Foreign hunting tourism is vital for the development of Russia's hunting economy. This requires an association of professional guides and guides in Russia. The question is, do we need it?
It all started, as always, with an innocent, banal question: "How does hunting in Russia look through the eyes of a foreigner?" For the answer to it, I also followed the already familiar trajectory: I created an anonymous poll and posted a link to it on the Facebook social network. The results, let's face it, were surprising. First of all, by its quantity: I posted it in closed hunting groups with an aggregate coverage of at least 100 thousand people (I count by the size of the largest group), and received 5 (in words - five) answers. Of course, such a sample cannot claim scientific reliability, although it will be possible to draw some conclusions.
In addition, for the opportunity to communicate with hunters from countries outside the former socialist camp, I turned to the friendly resource BookYourHunt. om - a site that works on the same principle as Booking. om and Airbnb, but dedicated to hunting. Here the results surprised the second time - with their positive. The same five people responded to the call, and from their answers it followed that Russia is the best place for hunting in the world. At some point, I even suspected that the company sent out my questionnaire only to those customers who could only give positive feedback. After a detailed examination, it turned out, however, that the matter was different.
We are used to thinking that only those who are dissatisfied with something write reviews on the Internet, while the rest, without attracting too much attention to themselves, calmly digest their positive experience. In this case, everything turned out the other way around: only those who were ready to share their joy with the whole world took part in the survey, while those who were dissatisfied simply ignored the newsletter. I suppose that the same "positive bias" was present in the Facebook poll, and this should be taken into account when analyzing the results. By the way, about them.
If you believe the results of the polls, when it comes to hunting, everything is very good in Russia. Even more than good. “This is my favorite country of all the countries in which I hunted. I have visited more than 35 countries, but Russia ranks above all in terms of the quality of trophies and the number of animals. The people are beautiful and the food is delicious, ”says Aaron Simser, owner of Artistic Wildlife, a taxidermy studio, who wished not to remain anonymous. - Russia is very attractive in price and safer than other destinations outside of North America. Although the language barrier is very difficult to overcome (without an interpreter, you cannot step foot), it is fun and interesting. Palana Outfitters - top level team, amazing staff, everything was organized down to the smallest detail. I plan to hunt in Russia every year. "
This opinion is shared by the majority of respondents. At the same time, the main advantage of Russia as a hunting direction is not so much even the quantity of the animal as the quality of nature ("untouched expanses") and hunting. It is, in the opinion of the respondents, "real", unlike the refined picture from the TV. Hunting in Russia is perceived as a real adventure that one can be proud of even apart from prey and "trophies". Among the answers to the question regarding the main disadvantages of hunting in Russia, no one chose "little game" or "bad with nature." The prices also seem to be quite adequate. In other words, if we consider our hunting as a commercial offer, then it is quite attractive for us: "Russia is like Alaska and Canada, only half the price."
Difficulties with the price and quality of services provided are what, according to popular opinion, are the main problem of the hunting industry in Russia. This survey (do not forget, however, about the limited number of participants) does not confirm this opinion. Objectively, Moscow is a world-class transport hub; getting to it is no more difficult and no more expensive than to any randomly selected point located at the same distance from the tourist's place of permanent residence. There may be problems from Moscow to the hunting ground, but not all of the respondents mention them.
The quality of the service can probably be assessed as average: the responses from “very bad” to “better than anywhere else” were met in approximately equal proportions. However, one point must be kept in mind here. As I have already told, it seems that while hunting in Tajikistan, where clients were accommodated in shepherd huts built using Neolithic technologies, the Americans rated the service as 5+. They gave such an assessment not for the five-star comfort, but for the fact that one of the guides did not sleep all night and then brought a brazier with burning coals into the hut, then carried it out, thus maintaining a more or less comfortable temperature. It counts as diligence, and the attitude “it will do well, a la guerre comme a la guerre” does not work. But the professionalism (and sobriety, but more on that below) of the gamekeepers is worth working on.
Almost all respondents answered that the issues of ethics and legality in hunting are of fundamental importance for them - “otherwise, you’re just a poacher”. The respondents did not mention any serious problems with the legal side of hunting - "unless there are trifles that are not worth attention", "Russia is Russia, nothing happens here 100% according to the law." However, the answers to the question "Was everything legal in your hunt?" it is worth taking, as they say in America, with a pinch of salt. The same respondent can choose the option “I am sure that everything was 100% legal” and immediately tell that he did not take his weapon for the hunt, but rented it from the organizer of the hunt.
With ethics, everything is clearer and worse. Almost all of the participants in the survey on Facebook noted some kind of problem with the behavior of the gamekeepers, and many indicated the “lack of ethics among the guides” as the main reason why hunting in Russia is not worth it.