According to Atyrau Oblast Society of Hunters and Fishermen, from the beginning of the year in our region 264 wolves, 14 jackals and 57 wolf cubs have been exterminated. In this race for wolf scalps the individual leadership has Alpysbai Koulpeisov, 53-year-old hunter from Atyrau, whose score is the highest - 172 wolves. The second was Daulbai Kanatbaev, the huntsman from the Isatai district, who exterminated 47 wolves.
REVENGE FOR THE CUDSTER
–I lived in the village of Komsomol in Makat district, – says Alpysbai. – I had cattle and life wasn’t bad. In 1991 I was going to buy a car and for this purpose I decided to sell the meat of three cows. But when I drove the truck to the pasture to load the cows, I saw that one of them was eaten by wolves. After that incident I went to the society of hunters and concluded a contract with them.
Alpysbai works as unit operator at DossorMunaiGas oil and gas production company. During his off-rotation period he drives around the district and helps the farmers to fight the wolves. He says that the figure 172 also contains 20 wolf scalps yielded by farmers that he took with him. When Alpysbai is approached with the request to hunt the wolves, he takes local residents of the area to assist him during hunting. Together they encompass the wolves, and if someone from his assistants manages to smash a skull of a sharp-toothed robber with a mattock, Alpysbai fairly gives his due 14 000 tenge (this is the premium for a killed wolf; for a jackal or wolf cub – 7 000 tenge. – M. S), and upon arrival to the city he refunds these expenses from the hunting society funds.
– I don’t’ charge cattlemen for my work, although there are hunters who charge one sheep for each killed wolf from the cattlemen.
ON THE WAR-PATH
According to Alpysbai, in the last years the part of skilled wolfers is hunting for the sake of making stuffed animals and rugs. They wait in ambush in order to kill a wolf of a suitable size and colour pattern. Taxidermists’ hunting season starts in winter with the fall of the first snow, because in summer time the skin is faded and ugly. The price of one stuffed animal may vary from $1 000 to $5 000 US, depending on the size of a trophy and dressing quality. Extermination of the pack leader only doesn't dismantle farmers’ problem.
– To fight the wolvesproperly, you need to hunt also in summer, – says Alpysbai. – Wolves can't run during the hot weather and prefer to rest in their holes or bushes. If you met a wolf in a hot day, it means that you passed by its hole and disturbed it.
As a rule, the wolf makes its den in a place equally located from several cattle breeding farms. At the beginning, after the delivery of cubs the she-wolf build its den a little far from the farms, but after two months the parent-wolves make a new den, close to their potential take.
– For extermination of one wolf family I spend from one to ten days, – says Alpysbai. – I find the main track that adult predators use for going from their den to water-hole and feeding places, and set an ambush. I kill one or both adult wolves, and dig out the hole for the cubs. As a rule, there are 8 to 10 cubs. You need to be careful. If arlan-wolf senses danger and discovers you, it will take away its family and make a new den and continue attacking the farmers.
– From your experience, do you remember the cases when wolves surprised you with cunning tricks?
– Once we were chasing an arlan - a fierce male wolf. The wolf reached the top of a hill and then, all of a sudden, disappeared. When we came to the top of the hill, I could not understand where it went. Then I noticed narrow cracks in the ground. The ground there cracked from the heat. The cracks were very narrow, but deep. The wolf has squeezed into one of those cracks and hid itself. But I couldn't spare the enemy, even if I was impressed by its cunning trick.
– Do you use dogs for hunting?
– In Atyrau I haven’t seen a wolfhound yet, the dog that could stand against a wolf. Once I brought home a small wolf cub – all dogs have put tails between their legs. This is the nature!
– Do you have the persons whom you taught wolf-hunting?
– So far, I haven’t found the person who is willing to hunt, but I am looking. It would good if I find the person who will continue my business. I am looking for a strong and courageous young man, who can easily walk 20-25 km and who, during wolf hunting, will not shoulder his rifle every time he sees a bird or fresh traces of a wild boar. I need someone who thinks the same way, the successor. Most likely, I will find that type of man among the cattle farmers with whom I normally work. By the way, they called me from the village of Bereke that is near Mukur of Kyzyl-Koga district. I need to get ready for the road …
WKT Reference: According to data provided by Atyrau oblast society of hunters, the population of wolves in our region is about 4 800 animal units. All-the-year-round shooting and payment of bonus as per the program “Organization of sports hunting for wolves for the purpose of regulation the predators’ numbers for preservation of population of wild boars and saigas (antelopes)” allows controlling the population of gray depredators.
By Murat Sultangaliev
Photo by Kanat Eleuov
And from Alpysbai Koulpeisov’s archive