots of time to look him over and could see he was at least 10 yrs old and broomed on both sides. Snow Sheep typically feed at mid-day so we had to wait quite a while for the ram to get out of his bed. When he finally got up, he quickly moved to where I couldn’t get a shot off, so we had to run through the boulders to try and cut him off, after falling on my knee, slamming my rifle scope into the rocks and being out of breath I had to make a quick 340 yd. shot down on him, the first shot wowed him up and the second finished it. The old ram turned out to be 12 years old !

The weather was holding so that night we were moved to the Okhotsk area. My interpreter could only stay for the first hunt,  it’s always more interesting and fun without an interpreter anyway, so I wasn’t too worried. Regardless of how poor my Russian speaking was we managed to communicate very well, even telling jokes and having lots of laughs every day. We hunted hard on the first day and after 3 big climbs, we were ready to head back to camp, I went up to grab my pack and noticed something black on the opposite mountain, which turned out to be 2 rams, with one looking decent. We decided we didn’t have time to climb all the way around to get above them so Sergey decided we should try dropping off the mountain and simply walk straight towards them in plain sight. We ended up walking to within 400 yds. directly below them , after a quick look with the spotting scope , I decided he was a good ram with some age. Sergey had to wave his arms to get them to stand up, after a few NOT so good shots we had a 10 yr. old Okhotsk ram !

The weather was perfect the next day so we flew back to Magadan where Sergey Rudakov and I decided we should try for the Yakutia as I still had 6 days before having to return home. The next day we did the 6 hour drive west of Magadan to a village where the helicopter picked us up and flew us into the Yakutia mountains. Due to the poor weather, we were dropped off in a valley short of our original destination. After 1 foggy, rainy day in camp the weather improved so we did a long hike around the mountains close to our base camp, but could only find ewes and lambs. The next day we decided to pack up with 3 days of food and head out for the remainder of our hunt. At about noon we stumbled across a band of 7 rams that had been feeding in the valley below us, buy the time we got organized they moved up the opposite mountain and were heading out. We didn’t have time to put the spotting scope on them, but it appeared the lead ram was decent, again after some NOT so good shooting at 385 yds. we had an 8 year old ram, not the old ram that I was looking for, but sometimes shit happens.

After 18 hunting days my now good friends and guides Sergey and Mikail (president of Coca-Cola Magadan) and I had all 3 sub-species of Siberian snow sheep. This hunt/adventure will go down as one of the best and most fun international hunts I’ve ever been on ! It was extremely well organized by Sergey and Irene. Great guides and we ate everything from smoked salmon, salted crab meat, fresh mountain mushroom soup, lots of sheep meat, right down to stale bread fatty kielbasa. On my return to Magadan I ran into friends John Amistoso, Richard Sand and Brian Hauck who had just finished there successful hunts as well.  

Daryll Hosker

 
Richard Sand Print

sand_soob_smallDennis:Thanks for your great advice to me! When I told you at the GSCO/Ovis convention in January 2013 that I wanted to hunt the Okhotsk Snow Sheep you immediately said to me: Just make sure to go with Kulu Safaris! And so I did. I booked the hunt immediately with Kulu Safaris on the convention, and now 1 ½ years later I came home yesterday.

Going out on 13 August in Moscow I met and teamed up with some of the world’s greatest sheep hunters: John Amistoso and Bryan Hauck, and we all flew together to Magadan.

Kulu Safaris, Sergey and Irene Rudakov arranged a perfect hunt for the Okhotsk Snow Sheep for all three of us. We were flown in by one of the big MI8 Russian helicopters into 3 different camps all about 1 hours flying (approx. 200 km) Northwest of Magadan. John and Bryan had camps only about 20 km from one another. I had camp about 60 km from John and Bryan. Altitude was very low. 900 – 1,300 meters. Some places quite easy to climb and walk, but some places on the steep rock slides it could be tough.

As you know this is quite a physical hunt, but just exactly a hunt like I like it. Great landscape. When the weather was good we were 10 – 12 hours in our boots on the ground every day in these mountains. I had 3 hunting days where we walked approx. 20 - 30 km a day.

For sure there are Okhotsk Snow Sheep in all of these mountains, but I must say, there is quite far between them. On the first 2 hunting days, meaning after covering more than 40 km on the ground, I had not seen any sheep, male or female, but we did see lots of tracks, etc. On the 3rd day my guides spotted 3 mature rams far, far away, and too far away for us to judge the horns, but we could see that they were mature, and the hunt started. 2 ½ hours later we had sneaked up to where we thought those rams should be, but it took us a long time to locate them again, as they were in a very small, narrow and very steep rock slide canyon which was only 80 meters wide, and we did not spot the rams until they were only 40 or 50 meters away from us. I could have taken them with a bow easily. Two of the rams were very good average trophies in the 33 to 35 inch range. The last ram was an authentic monster. This was the purest luck, but what a sight. The rams spooked and ran down the steep rock slide at a 60 degrees angle with loose rocks flying everywhere. I waited till they came about 200 meters down, made a loud whistle, which made them stop, and then I shot the biggest of the 3 rams right through the shoulders. To me it is a dream trophy, and I regard it as one of my best rams ever. Almost 42 ½ inches x almost 14 inches, and with great mass all the way, like if it had been a California Bighorn Sheep. What huge luck we had had, and how we cherished it. The rock slide was so steep and dangerous that it took us more than 1 hour to get down to the ram, which had rolled another 400 meters down. Luckily none of the horns were broken, but they were bruised a lot from the rolling, and he had lost a few 1/8 on both sides, but not enough to ruin the trophy.

Both John and Bryan were also lucky, and each bagged a great trophy ram in the same 3 days. One of the reasons for our great luck was the very careful planning by Sergey and Irene Rudakov, and of course also the fact that we actually had very good weather all of these 3 hunting days, and were only pestered by millions and millions and millions of mosquitos. You kind of have to get used to the hammering.

When we came back to Magadan we met with Daryll Hosker who had managed to bag 3 different species of Snow Sheep in 17 days, which was a new record. He had bagged the Kolyma, the Okhotsk and the Yakutia.

All I can say is that Kulu Safaris is just a great, great outfitting company that I will recommend to anyone, but remember to be in excellent sheep shape when you arrive, because only by walking, walking and walking you can make sure to get good trophies. Sheep are there, everywhere, but they move great distances every day, and you have to find them yourself.

Once again, Dennis: Thanks for your great advice.

Best regards

Richard

 

RICHARD: This is one of the most magnificent Okhotsk snow sheep I have ever seen. Matter of fact, it is the greatest snow sheep of ANY subspecies I have ever seen. Unless I am missing something really bad, this ram will definitely be the new #1 Okhotsk by a long shot. It may even end up being the largest snow sheep ever taken. I know photos can be a little deceiving, but with the ram being over 42” and almost 14” bases, it will have to score near 175 points.

Anyway, congratulations on your wonderful success. I knew you would love Sergey & Irene, as they are the best. You must get that ram scored, and your other great trophies too, and be at our convention in 2015 to receive multiple awards. This ram and your other trophies are truly deserving.

Dennis

 
Renee Snider Print

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I had a wonderful and very successful hunt for all three snow sheep. All very capable, efficient and courteous staff! I look forward to my next hunt with you and will certainly recommend your organizations to others. I thank you very much for a great and memorable experience!

 
Dennis Campbell Print

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I had surgery (double knee replacement) only five months ago. This was a test for my health and ability. Stefan, Alexander and Konstantine were very understanding. I had to walk and climb slowly. They were very patient with me and understanding. They helped me very much and even helped me put on my boots which were too tight and new (ha ha!). It was great to be back and to hunt with Kulu once again. Sergey and Irene, you are both the best in Russia or anywhere else.

 

 
Andrey Ignatiev,Russia Print

"Fascinating hunt. That was my first time hunting like that and I was impressed much. My guide was a professional hunter. That affected our negotioation: he was short-spoken. He answered questions unwillingly (evidently the reason for that was a habbit to hunt solo). I'm grateful to him for his willingness to find a big bear. That made us watch bears which did not meet our demands for 5 days. But after all we met decent ones."

 
Bruce R. Keller,TX, USA Print

"KULU SAFARIS is definately the gold standard of Asian hunting, from whom all other outfitters and booking agents should learn a lesson. I have never experienced such a level of quality and excellence in any other Asian outfitter. Everyting, from camps to guides to equipment far exceeded my wildest expectation! Congratulations, and many thanks for a wonderful hunt."

 
John Gulius, PA, USA Print

"I would first like to thank you for a great hunt. You should be very proud of your operation, I feel you do an outstanding job in every way. All of your staff, guides, camp help, office help etc. do an admirable job. The base and spike camps were more than i had expected, and most of all is the warm personal way you come across to your clients, i felt that you take a personal interest in your clients, and truly want to give us your best.I have been to Russia several times with other outfitters, and I rate KULU as one of the best outfitters I have hunted with over the years around the world. Thank you again to all."

 
Larry Boyd Higgins, MI, USA Print

"This was my third hunt with KULU and each trip has gotten better. Spike camps with KULU are better than most base camps i have been in throughout Russia. This is the first trip that i spent any amount of time in one of your base camps. It was great! it was a very nice way to wind down a hunt. KULU has set a standard that other russian outfitters should follow. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for everything. Vasilly is one of the best guides I have hunted with worldwide. I am glad that i have been able to harvest all three sheep species with him!”

 
Barry Reid Young, CA, USA Print

"I was very pleased with your whole operation. This was only my second sheep hunt. I have hunted all over North America, with many guides, and I must say that I rate your hunting trip as one of the best I have experienced. I can't thank you enough for everything you did for me!”

 
Sergei Samotin, Russia Print

“I hunted the Okhotsk snow sheep during September 2008 after I had taken a Kolyma snow sheep in one day of hunting. We actually had to spend the first four days of the Kolyma hunt in base camp because the weather would not allow us to move to the Seimkan Mts. for the Okhotsk snow sheep hunt. The rain stopped and we set up our fly camp. The helicopter pilots missed the proper drop-off point and we had landed in an absolutely new area. Our guides had never been here before and had no idea where the sheep could be, but before the first day ended we saw a herd of five males. All of them were too young for shooting, but it was a nice start. The next three days were very foggy, but we did not waste our time and were hunting from dawn till dusk. Then the clouds were blown out by the terrible wind. In seven hunting days we had checked every hill and had covered about 110 or 115 km, but all we saw were young rams or females. On the last day before changing hunting locations we found them. The youngest one was about 11 years old, but my trophy ram was a minimum of 16 and possibly even 17 years old with massive (like an argali) horns with broken and broomed ends. Sergey Rudakov and my guide Sergei Zuev told me that if the horns were not broken it could be very close to the world record. Anyway, I am happy. I am sure that such a nice trophy is a result of my stubbornness, stamina and of course, my 338 Lapua mag¬num shooting skills.”

/OVIS (Winter 2009), page 79/

 
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