Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve in the western region of Nepal is the only hunting reserve in the country. The hunting reserve lies in the Dhaulagiri Himal of the Myagdi, Baglung, and Rukum districts.
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve was officially established in 1983 and was gazetted in the year 1987. The reserve's management goals allow for sport hunting and preserve a representative high-altitude ecosystem in West Nepal.
Where is Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve?
The hunting ground joins the districts of Myagdi, Rukum, and Baglung districts that extend into the Dhaulagiri Himal Range lying in the western part of Nepal. Gurja, Churen, and Putha Himal of the hunting reserve lie on the northern boundary.
The hunting reserve covers an overall area of 1,325 sq km and varies in altitude between 3,000 m and 7,000 m. The areas in higher elevation are entirely covered in snow all over the year. The flat pastures above 4,000 m (locally known as patans) are essential for the blue sheep and other herbivorous mammals.
The Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is divided into seven blocks for the proper management of the hunting grounds. The local villages form a boundary to the reserve on all sides except on the northern part.
Dhorpatan is a village in the Baglung District of Nepal, 2,900 m above sea level in an east-west valley in the Himalayas, south of the Dhaulagiri Mountains. It is Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve's headquarter.
The enclosing valley is drained westwards by the Bheri River's tributary Uttar Ganga, which in effect enters the Karnali River.
Dhorpatan Valley's east-west orientation offers an easy — by Himalayan standards — route between western Nepal's Karnali basin and centred Gandaki River basin, over an 18 km watershed pass of 3,400 meters, to the east of the city.
In the late Middle Ages, this trail was a historic migration route for Khas people to the east. The continued historical change contributed to the creation of the Kingdom of Nepal from loose confederations in the regions of Karnali and Gandaki, and from other further east confederations.
How can you get to Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve?
There is also a public bus service from Kathmandu to Burtibamg, via Baglung Bazaar and another route via Tansen-Tamgash Gulmi.
Vegetation of Dhorpatan
The reserve is distinguished by high temperate forests, alpine, and sub-alpine vegetation. Typical varieties of plants include maple, pine, birch, rhododendron, hemlock, oak, juniper, and spruce.
At higher elevation, pasturelands cover more than fifty per cent of the reserve's overall territory. Over thirty-six endemic species of flowering plants and 58 vascular plants have been recorded in the area.
Climate of Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
Monsoon in the hunting grounds lasts till the start of October. The temperature during the day is quite low in winter due to strong winds.
The places at higher elevation are covered in the cloud at dawn but are cleared during the day by the wind. Snow can be witnessed at higher elevations until April.
Hunting Block and Animals found
The hunting reserve is divided into seven hunting blocks. They are:
Southern Hunting Ground
- Falguna - Himalayan Tahr and Blue sheep
- Barse - Blue sheep
- Gustang - Himalayan tahr and blue sheep
- Surtibang - Himalayan Tahr
Northern Hunting Block
- Seng - Himalayan Tahr and Blue sheep
- Dogadi - Himalayan Tahr and Blue Sheep
- Sundaha - Himalayan tahr and Blue sheep
Wildlife in Dhorpatan
The hunting reserve is one of the significant habitats of the Blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur). In a survey conducted by DNPWC in 2007, the hunting ground recorded a total of 852 blue sheep.
Many species of mammals include leopard, goral, serow, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear, barking wolf, wild boar, rhesus macaque, langur, and mouse hare.
The reserve accommodates one hundred thirty-seven bird species and is also a renown spot for bird watching. Pheasants and pertussis are widespread and managed hunting in reserve to make its viable population.
The forest has rare and endangered species like the musk deer, bear, red panda, cheer pheasant, and danphe.
Livestock grazing activities start each year from February and last until October. More than 80,000 livestock enter the grazing reserve.
The license to hunt is issued by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department.
Other major attraction of Dhorpatan
Dhorbaraha, a holy Hindu place near Dhorpatan on the banks of the Uttarganga River, lies in the block of Fagune. On the day of "Janai Purnima" in August every year, a religious fair is conducted here attended by many local devotees.
The spectacular view of the Barse, Dogari, and Gustang blocks from Dhaulagiri Himal is remarkable. Block Seng and Sundaha are abundant in wild animals.
People of Dhorpatan
A majority of the household in the area belongs to the people of the Mangloid race of Magar, Gurung, and Tamang.
The amalgamation of various ethnic groups has led to a mixed pattern of cultures in the region. Residents depend on the reserve to satisfy their forest, fuelwood, forage, and pasture requirements.