In fact, hunting tourism is a serious business, one of the most profitable in the world. Quite a few companies in the world are busy organizing hunting trips for those who want to experience the thrill in exotic countries or just get a couple of trophies for their collection. And contrary to popular belief, not every hunter wants to necessarily go to Africa, where wild animals roam in huge herds. Many would like to go not to hot countries, but to temperate latitudes.
- Of course, this business has been developing for many years, - says Alexander Drugov. - However, in the Chelyabinsk region, we were the pioneers of this direction. It began in the perestroika years, when I, like many former government officials, began to think about how to organize my business. Since both my grandfather and my father were hunters (and my great-uncle, Arkady Vasilyevich Drugov, organized and headed the first society of hunters and fishermen in our region in 1942), I decided to continue the family tradition. At that time, a lot of projects were started with the involvement of foreign partners. So I decided to start organizing hunting for foreigners and immediately wrote a memo addressed to the governor of the region.
- Why the Governor?
- The point is that all wild animals are considered a government resource. And only the authorities have the right to issue licenses for the use of these resources. Therefore, without support at the level of the regional administration, it would be simply useless to start this business. True, the course of my notes was only given when V.'s team came to power. Solovyov and in the region began to think about attracting foreign investment. Then we organized the company "Diana-Tour", the founders of which were the regional department of hunting, the then well-known cooperative "Energia", headed by Alexander Aristov, and the insurance company "Megapolis". Of course, close cooperation was also established with such structures as the KGB (nevertheless, there are many zones in our region where access to foreigners is simply prohibited) and the department of licensing and permitting work of the Internal Affairs Directorate (it controls the circulation of weapons, in particular hunting). I had to do a lot of training of local personnel - game managers, gamekeepers. After all, foreigners who pay a lot of money also require an appropriate setting of the service. Vladimir Baklanov, who was then working in the hunting management department, rendered a great help to us.
- That is, before entering the field, it is necessary, for example, to complete a lot of paperwork?
- Yes, a lot. We coordinated the composition of each group with the KGB, the routes were determined in advance. Each "trunk" brought by foreigners was registered (and, I must say, abroad they usually hunt not with smooth-bore weapons, but with rifled weapons - for example, roe deer, elk are hunted with carbines equipped with solid optics). Even after the hunters have obtained a trophy (when hunting for roe deer, these are horns), it is necessary to obtain a veterinary certificate and a certificate of radiological safety for it. Otherwise, just the customs will not let you through.
- How did you find your clients?
- At first we worked with intermediaries, a Moscow company - another pioneer of hunting tourism on a scale of Russia, which took upon itself the meeting of guests in the capital and sending them to the South Urals (then there were no direct flights from abroad to Chelyabinsk It was). Then they began to work directly with Austrian and German firms, which also had Moscow representatives. Our first clients were very respectable gentlemen from Austria and Germany - elderly, but easy-going and dreaming of trophies from the Urals. True, incidents immediately began: first, at the insistence of the hunting management, we had to go not to the Chebarkul region, as we wanted at first, but to Etkulsky. Arriving at the place, we went out first to the morning hunt, then to the evening - and all to no avail. It is obvious that the local huntsmen were simply poorly prepared and did not track the beast. What to do? You can't lose face in front of the first clients! And then I decided to relocate to the Chebarkul region. To do this, I had to go to the regional center, report the transfer to the local curator from the state security. But the result was worth the effort: in the new location, the team of gamekeepers worked perfectly - on the very first day, magnificent stag beetles were obtained. European roe deer are smaller, the horns of males are very small, which is why our West Siberian roe deer attracts hunters so much. The Germans were delighted! - And that, there were no toasts at all “Well, for the hunt. "?