Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve

Besides national parks and wildlife reserves His Majesty's Government of Nepal has also set aside a hunting reserve at Dhorpatan where controlled hunting of some species is allowed. Covering an area of 1,325 sq. km., the reserve is situated on the southern flanks of Mt. Dhaulangiri I (8,167 m.) in districts of Rukum, Baglung and Myagdi in western Nepal.

The area's vegetation is characterised by well-developed mixed-hardwood forest at lower elevation and many plant species of drier climate to the north. Tree species include fir, pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper and spruce. As in many other protected environments of Nepal, the reserve includes several villages inhabited by hill tribes as well as people of Tibetan descent who supplement farming with trade and animal husbandry. The reserve is one of the prime habitats of blue sheep, a highly prized trophy animal, which is the main target of hunters. Other game species are ghoral, serow, Himalayan tahr, black bear, pheasant and partridge. Endangered species of the area include the red panda and cheer pheasant. Controlled hunting is allowed with proper licence and certain seasons of the year. Game licence is issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu and there are a few hunting outfitters who can make arrangements for expeditions. Besides hunting, Dhorpatan is also an attractive destination for the trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts as protection has enabled animal numbers to increase in this rarely visited area.

FEATURES
The higher elevations remain snow-capped throughout the year. Altitudes vary from 3000 m to more than 7000 m. The flat meadows above tree line (4000 m), locally known as “patans”, are important for wild animals like the blue sheep and other herbivores. The Reserve is divided into seven six blocks for hunting purposes. The Reserve is surrounded by villages on all sides except the north.

CLIMATES
The monsoon lasts until the end of November. Day time temperatures are very low during winter due to strong winds. Higher elevations remain covered with cloud in the morning; later clouds are cleared by the wind. Snow may occur even at low elevation until early April, however, it soon melts. The best time to visit the Reserve is March to April.

FLORA
The Reserve is characterized by alpine, sub-alpine and high temperate vegetation. Common plant species include fir, pine, and birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper and spruce. Pastureland occupies more than 50 % of the area of the Reserve at higher elevation.

FAUNA
The Reserve is one of the prime habitats for blue sheep, a highly coveted trophy. Other animals found here include: leopard, goral, serow, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur and mouse hare. Pheasants and partridge are common and their viable population in the reserve permits controlled hunting. Endangered animals in the Reserve include: musk deer, wolf, red panda, cheer pheasant and danphe. The hunting license is issued by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

PLACES OF INTEREST
“Dhorbaraha” a famous Hindu pilgrimage site lies on the banks of Uttarganga River near Dhorpatan within the Fagune block. Every year on the day of "Janai Purnima" in August, a religious fair is held here which is attended by many local devotees. The magnificent view of Dhaulagiri himal from Barse, Dogari and Gustung blocks are exceptional, where as Seng and Sundaha block are rich in wild animals.

FACILITIES
Local people are allowed to collect limited quantities of fuel-wood for their daily use. Visitors are requested to be self-sufficient with fuel (Kerosene) before entering the Reserve. Since no medical facilities are available in and around the Reserve, it is suggested that visitors carry a comprehensive first-aid kit including medicines for intestinal disorders. Two hotels/lodges catering modest Nepali cuisine are located at Chhyantung, near Dhorpatan.

HOW TO GET THERE
Public bus service is available from Kathmandu to Tansen-Tamgash Gulmi from where the Reserve HQ is a three-day walk via Burtibang.

Air service is available to Pokhara, from where public buses are available for Baglung. The Reserve HQ can be reached in 4 days walk from Baglung. Now direct buses are available from Kathmandu to Baglung.

Chartered helicopter services may be available on request from Kathmandu.

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Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
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