Brenda in Mongolia

Brenda with Hangai Argali
Hangai Argali, from the Hangai mountains in the west central part of Mongolia.

What is it they say about plans? Well, here’s one for you – Brenda and I had planned to fly to Mongolia on Thursday, July 18, so that Brenda could hunt the two species of Argali that live in the western mountains. I was anxious to go along, but had no plan to shoot, just to accompany Brenda.

On Wednesday, July 10, I had a routine checkup with my cardiologist. Something in our conversation was concerning to him and he suggested we schedule an angiogram, “no hurry, but let’s not wait too long.” I related our upcoming safari in Mongolia “next Thursday” and thought sooner might be best. As it happened, they had an opening that Friday morning. An angiogram is invasive and serious; it only takes a few minutes, but it tells you things that you have to get inside the body to learn. Wow, four major blockages! The doctor showed me the results, told me how serious it was, then hurried off to the waiting room to talk with Brenda and our two adult children. The most important thing he said was “Don’t let him leave the hospital; we need to do by-pass surgery on Monday."

Brenda and Neil Lawson with Altai Argali
Brenda and Neil Lawson, with Altai Argali, from the Altai mountains in the northwest part of the country. The third species of Argali in Mongolia is the Gobi, from the Gobi desert. Brenda and daughter Sara shot Gobi Argali on an earlier trip in 2012.

And so, they did, on Monday, July 15 – son Russell’s birthday!

Now what? Brenda contacted the outfitter to see if we could move the safari to next year; no luck, quota already filled. The best/only solution was to delay the hunt for five weeks. Next, she had to find someone to accompany her, as hunting by herself in Mongolia wasn’t an option. That was no easy task, but it worked out just fine. Neil Lawson, a family friend and American PH accompanied her on the trip.

On August 25 they headed to Seoul, South Korea, then to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, then into the mountains. (My recovery had gone well.) On their earlier safari in the Gobi Desert, in 2012, Brenda and daughter Sara were not very happy with the food; with this in mind, Brenda had packed lots of energy snacks. But what a pleasant surprise, these camps had an executive chef. Brenda and Neil ate very well!

The outfitter did a great job of scouting, so finding the Argali in two different camps wasn’t too difficult, but the mountains were very rough. Getting into shooting range was difficult, but Brenda shot two great trophies, and returned home safely.

While Brenda’s team did not use camels for their hunt, many of the locals use them in their daily lives.