For the right price, nearly any animal can be hunted – an African lion permit costs most than $50,000; a polar bear permit goes for $30,000. However there are a handful of hunts that make the aforementioned look like hobbyist hunts. Here are the four most expensive and difficult permits to obtain. Anybody who can check off all of these hunts will most likely be the only hunter in the world to ever do so, making this a dream grand slam for the well-off and super dedicated hunter. If you’re headed out on one of these trips, don’t forget pack mosquito repellent, your passport and a good pair of boots.
Antelope Island State Park Mule Deer
Only two mule deer permits are issued each year to hunt in Utah’s Antelope State park, which makes this an elite hunting experience. The hunting is so good that Canadian hunter Troy Lorenz has spent $800,000, at two separate auctions, to be able to hunt the biggest mule deer in North America. In 2015, he bagged a massive 231-inch buck.
If you are lucky enough to get to a permit for this hunt, park officials will guide your stalk in November. Bring along warm clothing — we like SITKA Big Game Systems — since the average temperature hovers between 28 and 50 degrees that time of year.
Namibian Black Rhinoceros
Each year, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism issues three to five permits to hunt the critically endangered black rhino. It’s part of a very scientific herd management program. Permit holders are allowed to take one of a handful of male black rhinos that have been designated as dangerous and/or non-productive to the health of the black rhino population. Last year, Corey Knowlton, an affluent Texan who lives a Hemingway-esque life, used a permit he won in a Dallas Safari Club for $350,000 (for just the permit). The proceeds from the auction went to anti-poaching efforts, which didn’t stop people from sending death threats to the Texan.
With the help of guides and Namibian officials, Knowlton stalked his 3,000 pound black rhino through dense, thorny brush for hours a day. He donated the rhino’s meat to a local village.
Hunting Pakistani Houbura Bustard with Falcons
This is a status hunt and probably the hardest hunting permit in the world to secure. Unless you are an Arabian Gulf Sheikh, chances are slim you will ever get the opportunity to hunt the endangered Houbara bustard. Since the chicken-sized birds, that many believe are an aphrodisiac, have nearly been hunted to extinction on the Arabian Peninsula, wealthy sheikhs pay Pakistani officials to hunt their houbara population. While permits are good for 10 days and 100 birds, a Saudi Prince killed more than 2,100 of the endangered species over a 21-day hunt in 2014. You see where this is going, right? You need connections, clout and a vault of cash if you want to go on one of these controversial expeditions. If you do manage to go hunting for houbara in Pakistan, you will be one of very few westerners to have completed the hunt.
Montana Big Horn Sheep
While resident permits for Montana bighorn sheep only cost around $200, they are so hard to get that permits are routinely auctioned off for $300,000 at the Wild Sheep Foundation’s annual convention. The owner of Jimmy John’s, James Liautaud, has dropped nearly $600,000 for two separate Montana Bighorn Sheep hunts. While this sounds expensive, Liautaud actually got a bargain. In 2013, an anonymous bidder paid a record-smashing $480,000 for the same tag. After spending that much money on a single hunt, you’ll want to make sure you hire the best possible outfitter to guide you and that your marksmanship skills are well above average. You’ll also need to bundle-up for this chilly fall hunt and bring a high-speed field bag like the American-made, special operations tested OAF -96 Jumpable backpack for stalking.