Hunting in Kyrgyzstan

 

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Introduction

There is a wonderful mountainous country in Central Asia, crossed with thick mountain ridges of the Tian Shan and Pamirs-Alai – Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is located at the half distance from Paris to Tokyo, on the western border of China, south of Kazakhstan and east of  Uzbekistan, north of Tajikistan and 5000 km southeast of Moscow. It is a land of powerful eternally snow-covered mountains, alpine meadows scattered with flowers, impetuous rivers and waterfalls amid cliffs and steppes with the scent of worm wood; a land of blue lakes and green valleys. The pearl of the Central Asia is the emerald-blue Issyk-Kul Alpine lake. Kyrgyzstan attracts travellers from all over the world not only due to the great variety of landscapes, abundance of mountain lakes and cascades, alpine meadows and glaciers and exclusive resorts, but also due to historical and architectural sights, and wonderful Kyrgyz traditions.

Kyrgyzstan’s climate is classic continental with hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures can vary considerably within a single day – especially in the mountains. Spring: March: around 59 F daytime (+15 C), 23 F at night (-5 C); Fall: November: expect windy conditions. Daytime temperature around 35 – 45 F (+1 +7 C) with lows of 5-14 F (-10-15 C).

You will need a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan. A visa can be obtained at the nearest Embassy or upon arrival at Manas International Airport in Bishkek.

Hunting season


Argali: September 1 – December 1. The best hunting terms from November 1st.
Ibex: August 15 – December 15.

Trophy

Hume Argali

Hume Argali

Hume Argali, once considered a valid subspecies of Marco Polo Argali, was named for British naturalist A. O. Hume. It is similar to Marco Polo sheep in body size and coloration, but its horns are shorter, heavier, and have less flare. Hume Argali is found to the north of Marco Polo in southeastern Kyrgyzstan and far western China.

Marco Polo Argali

Marco Polo Argali

Also called Pamir Argali. Named for Marco Polo, 13th century Venetian merchant and explorer, who was the first Westerner to record its existence. Shoulder height 44-46 inches (112-117 cm). Weight up to 300 pounds (135 kg). A large, long-legged, light-boned argali with the most spectacular horns of all the world’s sheep. The summer coat is a light, speckled brown, with the face, chest, underparts, rump patch and legs white. In winter, the upper parts are a somewhat darker brown and there is a full white neck ruff extending to the brisket. The winter hair is much longer, making the animal appear larger and heavier than it is. The long, slender horns are homonymous, forming 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 open spirals, and triangular in cross section with a sharp orbital-nuchal edge. The longest sheep horn ever recorded (75 inches, or 190.5 cm) (Rowland Ward, 1895), is from a Marco Polo; however the largest circumference for this race is only 17 inches (43 cm), with 14 to 15-1/2 inches (36-39 cm) usual. Horns and skull together will weigh only about 25 pounds (11-12 kg), the horns’ slimness making them seem longer than they actually are. The average Marco Polo trophy from Kyrgyzstan is 50″-52″ (127-133 cm), with best trophies of 55”- 60” (140-153 cm). The Marco Polo is one of the finest wild sheep and is one of the world’s very top hunting trophies. It lives at high altitudes that not all hunters can cope with.

Mid-Asian Ibex

Mid-Asian Ibex

This subspecies can be the largest in size and grow the largest horns. Males can weigh as much as 285 pounds (130kg), or even more. Its coloration is very different from that of Siberian and Gobi Ibexes. In winter coat, most adult males are a cinnamon-brown color of varying intensity, becoming browner and duller on the flanks, shoulders and thighs. There usually is a dark, well-developed dorsal stripe, and also a light-colored saddle patch that can vary in size, shape and location. A very dark flank band separates the brown flanks from the whitish belly. There is a distinct brown band on the front surface of the forelegs, a lighter one on the hind legs. The head is lighter than the flanks – actually somewhat grayish – and the beard is brown. However, there is a good deal of individual variation in color and markings. Horns are very long and relatively slender with comparatively small cross ridges.

Hunting territory

Issyk-Kul province, Muz-Bulak, Koychi and Kaindy regions

The north of the Issyk-Kul province is dominated by the eye-shaped Issyk-Kul Lake, surrounded by the ridges of the Tian Shan mountain system. Most of the population of the province lives around the lake. To the south there are mountains and mountain meadows. In the east there are the highest peaks of the Tian Shan mountains, including Khan Tengri of 22 999 ft (7010 m) and Jengish Chokusu of 24 406 ft (7439 m), also called Victory Peak, or Pobeda Peak in Russian.

Naryn province, Arpa and Ak-Say regions

Naryn province is located in the central part of Kirgizia. It stretches along the valleys and mountain slopes of the Inner Tyen Shan.

Hunting

Hunting in Kyrgyzstan requires a lot of horse riding. The hunt starts in the morning and you spend the day looking for the trophy males at the hillsides and feeding areas. The stalk is completed on foot once the desired trophy is located. You have to be fit for this part of the hunt. Spike camps are used to stay within the hunting area. Shooting range is 200-500 yards/meters.

Route

The hunter will need to arrive to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Probably the most convenient way would be to use Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul, which flies two 737s each week into Bishkek. Aeroflot, via New York, also serves Bishkek. Upon arrival the hunters are met by our representative and expedited through customs. After that we drive you to the hunting area. Expect to spend 10-12 days in Kyrgyzstan and have 7-8 hunting days.

Accommodation

The base camps are warm and comfortable. They consist of specially adapted cabins with separate cosy rooms for hunters. Tented spike camps are used to save time and stay within the hunting area. All of them are equipped with everything needed for successful hunting and good rest.

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