WTA Owner Mark Peterson recently had the opportunity to visit Pakistan for a second time. The follow is part one of two blog posts highlighting his adventure.
After my first trip to Pakistan in March, 2016, I knew that I wanted to return. The culture of Pakistan and the warm hospitality of the people I previously experienced was an adventure to be shared. On this trip, one year later, I was joined by my brother-in-law, Eric Schlukebir and a client from WTA. This is a trip that I spent a lot of time planning, as we are visiting a couple of new locations not normally hunted. One of the main goals of this hunt was setting the foundation and local partnerships in the areas to set up many more successful hunts for WTA’s clients. Our host and guide was, again, Noor Khan.
We first journeyed to the Western Jhelum CBO, which is a conservation area in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. The Punjab Province has a population of about 100 million people. The Western Jhelum Urial Conservation & Trophy Hunting Committee (CBO) was established in 2011 to bring back a healthy population of Punjab Urial along with other wildlife species. Like many areas around the world, the native wildlife population was taking a beating from illegal hunting and poaching, habitat degradation and a lack of awareness and education within the local communities regarding the benefits of wildlife management. Without the CBO, there would not be any hunting of Punjab Urial in the area today. While there, we saw the results of the CBO with an ever increasing number of healthy Punjab Urial. It was our goal, and the goal of the CBO, to hunt for an over-matured Urial under their now established and well-monitored trophy-hunting program.
On the first day of our hunt in this desert terrain, we only had a short hike to see our first group of rams. They were young and the population looked very healthy. As we continued to hike up hills and gullies, we saw more and more rams but they were also the young future for these Punjab Urial. We continued to glass ram after ram until we spotted an old ram. He was a shooter and after a short stalk and a single shot, my trophy was down. Following the traditional bleeding of the animal, we returned to the local village.
At the village, we had a meeting with the local elders and leaders and had the customary milk tea. This tradition is how successful hunts are celebrated and a great chance to meet the people on the ground actually making the CBO successful.
The CBO of Western Jhelum has the primary goal of maintaining a healthy large population of Punjab Urial and they are, as we saw, having success. The system benefits the local communities by providing incentives to conserve their wildlife resources. And, to hunters from all over the world, the CBO is providing the opportunity to again, on a very limited basis, hunt the Punjab Urial. The money provided by the hunters of these trophies, will continue to insure the existence of a healthy and thriving population of these great animals.