KYRGYZSTAN (Kyrgyz Republic):
Throughout much of Kyrgyzstan the predominant species of argali is the Tian Shan sheep (Ovis ammon karelini). In hunting areas south of the Naryn River Valley, true Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) are found.
The arrival airport is Bishkek, the capitol city of the Kyrgyz Republic. From here hunters are driven by jeep to one of several base camps, which lie approximately 300 kilometers southeast of Bishkek. The camps are usually situated at an altitude of less than 11,000 feet. The surrounding mountains are between 10,500 and 14,500 feet high.
Hunting is done both on horseback and on foot. The sheep population in this region is approximately 4,000 animals and normally a hunter will see several hundred sheep during the course of a hunt. Trophies from Kyrgyzstan average 52 – 54 inches in length.
Safari Club International and the United Sates Fish and Wildlife Service recognize all sheep taken south of the Naryn River as Marco Polo sheep. Ovis makes an additional distinction, for trophy recording purposes. Sheep from the northern most region, South of the Naryn River, can also be considered Hume’s argali, (Ovis ammon humei), because of their horn configuration and intermediate pelage, between the Marco Polo sheep and the Tian Shan argali, found North of the Naryn.
Note: At the moment all hunting in China has been suspended. When (if) hunting reopens, we will be able to offer hunts for Marco Polo sheep there again. Marco Polo sheep hunts in China are very similar to hunts in Kyrgyzstan.