Marco Polo argali
Tajikistan is the top destination for Marco Polo argali, the most sought-after wild sheep in the world
Mountain hunting adventure
Hunting in Tajikistan is an unparalleled mountain hunting adventure amid the spectacularly scenic peaks of the Pamir Range
Tajikistan has a rich and ancient culture dating back to when it was the crossroads of Asia in the days of the Silk Road
Tajikistan on map
About hunting in Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a small, mountainous country located in Central Asia. Some 90 percent of its land area is covered by the soaring peaks of the Pamir Mountains, which rise to more than 24,000 feet and are home to the world’s most sought-after wild sheep, the Marco Polo argali. Tajikistan, with Kyrgystan, is one of just two countries in the world where these magnificent argali can be hunted. Because of the sheer difficulty of access and the remoteness of the terrain they inhabit, Marco Polo are very abundant here; hunters will likely see hundreds of sheep every day. Average horn length for Marco Polo sheep taken in Tajikistan ranges from 55 to 59 inches, but every year some sheep of 60 inches and larger are taken. In fact, the largest Marco Polo sheep ever recorded have come from Tajikistan, including the world record, taken by Hossein (Soudy) Golabchi, with horns of 71 7/8 x 73 inches. Hunters may also take Mid-Asian ibex and wild boar. Mid-Asian ibex trophy quality is very good, ranging between 42 and 50 inches. The Pamir Mountains are some of the most beautiful in the world and the terrain is wild, barren, and remote. There is nothing easy about a Marco Polo hunt: Base camps are located at 12,000 feet and hunting take place at 14,000 to 15,000 feet or even higher. Russian 4-wheel-drive jeeps are used to transport hunters to base camp over extremely rough and rugged roads.
What you need to know
1. Planning your trip
2. Upon arrival
4. After the hunt
Planning your trip
Since January 2022 Tajikistan offers a 30-day visa-free entry option for citizens of most developed countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, members of the European Union, and most countries of the Persian Gulf. Double-check if you're eligible with Tajikistan's embassy in your country. If you need a visa, you can apply online: https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html.
Unless you speak Tajik or Russian, you will need a translator to handle the details of entry and exit procedures from Tajikistan, so be sure to arrange this with your outfitter. After passing through immigration and collecting your baggage, you will be required to have your firearm checked and receive a temporary firearm permit, and this is not something you should attempt to handle on your own.
Hunts for Marco Polo argali occur at extreme altitude in very challenging terrain, and good physical condition is a must. It’s crucial to check with a doctor before embarking on this hunt. Even the most experienced hunters may experience altitude sickness, and Diamox is usually recommended to prevent pulmonary edema.
Average shooting distance is from 400 to 500 yards, so rifles in the .300 magnum class are generally recommended, and hunters should be well-practiced and comfortable shooting at longer distances.
The high-altitude terrain can get extremely cold and windy. Since the climate is very dry, staying hydrated is a must. Consult with your outfitter for recommendations on clothing and equipment that will stand up to the harsh conditions.
After the hunt
Marco Polo argali are CITES-listed species, so CITES export permits are required; additional import permits for both argali and ibex are required by the United States and some other countries. Your outfitter’s staff will need to coordinate with local operators and government agencies to obtain licenses and the required CITES export permits. Trophies are usually shipped as soon as the export documents are issued.
Interested in this destination? Create a subscription to get offers right to your inbox