Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve adjoins Rukum, Myagdi and Baglung districts in the Dhaulagiri Himal range in West Nepal. Putha, Churen, and Gurja Himal extend over the northern boundary of the reserve. Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve was established in 1983 and was gazetted in 1987. Management objectives of the reserve allow sports hunting and preserve a representative high-altitude, ecosystem in Western Nepal. The reserve extends over an area of 1325 km2 and is the only hunting reserve in the country to meet the needs of hunting for Nepalese and foreign hunters of blue sheep and other game animals. Local people depend on the reserve to meet their requirements of timber, fuelwood, fodder, and pasture.
The Tibetan refugee camp near the reserve headquarters has put more human pressure on the forest. Every year livestock grazing activities begin in February and last until October. More than 80,000 livestock enter the reserve for grazing. The majority of people belong to the Mongoloid race, including Mugar, Thakali, and Gurung, Amalgamation of different ethnic groups has resulted in a mixed pattern of cultures.
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 animals like the blue sheep and other herbivores. The reserve is divided into seven six blocks for hunting management purposes. The reserve is surrounded by villages on all sides except the north.
The monsoon lasts until the beginning of October. Daytime temperatures are very low during winter due to strong winds. Higher elevations remain covered with clouds in the morning; later clouds are cleared by the wind. Snow may occur even at low elevations until early April, however, it soon melts. The best time to visit the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is March-April.
Flora and Fauna:
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. Pasturelands occupy more than 50 % of the total area of the reserve at higher elevations.
The reserve is one of the prime habitats of blue sheep, a highly coveted trophy. Other animals found are 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 Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation issued the hunting license.
Local people are allowed to collect limited quantities of fuel wood for their home use. Visitors are requested to be self-sufficient with fuel (Kerosene) before entering the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. Since no medical facilities are available in the reserve, it is suggested that visitors carry a comprehensive first-aid kit including medicines for intestinal disorders. Two hotels/lodges catering to simple Nepali foods 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 links Baglung from Kathmandu and Pokhara. The reserve HQ could be reached within a 4-day walk from Balewa-Baglung.
- The public bus can be taken to Baglung from Pokhara followed by 4 day walk via Baglung Beni-Darbang-Lumsung and Jaljala to reach Dhorpatan. A chartered service helicopter may be available on request from Kathmandu.
Dhorbaraha a Hindu religious place on the banks of the Uttarganga River near Dhorpatan, is in Fagune block. Every year on the day of "Janai Purnima" in August, a religious fair is held here which many local devotees attend. The magnificent view of Dhaulagiri Himal from the Barse, Dogari, and Gustung blocks is exceptional, Seng and Sundaha blocks are rich in wild animals.