Ukraine: Manchurian Sika Stag

4 Hunting Days
Additional Species Available:
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Arguably the largest free-range Sika on earth in an off-the-radar hunting destination. Hear them scream through the forest – only 8 spots annually!

TRIP DURATION  4 Hunting days, fully guided.
PHYSICAL LEVEL Easy
PRIME TIME Can be hunted late September to January, but peak roar occurs in October
WILDLIFE STATUS Wild, Free-ranging & Introduced (1920’s)

Package Highlights

The allure of hunting these oversized, free-ranging Sika stags in the peak roar while the forests are alive with actively rutting and screaming stags is hard to deny. Couple this unique adventure with a historically rich and off-the-radar destination like Ukraine and you have some very special memories in the making that few get to experience.

Introduced from the Ussurri Province of far eastern Russia in the 1920’s, this robust Sika sub-species has been largely extirpated from his native range which spanned across northern China, Korea and eastern Russia. Now thriving in local pockets among the fertility of Ukraine’s rural countryside, these might be the largest free-ranging Sika on the planet!

Despite offering only very limited openings each year, we are again pleased to offer this European hunt in an all-inclusive airport-to-airport type package, with flat-rate trophy fees already included. Hunt for the largest Sika stag you and your guide can find, without any concern of sliding-scale trophy fees! To help round it off, the outfitters first language is English, and he personally oversees every client’s hunt, from before they arrive till after they depart. Since its first season, this hunt has been blessed with 100% success rates, so free-range odds are excellent. The only tradeoff is availability, with fewer than 10 rut spots available each year. September combination hunts with Red stag, or late season winter Sika hunts can at times also be arranged but limited to permit availability. Roe deer can also be added to most hunts for a flat rate trophy fee only due upon success.

 

Typical Day & Tactics

Greet your outfitter or a hired driver at the Kiev airport and venture through the rural countryside to the hunting area. Upon arriving, have dinner and settle in for the night. Most our hunters wake up to the sounds of roaring stags in the pre-dawn as they assemble their gear for the morning hunt.  Also referred to as Dybowskis Sika, these animals are known to make various vocalizations, but most prominent is the blood-curdling, banshee like screams of mature stags! During the rut these cries echo through the forests providing excellent spot and stalk opportunities during any October rut hunt.

The Sika are distracted and focused on breeding, which is crucial because the terrain is somewhat unforgiving. Mature deciduous forests tend to dominate the hunting areas. And so, with little understory for cover and crunching leaves under foot, stalks can be challenge, but if executed well can provide a good shooting opportunity.  At times calling for Sika like you would do for Elk or Red Stag can be effective. Combine this tactic by stealthily filtering through the timber while stalking audible roars for action packed hunts with excellent results! Hunt till midmorning and return to the lodge for a late breakfast and some midday R&R. Things fire back up in the evenings, so after a late lunch head back into the woods and continue stalking and judging roaring Sika stags. Its exhilarating, and even one full day can provide several good encounters, regaled together over dinner after dark.

Our late September Sika and Red Stag combination hunts are conducted in a similar way. Timing is critical, and the overlap when both species are roaring is usually restricted to only the last week of September. Late season winter hunts span from late November to mid-January and are typically done over a food source. Wait in a specialized shooting house or high-seat, over a partially cut crop field or bait pile in the forest. With the right conditions, occasional tracking or stalking tactics are used. Navigate the hunting area during the winter by horse and sleigh, which adds a nice traditional Slavic touch.

Landscape & Climate

From the Carpathian Mountains in the west to the Black Sea in the east, Ukraine is ecologically diverse and renowned for the fertility of its land. The hunting areas in central Ukraine are a mosaic of agriculture, small villages, and patchworks of mixed expansive forests. Stalking in these woods often finds you navigating old World War 2 trench networks or dilapidated bunker complexes, reminding you of some of the history to have occurred on these soils. The terrain is largely gently rolling hills and river valleys. Not physically demanding but certainly scenic in its simple but nostalgic beauty.

Weather during the October Sika roar is mild and generally pleasant. Frosty mornings slowly warning up into the afternoon are typical. Rain can occur but is not prominent, and no real specialized equipment is generally required. September Red Stag combos can bring some slightly warmer temperatures, while the limited late-season winter hunts tend to be cold and snowy. Here some warmer layers (such as thermal next to skins, winter gloves,af and hats) are required to stay comfortable while afield. For detailed weather data, Wikipedia is an excellent resource for historic weather trends found in the “Climate” section available for any city worldwide.

Meals & Accommodations

Stay in a remote hunting lodge or cabin in the rural Ukrainian country-side several hours drive from Kiev. Some are more recently built, while others are more rustic. Roaring stags can often be heard from your bedroom as you anxiously wait for dawn to pursue them! Meals are wholesome, traditional, and locally sourced, with menu items such as soups, salads, cheese, cold cuts, smoked fish, various meats, sausages, dumplings, and blini. Sight-seeing and historic tourism are quite incredible. Spending a couple of days touring around the ancient city of Kiev before or after the hunt is certainly recommended, with much to see and do. Military memorials, cathedrals, museums, historic tours, shopping, and nightlife are just a few suggestions.

Key Equipment Suggestions

This hunt only requires basic equipment. A day pack, 10x binoculars, rangefinder, comfortable walking boots, rain gear and a digital camera covers the essentials.

Pricing 

Early Season Combo: 4 full days – 1×1 guided – x1 Manchurian Sika & x1 Red Stag – September = $12000

Rut Hunts: 4 full days – 1×1 guided – x1 Manchurian Sika – October = $6500

Late Season Hunts: 4 full days – 1×1 guided – Manchurian Sika – Nov-Jan – $6500

 

Included

  • Round trip airport pick-up and drop-off services
  • Fluent English-speaking outfitter overseeing the hunt
  • All meals and accommodations during the hunt
  • All permits, licenses, and trophy fees for x1 Manchurian Sika with no size restrictions
  • 1×1 professional guiding with experienced local stalker/Jager
  • Rifle rental for the duration of the hunt & ammunition
  • All ground transportation while hunting
  • Basic trophy skull & hide preparations for the taxidermist

Not Included

  • Travel to the destination city of Kiev, Ukraine
  • Any pre and post hunt meals and accommodations
  • Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
  • Gratuities to guides and staff
  • Taxidermy and trophy export
  • Personal side ventures or tourism
  • purchases of a personal nature, alcohol, souvenirs etc.

Additions

  • Extra hunting days: $250/day (Not available during October rut hunts)
  • Non-hunting observer days: $200/day
  • Trophy fees for additional game species:
    • European Red Stag (up to 10 kgs) = $5,500 and $1,000/kg over 10kgs
    • European Roe Deer (No size Restrictions) = $550
    • European Wild Boar (No size Restrictions) = $750

Destination City

Hunters are asked to arrive at the Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, Ukraine, where they will be greeted. The various hunting areas are scattered several hours drive south and west of Kiev.

Travel Suggestions

Kiev is easily reached by any Lufthansa airlines flight, with best connections typically occurring in either Munich or Frankfurt, Germany.

Airport Shuttles

Round trip airport shuttles between the hunting areas are available and already included with every package

Special Info

Passport required for all international travel. Visa’s or Immunizations may be required for certain destinations.

Aaron & Stacie – Ukraine Manchurian Sika

Hello my name is Aaron. With the onset of Covid, I was concerned I would not be able to travel for this anticipated trip. But in speaking with the US embassy, provided certain insurance and testing protocols were followed, we were pleased to learn we were still able to make the trip. Hunting in Ukraine for Manchurian Sika during the roar was an adrenaline-filled adventure!

The echoing sounds and picturesque sights of numerous stags chasing hinds amongst the mist of the swampy forest is one to behold. As the Sika transition back and forth between the swampy reed beds and the forest, it is not uncommon to see numerous herds per outing with a few shooters mixed in. Each morning and evening provided up-close action as their roars carried through the crisp air. The terrain is not difficult and conducive for walk and stalk hunting tactics, providing reasonably close shooting distances. This particular area is home to a large population of Sika that have exceptional antler mass, and lovely spotted capes.  

From the professional staff to amenities to food, this hunt provided an experience that was second to none. If you are looking for a big free-range Sika in an overlooked hunting destination, then look no further! A big thank you to Adrian and Taiga International Outfitters for helping me plan and execute this unique opportunity!