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October 2023
Author: Lucas Paugh

I was born and raised in Chinook, a small farming community in North Central Montana. As a kid, we grew up on the high line plains Milk River Valley which provided some of the best whitetail hunting in the West. After graduating from Chinook High School, I spent five years in Butte, Montana studying at Montana Technological University to continue my education where I achieved my undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees. Additionally, while in college, I played inside linebacker for the Orediggers where I was the defensive team captain and was selected to the All- American Honorable Mention team my senior year.

After college, I moved to California where I have resided for the past 20 years. Working in the oil and gas industry has enabled me to travel and pursue my passion of outdoor adventures. When I’m not working or hunting, I am also a licensed guide in the state for Tule elk, blacktail deer, and wild pigs. I’ve always enjoyed witnessing success through others, and not being the one behind the trigger has proven to be just as fulfilling. Over the last 20 years, my hunting and fishing exploits have taken me to six of the seven continents internationally (20+ countries) and 12 states across the U.S.

Part of my role as a Hunt Advisor at HFA is to provide expertise to the international world of hunting. Having personally completed many trips overseas, I have firsthand knowledge of things that need to be considered and also be made aware of. When asked about international adventures, I always get a lot of questions about security and what it’s like outside the U.S. Those are valid concerns for those aspiring to travel abroad. Of all the places I’ve journeyed to, Asia is one of those mystic destinations that tends to check all the boxes when it comes to international travel. From the people to the culture and everything in between, there’s no doubt Asia should be one of your bucket list locations.

My travels have taken me all over Asia to countries including Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, China, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE. Although these are a small part of the 50 countries that make up all of Asia, I have put some significant boot tracks in these areas and have safely navigated being a U.S. citizen traveling in foreign countries. To expand, I traveled during the Covid pandemic to Kyrgyzstan and to Turkey during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In both circumstances, I felt more at peace and safe than walking through downtown Oakland.
Let’s talk about hunting in Asia and some basic do’s and don’ts when considering an outfitter and situations to get ready for when doing so.


These hunts can be very physically demanding based on the topography, landscape, and elevation. For instance, hunting ibex or Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan could reach elevations greater than 16,000+ feet.


Without having some understanding of how your body reacts in those conditions, it’s important to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Since most of us cannot reenact or train in this environment, acclimatization becomes key to not being overcome with some form of altitude sickness. On most high elevation hunts, once you arrive at base camp, there will be a day of just staying around camp, checking the zero on the rifles, and acclimating as needed. Make sure to create a pre-hunt strategy months prior which includes a well-balanced diet, exercise, and some form of altitude sickness prevention. I prefer Altitude Advantage by Wilderness Athlete.


Make sure to drink as much water as possible. Dehydration becomes a concern at high elevations and can be prevented by drinking plenty of fluids and electrolytes. This could prevent a catastrophic event from occurring while overseas in some of the most remote places on planet earth.

Trip Insurance:

I would highly recommend some form of travel protection. At HFA, we work extensively with Redpoint Travel Protection and can take advantage of their extensive partner benefits. Remember that travel insurance must be solidified within 14 days of the booking date for any pre-existing conditions to be waived.


This is always the fun part of exploring new places. As you probably already know, having a valid passport is required prior to departing on any international voyage outside the U.S. Always check the expiration date to ensure it’s good throughout the whole trip and does not expire while traveling abroad. Always take a photo of your passport and print off a few copies and place them in your checked luggage in the event you lose or misplace it. Some countries also require a VISA (e.g., Turkey), which can typically be completed electronically in the international airport prior to clearing customs.

My other rule of thumb is to always use the “buddy system” and don’t travel alone. Some of these trips take 40+ hours just to get from your point of origin to the camp where you’ll be hunting. Having a friend or companion along always makes the adventure more enjoyable and helps shed some of the stresses of going about the travel alone.
Traveling with firearms can be hectic and daunting in foreign countries. Make sure to work with your outfitter to understand all the gun permits required and if there are any sanctions to the amount of ammunition that can be brought into the country. All countries are different, so make sure you understand their government requirements. Also, be sure to complete the U.S. Customs and Border Protection 4457 Form, which is a certificate of registration for personal effects taken abroad. Any items of significant value (rifle, optics, etc.) should be added to this form to enable smooth travel in and out of the U.S.


Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. That might be a little harsh, but I have always lived my life to this motto. I continually want to be ready for whatever the mountain will throw my direction. Make sure when you book an outfitter they have interpreters or translators who understand and can speak English. This will help you immensely on your travels across the globe. I have had circumstances where not one of my guides or trackers could speak English, and that language barrier makes for very difficult communication. One noteworthy time I recall crossing over the Chinese border into Kyrgyzstan with firearms, which caused some concerns with the military police. Fortunately, this situation was diffused quickly as our outfitter was able to communicate that we were there hunting and not causing any problems.

Horses are used universally across all Asian hunting. They provide access to areas not accessible by foot or even vehicle. These horses are well broken and designed for the rugged mountains. Trust me, you will be happy to have that horse by your side on day seven when you’re descending the mountain with all your gear and animals harvested.

Precision shooting could be the difference between success or wounding or missing your target and walking away empty-handed. Like training, it’s hard to recreate a shooting simulation at 16,000 feet, and let me be the first to tell you that a rifle at sea level shoots day and night differently than a rifle at any extreme elevation. I always recommend shooting an MOA or MIL system as it doesn’t require you to change elevation turrets. If you shoot a BDC turret system, be sure to have the correct turret based on the elevation you’ll be hunting in. If you have built the various profiles either in your ballistic program or in your hard data, you should be able to make those corrections and dope any shot at any elevation. Please do not overlook this step, and ensure you understand your rifle and how it shoots at various elevations.

Remember to have fun! These adventures make for some lifelong experiences that you will cherish and retain forever. I have been fortunate to travel to many of these great places and have seen areas only God has laid eyes on. Don’t look at international travel as a burden or high stress event, view it all as part of the adventure and don’t forget to smile during the process.

I am very excited to be a part of the Huntin’ Fool Team. I have been a member for 10+ years and have built personal relationships with many of the Hunt Advisors. My international experience of travel and hunting enables the HFA Team to have a resourced subject matter expert for those seeking travel across the globe. These adventures require a lot of planning, preparation, and logistics to ensure a seamless operation. I will continue to strengthen the already well-established and functioning HFA Team as we write the next chapter in international bookings. My goal will always be to provide the best client experience. What are you waiting for? Let us help you find your adventure-of-a- lifetime today!