FAQOur most frequently asked questions
How do I obtain a Russian Visa and flight tickets?
To get a Russian visa you must first obtain a letter of invitation, which we will provide once you have paid the initial deposit. We advise our clients to contact a travel agency as paperwork for hunting trips in Russia can be quite time-consuming. We recommend CTT Destinations located in Snoqualmie, US to which we have referred many of our clients. Of course, you can also use the services of your own travel agent to obtain a Russian visa.
Today, booking flight tickets is not complicated and can be done using online booking platforms like Expedia.com or Skyscanner.com. We do always recommend flying into Moscow, as there are daily flights from Moscow to Magadan.
How do I obtain a gun permit and what are the regulations around bringing equipment like a GPS or radio?
Once you have provided us with the information on your rifle (serial number, manufacturer, caliber, model), scope (manufacturer, serial number) and ammunition quantity (40 recommended), we will apply for the rifle permit for you. We suggest that you register your rifle at US Customs before your trip.
Once the permit has been authorized we will transfer it to you. As of 2015, it is no longer required that you have a representative present upon your arrival in Russia to assist with passing the gun through Customs. However, this can still be arranged at an additional cost. If you wish to take your hunting knife (knives) with you, please let us know and we will include the knife in the rifle permit. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to acquire permits for foreigners to bring a GPS or portable radio into Russia. However, a lot of our customers bring their own GPS and satellite phone without declaring them. This is by no means our advice but is simply a statement of fact. Regardless, we will be able to provide you with satellite phones and radios for the duration of your tour.
How do I get to Magadan?
You can only get to Magadan via Moscow or Seoul (South Korea). If required, our reliable partners in Moscow and Khabarovsk will meet you at the airport to help you get through Customs, provide you with transport to the domestic airports or assist with accommodation. On the way back, they will help you catch your next flight, and get your rifles and skins through Customs. Please note that representation at Customs is no longer a requirement and will need to be arranged.
Do I need cash for traveling?
It is always a good idea to have some cash with you as not all services can be paid for using credit cards. Cash facilitates solve a lot of issues that hunters face when travelling around the world with a rifle and a trophy.
What rifle caliber would you suggest?
Snow Sheep: We recommend caliber .270, .300, or .308 but nothing bigger.
Brown Bear: We recommend caliber .300 Mag. and up to .375 is suitable. We consider .416 to be too big a gun for bear but it’s still possible to use it.
We would like to remind you to register your rifle with US Customs before your trip.
How many rounds of ammunition would you suggest I take along?
We suggest 40 rounds. Keep in mind that the ammunition must be kept in a separate container/bag during travel.
Do I get to stay in Magadan City before or after the tour?
Upon arrival at Magadan airport, our guests usually travel to the hunting camp by helicopter. In the event of non-flying weather, guests will be accommodated at a hotel in Magadan. When the hunt is over our clients usually stay one night at the hotel before departure.
Where will I stay during the tour?
Do I need to bring my own sleeping bag and a pad?
Yes, please bring your sleeping bags and pads. For brown bear and snowmobile tours, you will need a sleeping bag that can tolerate freezing temperatures (for Snow sheep tours you can use bags that are less warm). We recommend high-quality sleeping bags that are light. You can also buy sleeping bags in Magadan for around $150. Please take the time to study our gear list for spring and fall hunts for more details.
What size backpack do I need?
There is no need to bring a hard frame backpack, a day backpack will do just fine.
The gear list suggests waders with pads. Will these be used when hunting or fishing?
We always recommend our hunters bring waders (full leg size) that are comfortable for walking. During the tour, hunters often need to cross rivers, creeks, swampy areas or hike in rain. After the rain, grass and bushes will be wet and without waders, your legs will be wet too. Many of our guides hike primarily in waders and do not use boots. Please try your waders beforehand and make sure that they are comfortable to walk in.
Will I be able to fish in my spare time?
Yes, rivers and lakes in the Magadan region are rich with fish (Dolly Varden charr, Yellow-mouth charr, White-spotted charr, several species of salmon). Once you obtain your trophy you can have a great time fishing. Take your favourite fishing gear if you are planning to fish, however, take note that fishing is not available in some of our camps or during the spring hunting season.
Do I have to bring my spotting scope?
We provide our guides with scopes and rangefinders. However, it would be a good idea to bring your own as well if you’re coming on a sheep hunt.
Can we take hides, skulls, and horns with us? Will you provide CITES and all other necessary export documents for the trophy?
We always make sure that hunters are able to take their trophies back with them or receive them as soon as possible. As of 2014, veterinary procedures take more time due to a change in Federal laws, so we cannot guarantee that you will take your trophy with your luggage. If not, the trophy will be shipped to you after the hunt.
Kulu Safaris prepares all the necessary export documentation, CITES (only required to export brown bears) and veterinary certificates for our hunters. Our guides take care of the trophies (skinning, salting, cleaning) in the hunting camp, which is included in the price. Please bring duffle bags, burlap sacks and big plastic bags to pack your trophies.
Shipping the trophy from Russia to your country is your responsibility and is not included in the price. We always recommend our clients to get in touch with a trophy importer in their country.
Are bears on an inland hunt and a coastal hunt any different?
No, unlike American brown bear and grizzly distinctions, our bears are of the same size. That is due to the availability of unique pine bushes and various berries that give bears an ample supply of calories to grow.
Is Magadan close to the Kamchatka peninsula? Are the bears the same size as Kamchatka’s bears?
Magadan is situated on the mainland but it’s not far from Kamchatka. The regions share similar climates, terrain, nature and the bears are of the same size and genotype too.
What kind of physical shape do I need to be in? How many miles will we be walking per day?
You should be in fairly good physical shape. To prepare for hiking, we recommend regularly walking with a heavy backpack on stairs. On a Snow sheep hunt, you will be expected to walk 5-12 miles per day while carrying your rifle and gear. During the snowmobile hunt, you should be able to ride a snowmobile for 40-80 miles per day. If that is too demanding, we can arrange for you to be transported in a sled.
If there are no sheep of a good size in one spike camp, will I be relocated to another spike camp at no additional cost?
While on a Snow sheep hunt, we usually transport our client with his (her) guide by helicopter from a base camp to a spike camp up in the mountains at no charge. After several days (usually 3-5), if they don’t find a trophy, they will be relocated to another spike camp at no additional cost. Only one relocation is included.
What should I expect at the Russian Customs?
During the flight, you will be asked to fill in a declaration forms. We will send you a sample of the declaration before your hunt. Please be sure to mention all US funds (cash) that you might have with you, as well as jewelry (like wedding rings), your rifle and scope (manufacturer and serial numbers should be mentioned), ammunition, any knives and video cameras.
A Customs officer will check your international passport and visa. Your rifle, scope, and ammunition will be checked very thoroughly. Make sure that all the digits of serial numbers are correct and that your documents are in order. While at Customs you may be asked to show the cash, knife, and ammunition too so please ensure that they’re easily accessible.
Will I be met at Customs in Magadan?
Yes, we always meet our clients at Customs at the Magadan airport. It means that we will take care of you while you are in Magadan and our partners can meet you in Moscow. This will come at an additional cost though.
Please keep your original declaration safe during your stay in Russia. It is very important!
PLEASE BE SURE TO TAKE ALL ITEMS MENTIONED IN YOUR DECLARATION BACK TO THE USA WITH YOU.
On the way back to the USA, you will need to present your old declaration and fill in a new declaration that lists all the items you previously brought into Russia such as hunting knives, cameras etc. Customs officers will check your rifle, scope, and ammunition again. You should also declare the exact sum of US funds that you have with you on your return. You will also be asked to include any trophies in your declaration and will require the veterinarian certificate and/or CITES number.
Note: Corruption is not common but attempts to extract bribes may happen. Make sure you know the consulate number of your country in Russia. Mentioning the possibility of a phone call to the consulate almost always resolves such issues.
Will I be able to hunt wolves?
Yes, it is possible, but very unlikely. Wolves are the dominant predator during winter and in many seasons, endanger populations of Snow sheep and reindeer. As such, the Russian government does not require a permit to shoot wolves. However, taking the trophy back to your country will be complicated. Wolves are also elusive and hard to kill. They have also been known to set up ambushes for hunters, even on snowmobiles.
Is there additional game to take during the hunt?
During the fall Snow sheep hunts, brown bear can be additional game.
Is it possible for non-hunters to come along?
Yes, many of our hunters travel with non-hunting companions. We can provide you with references if need be. We charge $400 per day for non-hunters in the hunting camps.
What documents will I get from you for my trip to Russia?
We will send you an official letter of invitation that can be used to obtain a Russian visa and a confirmation for tourist visa.
How long is a tour?
Guests usually fly to the base camp on the same day that they arrive in Magadan and return to Magadan a day before their departure. In most cases, you will have 11-12 days of actual hunting (snowmobiling), 2 days for transportation to and from the base camp and one night and a half a day in the city of Magadan. While in the city, our hunters have the opportunity to see the highlights of the city or go shopping.
What type of food should I expect?
We serve Russian dishes at both our base and spike camps. We also provide fresh fruits, vegetables and different beverages at the camps.
Who will be my guide?
Our guides are locals who have hunted for most of their lives and understand the ins and outs of international hunting regulations and requirements. They are professional hunters who work as trappers in winter and commercial fishermen in summer. All of our guides are trained and speak a little bit of english. They know how to hunt, track animals and survive in the wild better than anyone. Hunting brings people together and by the end of the hunt we often see our clients easily communicating with guides, despite the language barrier.
How far are the hunting territories from Magadan and how do you travel from Magadan to the base camps?
Our hunting territories are situated 200-400 miles from Magadan in remote and unpopulated areas. It’s generally a 2-3 hour helicopter flight. The only helicopters that can safely operate in such conditions are legendary Soviet, heavy transport Mi-8 helicopters. They can achieve vertical takeoff with over 8 tons aboard and are used in many countries, including the US.
Can I make international calls from a hunting camp?
Yes, we have the latest satellite phones in the base camp. The charge is $3 per minute.