Where to hunt Marco Polo Sheep
Marco Polo sheep inhabit one of the highest mountain ranges on this planet: Pamir, a.k.a. The Roof of the World. Their range includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China. However, for various political, environmental and security reasons, international hunters don’t have access to legal hunting opportunities everywhere across the Marco Polo sheep distribution. At present, Marco Polo sheep can be legally hunted in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan, however, is considering a 10-year moratorium on hunting all ungulates, including Marco Polo sheep, so if you want to hunt this country you’ll have to bear it in mind.
Hunting opportunities for Marco Polo sheep in Kyrgyzstan start at about $20,000. The most affordable offers usually imply that a hunter will share the camp with at least one other hunters. Hunts in areas known for higher trophy quality, and combination hunts that also include ibex, may go for up to $30,000. Community-based hunting in Tajikistan is priced higher, at about $40,000 including one hunter and one guest.
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Marco Polo sheep hunting is not cheap, but some other sheep hunts cost even more. Modern ways of finding hunting opportunities, such as provided by BookYourHunt.com can help you find the best hunting experience at the most affordable rates possible This blog story will help you find a sheep hunt that is within your budget.22 Jul 2018 Is There Such a Thing as an Over-the-Counter Sheep Hunt that Won’t Break the Bank?
When to hunt Marco Polo Sheep?
Marco Polo sheep hunting season in Kyrgyzstan starts on August 15 and may continue to March of the next year; however, some areas will not be available in the winter, as snowfall closes mountain passes. In Tajikistan the season runs from November 15 to February 28. December, when the sheep rut, is probably the best time for hunting them.
Marco Polo sheep hunting does not differ much from any other mountain hunt. The animals are diurnal, that is, most active in the mornings and in the evenings, so the hunters try to spot a suitable animal, by observing the area with the help of powerful optics, in the morning, then approach it as it beds to chew the cud in the afternoon, or, failing that, to intercept as it moves again in the evening. The hunter should be prepared to do a lot of climbing at high altitudes, as long detours and high rises to get above the sheep (the rams usually expect danger from below) are the norm. Good optics and a flat-shooting accurate rifle are necessities.
Why hunt Marco Polo Sheep?
Ever since the Venetian traveler described wild rams “with horns six palms in length”, the Marco Polo sheep has been a dream for many a hunter. Few could make the dream come true. The horns of a Marco Polo ram are longer than those of any other species of wild sheep, but it’s not the horns that command a true hunter’s respect but what it takes to get them. Even to reach their habitat, one had to undertake a long, difficult and dangerous journey, made even more complicated by colonial conflicts and other political reasons (the USSR, where the greater part of Marco Polo range used to be, was closed to international hunters until the late 1980s). The numbers of the Marco Polo decreased due to habitat loss, diseases it shares with domestic sheep, and indiscriminate slaughter for food, but carefully regulated community-based trophy hunting, as the example of Tajikistan shows, can be a great boost to their well-being.
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