I follow Sergey Khromukh on LinkedIn and Facebook. He is an Outfitter in Russia. I love his photos and of course, the idea of hunting in other countries. Sergey was kind enough to answer some questions. We have not met personally but I can tell by his content that he is a stand-up guy and runs a great operation. If you were ever interested in hunting Russia, Sergey is where I would start!
First Covid and now the war in Ukraine – how have these things affected your business?
The tourist business in Russia began to fall down immediately after the annexation of Crimea by Putin. The confrontation between Russia and the United States has begun. Closing of consulates and tightening in obtaining entry visas! I have not been able to come to Safari Club International conventions and other hunting and fishing shows since 2015, and this has dramatically reduced the number of American and other foreign hunters and fishermen by 40-50%. Covid-19 made this figure 3 times more. The war unleashed by Putin with Ukraine just brought the number of foreign hunters in my business to zero. All international flights to Khabarovsk are closed! Previously, it was possible to fly here via Seoul (Korea) or Tokyo (Japan).
For readers unfamiliar with hunting and fishing in Russia – what are some of the species available to hunt and fish?
Russia has very great potential to meet the needs for hunting and fishing of prestigious and rare species of birds and fish. In the Khabarovsk region, We offer two species of bighorn sheep (Yakut and Okhotsk), three species of bears (Amur brown bear, East Siberian brown bear, and Himalayan bear), Yakut and Ussuri moose, Wapiti and other types of deer and rare animals. Of the rare species of fish, we offer fishing for the Siberian and Sakhalin taimen.
Can we bring meat and/or trophies home?
My clients receive their trophies in the USA and other countries a couple of months after the hunt. As a rule, these are processed skulls or horns and salted dried skins! Meat cannot be a trophy here and not be imported into the US under US Customs regulations.
Can firearms be brought into the country?
It is possible to bring into Russia a firearm or a bow belonging to a hunter. To import weapons or bows, I will need to issue a special permit for each hunter! The flight of hunters to Khabarovsk via Moscow creates some inconvenience and therefore we can to give the hunters our rifles and cartridges for hunting.
Do you have clients from within Russia, or are they mostly international clients?
I had many American, Canadian, Spanish, and hunters from other countries before the events mentioned in point 1 of this interview! I love working with foreign hunters/fishers. Unfortunately, now we are working with clients from Russia, but there are so few of them and their number is decreasing every day due to the deep economic crisis in Russia. We hope and pray for an end to this situation!
If someone wants an economical 1st time hunting or fishing trip to Russia, what would you recommend?
I recommend booking and buying a brown bear hunt in the spring! Hunting Amur brown bear on bait for 7900 US dollars (all-inclusive – food, accommodation, transport, and trophy fee), I think this is the most economical price for a bear. Also, on an all-inclusive basis, you can get two East Siberian Brown Bear trophies for $9,900! Of course, bighorn sheep hunting is somewhat more expensive, but this is due to the payment of a helicopter rental.
What do people need to know about traveling to Russia? Do you help with documentation etc.?
Traveling to Russia is very easy and not scary at all! We will provide a hunter or fisherman with an invitation to apply for an entry Russian visa at the Russian Embassy in the United States after booking a hunt and air tickets. After obtaining a visa, we will issue a permit for the temporary import of a rifle, cartridges (no more than 30 pieces), or a bow, if necessary. The hunter also needs to book a room in a transit hotel in Moscow! We book air tickets from Khabarovsk to Okhotsk and back and a hotel in Khabarovsk! Of course, you need to have accident insurance. We issue recommendations on clothing and equipment for hunters and fishermen depending on the weather and season!
For you, what is your favorite thing to hunt personally?
The most interesting and exciting hunting is the snow sheep! Mining the sheep in the mountains requires good physical shape and nerves of steel! Hunting for the East Siberian brown bear on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk in the spring is also an interesting adventure. For one evening you can see more than 10 good trophy of brown bears.
What makes your operation different than other guides and outfitters in Russia?
I live and work in a fairly wild place (Khabarovsk Territory)! This is the habitat of many trophy animals. These animals can only be found here! This is the Amur brown bear, this is a very cheap hunt for the East Siberian brown bear (two trophies for the price of one), these are two bighorn sheep (Okhotsk and Yakutsk) available in one trip! Good knowledge of the habitats of animals my rangers increases the success of our hunts!
What do your trips include in regard to food, lodging, equipment, etc?
The equipment of our camps (tents, dining tents, showers, and bio-toilets) make the stay of camp hunters comfortable, and dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared by a professional chef make the stay in the camp even more enjoyable! In cooking, we use the meat of wild animals (deer or elk) as well as freshly caught fish (flounder or salmon). Sometimes on the coast of the sea, we treat bear hunters with crabs! In the camp, the hunter will of course need an individual sleeping bag! Fans of beer and stronger spirits can order the purchase of bottles in advance and we will deliver it to the camp for a fee.
It’s such a shame that politics and world circumstances affect fellow hunters and businesses like Sergey’s. If you’re interested in hunting some cool critters, at reasonable prices, and trying something new – reach out to Sergey. I’m also very grateful for him spending some time to answer questions for my readers!