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Game Resources

Author:  V.S. Molotov
Source:  Molotov V.S. State Management of the Baikal Region Nature Resources / V.S. Molotov, K.Sh. Shagzhiyev; ed. by V.P. Orlov, N.G. Rybalsky. Moscow: NIA-Priroda Publishers, 1999. 244p. [Ch. 2.6. Game Resources and Game Husbandry]. pp. 87-102.

1. Game resources state
2. Game species of hoofed animals
3. Fur species of animals
4. Forest and field game
5. Game resources exploitation
6. Fur animals hunting and wild hoofed animals hunting
7. Wolves quantity regulation 
8. Wild plants gathering
9. Deer farming
10. Sport hunting and trophy business
11. Especially protected natural territories in Buryatia game husbandry system
12. Commercial hunting

Lake Baikal basin is a traditional commercial hunting region of the country which produces fur, wild animals meat, waterfowl and forest game, wild fruit, berries, mushrooms, technical and medicinal raw materials.
Commercial hunting resources in the Baikal region are characterized by great species diversity. There are more than 30 species of mammals, 6 species of forest game (Gallinaceae) and about 30 species of waterfowl.
On the territory of the basin there are 6 commercial hunting regions: the Northern, the Pribaikalsky, the Udinsky, the Central, the Sayan-Khamar-Daban and the South-Zabaikalsky ones.
The hunting areas occupy 33,353.3 thousand hectares and they are characterized by high productivity, because their considerable part is in the coniferous taiga with the cedar. These biotopes are characterized with the stable nutrition base which provide the stable quantity of game species and first of all the sable and the squirrel.
The level of the hunting areas development depends on transport availability and the areas productivity. The areas of the Central and the Pribaikalsky hunting areas are fully developed, the Northern and the Sayan-Khamar-Daban ones are 70% developed, the South-Zabaikalsky one is 80% developed and the Udinsky hunting area is 65% developed.
The most valuable sable race lives in the region. The sable high density (2 and more animals per 1,000 hectares) is characteristic of the Pribaikalsky, the Sayan-Khamar-Daban and the South-Zabaikalsky hunting areas. Thanks to favourable hunting conditions the South-Zabaikalsky area has greater potential for the sable exploitation than the whole Buryatia at an average.
The average density of the squirrel in the bigger part of the region is high and is as follows per 1,000 hectares in the districts: the Pribaikalsky one – 12.2, the Udinsky one 48.2, the Central one 15, the Sayan-Khamar-Daban one 27, the South-Zabaikalsky 19.2 animals per 1,000 hectares. In the cedar and mixed (with the cedar) forests the quantity of the squirrel is 40 animals per 1,000 hectares and is characterized with the smallest changeability over the years.
The most productive musquash areas (250-400 animals per 1,000 hectares) are situated in the Tunka, the Barguzin and the Upper Angara cavities, in the flood-lands of the Selenga river.
The region has favourable conditions for developing the musquash farming profitable for the commercial associations.
High density of hoofed animals is characteristic of the South-Zabaikalsky district hunting areas: the elk – 1.8, the Manchurian deer 3.2, the roe 2.4 animals per 1,000 hectares. In other districts the density is within broad limits, i.e. the elk 0.1-0.48, the Manchurian deer 0.35-0.9 animals per 1,000 hectares.
The pre-hunting (biological) quantity of game species in the region is (thousand head): the sable – 25.1; the squirrel 1,195.7; the musquash 117.6; the ermine 9.7; the white hare 92.7; the elk 5.8; the Manchurian deer 15.6; the roe 25.5; the reindeer 3.6; the forest game 378.7.
The commercial resources quantity is predetermined for different species and is as follows (thousand head): the sable – 5.77; the squirrel 904.7; the musquash 86.1; the ermine 4.6; the white hare 37.2; the elk 0.43; the Manchurian deer 1.53; the roe 3.19; the reindeer 0.361; the forest game 116.2.
The fur and hoofed animals  and the forest game resources are under-hunted in the hunting districts in general, though there is over-hunting of some species. The sable is characterized by the maximum exploitation regimen and is a limited resource.


Nowadays the game specialists of the republic observe increase in commercial species hunting. Economic development of the taiga resources has become mass poaching.
The hoofed animals population is greatly damaged by numerous wolves, in spite of all the measures taken to reduce the species quantity. Forest fires which have become frequent in the Republic in recent years, influence the geographic migrations of the game animals populations.
To determine the quantity of the main commercial game animal species the Buryat game husbandry department organizes and registers the following on the territory of the Republic:
- winter post-hunting registration of the wild animals and fur animals and birds in the hunting areas, game reserves, national parks and nature reserves (the total length of the routes all over the Republic is 10,779 km, the number of test grounds is 22 with the total area of 122.9 thousand hectares);
- regular republican registration of wolves;
- spring and autumn registration of the musquash;
- spring registration of the bear, the tarbagan and the black-capped marmot;
- spring and autumn registration of the forest game and waterfowl, of rare and endangered animals in the Republic game reserves.
The registration materials are considered at the sittings of the Republican interdepartmental game husbandry commission where the registration work is evaluated by the gamekeepers and huntsmen, the game resources are analyzed, the previous autumn-winter hunting season is analyzed by the amount of used licenses. Bearing in mind the Republic game resources state the amounts of commercial hunting are worked out, the rational hunting activities, the limits and periods of wild animals hunting are determined.
The registration work on the territory of the Republic is financed by the Republic of Buryatia department of game resources protection and rational utilization and by its district branches through the Federal budget and by the huntsmen at their own expences.


The elk. The quantity of the elks is about 6,000-6,500 animals all over the Republic. In a number of northern and central districts the quantity reduction has been observed. It is influenced by the poaching press and by the wolves quantity growth of the recent years.

The Manchurian deer. According to specialists, the quantity of the species in the republic has reduced in some central, southern and northern districts because of poaching and the wolves quantity growth of the recent years.
The licensed Manchurian deer hunting dynamics shows changes in the population maturity and productivity structure. The growth of hunting the  Manchurian deer males and the population on the whole considerably influences the reproduction. The effectiveness of hunting has gone down. In recent years the population growth owing to this year calves has decreased. The licenses analysis shows a big number of empty females.
Taking the animals quantity into consideration, spring-summer hunting the antler-carrying Manchurian deer is banned nowadays.

The roe. The quantity of the species is relatively stable, but there is no growth at the same time. The main reasons influencing the low population growth are the same, poaching and high quantity of wolves.

The wild boar. The quantity of the species in the republic is relatively stable, there is some growth in a number of districts. At the same time according to specialists restoration and the species population reproduction are slow. The main reasons of that are high wolves quantity and severe climatic conditions.
The musk-deer. The quantity of the species has reduced in some districts of the republic. The main reasons are poaching because of great demand for the musk at the black market.

The reindeer. The quantity of the species is stable because of local habitats.


The squirrel, the ferret, the ermine, the glutton, the fox, the lynx.

The sable. The quantity of the sable is estimated as low and it needs measures to be taken to use its resources in the rational way through concrete activities. The quantity decrease is confirmed by the Russian Federation registration service data.

The wolf. According to specialists estimation the quantity of the species in the republic is still big in spite of its killing all the year round.


The capercailye, the hazel-grouse, the white and tundra partridge, the Dauria partridge.


Thanks to its spacious territory, hunting areas diversity and game resources the Republic of Buryatia can partly solve the nutrition problems getting ecologically clean meat as well as game, wild growing and medicinal production, it can solve the problems of selling the game production at the foreign markets, especially the prospective furs of the Barguzin sable, the squirrel and the musquash.
Commercial hunting observation shows that economic development of the taiga resources utilization has not reduced, it is of mass criminal character. It is predetermined by the population unemployment, opportunity of getting stable profits and concealing personal and collective income from taxes.
The heavy commercial press influences wild hoofed animals which is possible as a result of wide spread of rifled weapons with telescopic sight and even night vision equipment.


Fur species. Since early 70’s there has been the tendency of commercial fur  storing decrease with insignificant variations. In recent years there has also been the tendency of decrease the main commercial species storing, the sable, the squirrel and the musquash.
The main reason is the reduction of the resources quantity because of the natural habitat changes (fires, cuttings, ploughing up, water regimen changes).
The main species resources are at the commercial level, the level of storing up mostly depends on the year conditions. These species are widely hunted, but the storing is unproportionally small getting to the black market or being left by huntsmen for their personal usage.
Squirrel fur storing decrease was caused by low “squirrel harvest” in the northern districts.
The furs stored by game husbandry were mostly sold through the Buryatia consumer cooperation system, “Hunting and Furs of Buryatia” association and the firms of Moscow fridge or Soyuzpushnina.
Nowadays a great amount of furs (50-80%) gets to the black market both legally (the Irkutsk fur base) and illegally (Russian and foreign missionaries who pay in cash performing a finance diversion against the budget of the Republic of Buryatia. The producer (huntsman) who knows the purchase price of the companies, has to sell the production to a second-hand dealer at 2-3 times higher price, because the commercial hunting organizations have no circulating capital to pay the huntsmen even at the determined prices.
The second reason is that huntsmen often get the furs in such conditions, by such means and with such labour expenses that  the purchase prices cannot be rewarding.
The wild hoofed animals (the elk, the Manchurian deer, the roe, the reindeer, the wild boar, the musk-deer). The quantity of the wild hoofed animals and their location in some districts is uneven.
In many districts of Buryatia the quantity and density of the wild hoofed animals are low, much lower than the potential opportunities of the hunting areas allow which can be explained mostly by excessive unregulated killing.
The tendency of some species quantity decrease remains (the elk, the Manchurian deer, the musk-deer).
According to hunting specialists calculations 25-30 thousand hares are killed and caught, the quantity of hare meat consumed is 30-45 tons (at an average carcass weight of 1.5 kg); the waterfowl commercial hunting is 70 thousand a season which is equal to 21 tons of meat (average carcass weight is 0.3 kg); the capercailye hunting is 1.5 thousand which is 2.5 tons of meat, the hazel-grouse and the partridge hunting produces 6-7 thousand which is 1.5 tons of meat.
The republic has real opportunities to raise the productivity of the wild hoofed animals population:
- to strengthen the game resources protection with the state service;
- to improve the wolves extermination;
- to work out new approaches to legalizing commercial hunting taking into consideration the populations structures and natural dynamics;
- to organize amateur game hunting;
- to develop hunting tourism (wild hoofed animals hunting) as the main source of getting currency for game areas.
One of the disadvantages of wild hoofed animals resources development is lack of utilization of the wild animals hides and skins, those of the elk, the Manchurian deer, the roe, the reindeer, the musk-deer. About 90% of hides are thrown away by the huntsmen in the taiga. It makes up from 1.5 to 2.0 thousand hides.


An important problem in the game husbandry system is still the wolf’s preying the quantity of which has considerably grown in recent years and it damages agriculture considerably. According to gamekeepers and huntsmen the Manchurian deer and the roe especially suffer from the wolf.
In recent years the Buryat game department purposefully develops its work of killing wolves in Buryatia.
There has been ecological expert evaluation of poison use as one of the wolf elimination means, and in the Republic State ecology committee to study the harmful effect on the animal world.
To better estimate the damage by the wolf to agriculture and community cattle-breeding, information is being collected together with the Republic of Buryatia Ministry of agricultural production, by the unified report form.
The main reasons influencing the number of the wolf in the Republic are:
- coming of the wolves in big numbers from the adjacent country of Mongolia;
- lack of due work in the littering period (April-September) by the dens, etc.
- underfinancing of wolves quantity regulation work including huntsmen reward payment for each killed wolf.


Natural and climatic conditions of the Baikal region are favourable for a lot of wild plants used in food and pharmaceutical industry. The wild plants production stock of the region is great, but it is not sufficiently utilized nowadays. The cedar nuts are of special importance. Their storage amount is considerably different because of both natural cedar forests productivity and weather phenomena. At the average the Siberian cedar forests yield and excellent harvest once in ten tears, a good one twice, an average one three times, the one worse than average three times and a poor harvest once in ten years.
An average biological nuts harvest is 150 thousand tons. The commercial cedar forests are located in the South-Zabaikalsky (the Chikoi river basin), the Sayan-Khamar-Daban and the Pribaikalsky hunting areas. The commercial nuts gathering zones occupy 1,400 thousand hectares in the Baikal basin. The Chikoi cedar forests are especially valuable, their average harvest is 52.1 thousand tons, the maximum one is 68.2 thousand tons. Economically possible gathering amount is determined as 15.7 thousand tons, 76% of which are from the Chikoi cedar forests. At an average 1.6 thousand tons, or 10% of the possible amount are gathered annually. The cedar forests are utilized at an average of 30%.
The biological berries harvest is 5.1 million tons, economically possible gathering amount of berries is 1.8 thousand tons, of mushrooms – 0.5 thousand tons. About 1,000 metric centners of berries and 800 metric centners of mushrooms are stored up annually. 2-6% of the berry-fields are exploited.
Technical raw materials include a great stock of the badan which is not stored up nowadays. It is possible to store up to 6.8 thousand tons of the badan, including 5.0 thousand tons in the South-Zabaikalsky area.
An important place is taken by such economic activity of game companies of Buryatia as cedar nuts gathering and wild berries and mushrooms storing. It can be clear from the materials of hunting and forestation expeditions that economically possible gathering amount per 1,000 hectares of areas can be put as follows: cedar nuts – 1,477.6 tons, berries 1,104.0 tons, mushrooms 387.5 tons. But even the degree of utilization of economically possible wild fruit and berries gathering amount is different in the districts of the republic and depends on the degree of economic and transport territory development.
The Tunka district cedar forests are most fully utilized, 20% at an average, maximum 50% of the productively possible, the central zone cedar forests are utilized 20 % at an average, the Khamar-Daban and the Pribaikalsky cedar forests are 10% utilized.
The amount of cowberry leaves commercial storing is 4.5 thousand tons in the south-west of Buryatia; the thermopsis store is 60 tons; the hips store is 16 tons.


The most prospective type of storing medicinal and technical raw materials of animal origin, besides the musk of the musk-deer or the Manchurian deer antlers, is the development of a relatively new kind of economic activity, the Manchurian deer park breeding.
The most important place in the antlers production is taken by the Arctic North and the Far East regions and the Altai territory, and as there is a broad sale market, both in this country and abroad (China, South-Eastern Asia, the European countries), the demand for this production does not go down, and getting the raw material by killing wild animals damages the population and does not bring a big storage amount.
The antlers materials is much in demand in chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to the complex of factors Buryatia possesses an advantage in the development of the deer farming.


In recent years the borders between commercial and amateur hunting have been less notable than in former times. More than 20 thousand amateur hunters make contracts with hunting companies to hand over furs and other commercial hunting production. Hunting companies let amateurs hunt in their areas. At the same time amateur hunting should be considered to be one of recreation industry elements. That’s why it is necessary to make infrastructure which allows to provide the clients with the necessary service with the opportunity of market relations.
Alongside with obvious achievements of amateur hunting organizing, it is necessary to mention low economic effectiveness of this kind  by the main indicator, the production output per hunting area unit.
Nowadays amateur hunting in Buryatia is in difficult situation which is caused by decrease of the animals  and game birds natural habitats in densely populated areas, by practically absolute absence of trophy business and by degradation of traditional kinds of hunting because of the low level of hunters’ ethics and culture.
There are 17 sport hunting organizations including 2 hunting areas of the Zabaikalye (Transbaikal) military district Hunting Society. The territory of the military hunting areas is 130.0 thousand hectares, the territory of the Republican hunters and fishermen society areas is not more than 1,660.0 thousand hectares, there are 37 staff workers in these organizations.
In spite of the difficulties connected with economic reforms in the country sport hunting societies go on developing involving more and more residents of the republic. Big hopes are imposed on amateur societies organizers in connection with hunting tourism development which is one of prospective profitable branches both to develop the societies and to increase the budget investments.
One of the important indicators of the high level of sport hunting development is trophy business. Hunting trophies exhibition demonstrate not only highly developed hunting industry and the hunters’ spiritual level but they also indicate the amateur hunting society work.
Nowadays “Ulan-Udensky Promyslovik” (Ulan Ude commercial hunter) organization makes the hunting trophies, there is a department there where they make stuffed animals and birds. Now that department is 30% loaded, if fully loaded it can produce 400 small stuffed animals and birds; 56 big stuffed animals; 12 especially big stuffed animals (the bear, the elk, the Manchurian deer); the department can 3 times increase the output.
The guidelines of sport hunting in the Republic should be:
- forming the hunting system to develop sport hunting and to broaden additional activities which provide complex resources utilization;
- building service stations for hunters;
- biotechnical and reproduction activities by amateur societies to increase the game animals quantity;
- traditional kinds of hunting development;
- hunting dog-breeding development;
- development of the service sphere provided by hunting societies. Processing enterprises and organizations of the industry

The Republican amounts of storing fur materials allow to develop the processing complex to use the productive economic potential, the closed chain of commercial hunting.
Nowadays the following companies processing the raw materials work in the republic: East Siberian technological university experimental productive company; “INTECh” company; Promyslovik (Commercial hunter) company; fur department of the Meat canning factory; fur department at the knitting factory; Bulat A firm. In the republic districts they are: Udinskoye factory; Malitsa company; the Chikoi leather factory.
These enterprises have technological equipment, areas and staff which allow to process the amounts of raw materials which can be seen in Table 43.
The main negative ecological factor of fur materials processing is big expenditures on waste waters cleaning, because usually there are waters with such main polluters as tanning chrome salts, oil products, table salt, the total amount of which is 31,585.0 cub. m a year.
To use the ecologically clean tanning technology it is necessary to study the new equipment production and order it to be made at the plants (the Locomotive Repairing Plant or Aircraft Plant). Besides, to raise the quality of the production and its competitiveness it is necessary to purchase imported ingredients, fattening materials, dye-staff and other additional substances (unfortunately the ingredients produced in Russia are of very low quality).
However introduction of ecologically clean technologies and water supply exclusive circle does not exclude the necessity to use filtering techniques for all the fur processing industries.
To raise the quality of the production and competitiveness, to enter the outer sales markets it is necessary to purchase the new equipment: crashing machines (); grinding machines (-600); the rolling drum -487; the discus cleaning machine; knives sharpening machine; liquid processing apparatus.
The main tasks of processing industries are:
- using filtering techniques;
- equipment and materials purchase;
- introduction of new, technologically clean technologies.
The necessary and satisfactory conditions to solve the above mentioned problems are:
- state support of processing industries preferential crediting;
- the programmes Coordinator and Investor participating in share capital and investment credits;
- organizing associations with shares of hunting industry to solve the problems of processing enterprises in the united complex of the fur industry.


Game reserves are traditional Russian type of nature protection territories the object of protection in which is the game animals.
By their activity and the range of the problems being solved the reserves are divided into the regional and federal ones. There are 19 state regional reserves and 2, the Altacheisky and the Frolikhinsky ones are of federal significance.
The total area of the reserves is 1,036.1 thousand hectares which makes up 3% of the territory of the republic and about 44% of all the nature preservation territories of Buryatia. The nature reserves are under the authority of the Hunting Protection and Rational Usage Department.
Besides protecting, on the territory of nature reserves wild animals were settled everywhere: the sable is in the Snezhinsky and the Ust-Luzsky game reserves; the tarbagan is in the Khudaksksy one; the musquash is in a number of reserves with wetlands. For a number of years there have been experiments to organize winter feeding for wild animals. The most effective biotechnical activities are found out in different districts of Buiryatia.                                                
Alongside with positive results there are also some moments which deliminate
 the whole complex of activities. They are, first and foremost, anthropogenuous activities – forest cutting, hay making, pasture, berries gathering and often poaching. Negative influence on the animal world is complemented with under-financing, the low level of game keepers technical equipment.
The game reserves work analysis, the present-day problems of wild animals protection and reproduction, the poaching give the opportunity to form new views of the reserves work.
The first step for it was that game reserves territories will be used for hunting. They are the Sharagolsky, the Katersky, the Tuldunsky, the Orotsky, the Gurulbinsky, the Badary, the Amalatsky, the Kasorinsky and the Baragkhansky game reserves. A nature reserve was organized on the territory of the Dzherginsky game reserve.
In the rest of the game reserves it is necessary to improve the monitoring, to accumulate and systematize the data on the animals quantity and migrations and their natural habitat.
The main problem of the state game reserves is the level of their financing which does not allow to organize the correspondent protection and reproduction activities.


Nowadays there are 37 hunting areas with the total territory of 25,496.5 thousand hectares (Table 45), the state reserve fund of game territories is 5,291.4 hectares.
The main reasons why the amount of storing, killing and profitability goes down, are a follows:
- complete uncertainty about the regular production sales market, degradation of the raw materials processing base, lack of links with the processing enterprises outside;
- growth of expenditures on the fur and storing production caused with fuel and power resources cost raise, as well as transport expenses, bank credit rates, the cost of the basic funds and sinking funds respectively;
- low price level (regarding the expenditures) of the fur materials realization, low demand because of the population low purchasing power;
- lack or complete absence of the own circulating capital which are necessary to prepare and have the storing season;
- passivity of the hunting organizations leaders and their insufficient business initiative in search of the way out from the economic reforms negative consequences;
- lack of  the united organization structure and management system in the hunting production which allows to see the production process grounded on calculations and forecasts, to solve every day problems, to have the centralized finance-economic politics and  flexible finance tactics on the guidelines of the branch.                                                



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