Marco Polo Hunting
Our partners are reliable and experienced local outfitters who provide assistants, cooks, vehicles, horses, camps, food, lodging and interpreter (one per camp). They acquire the local licenses/tags/permits and Russian CITES, where applicable, for the hunters, and they are politically well connected. There will be one English speaking, American or Canadian Manager/Guide in the hunting camp to make sure your needs and questions are being met.
We can also arrange to have an extra experienced guide (who will have been involved with many successful sheep hunts) accompany you in addition to myself and the local guides. This service we are providing is unique for this type of hunt. Most other operations just set up the hunt with the local outfitters and stay in camp, but don’t actually accompany you and almost never help guide an Asian hunt. This is especially helpful if you wish to harvest a very large animal, want help with the trophy judging and shooting process, especially if this your first time to Asia, as most of the local guides do not speak English. Elevations vary, depending on location. Base camps are between 10,000-14,000 feet. Most people do not get altitude sickness, but a medication called Diamox can be taken to alleviate most symptoms. Arriving in good physical condition will help also. On the first day or two of your hunt, we try and take it easy so that you can rest up and adapt to sleeping and hiking at these higher elevations and conditions. Common effects of this elevation include: shortness of breath, elevated pulse and blood pressure, headaches and a tired feeling. After a few days, most people adjust to the altitude and see noticeable performance improvements.
The hunting season starts on August 15th and lasts thru December 15th in fall season. Winter season starts in mid of January and lasts thru end of February. The hunt is conducted in mountainous areas of the Yssyk-Kul or Naryn regions. It takes about 10 to 15 hours to drive to camp depending on time of the year. Good physical condition is mandatory. Base camps are between 10,000-14,000 feet and the hunting takes place from camp elevation up to 16,000 feet. The air is dry; however the biggest challenge is to stay warm. You will need a good mat and sleeping bag to keep warm and dry, as sometimes you will stay at fly camp for a couple of days.
You will be able to see many Argali on a daily basis. The average Kyrgyzstan Marco Polo (Hume Argali) will be between 48” - 52”. Stalking is the general hunting method. If hunting with horses, you will find these people to be exceptional horsemen, and in some cases, they can get the hunter right to the animal. Vehicles are used on many of the hunts, but because of the terrain, horses and walking will get hunters to the larger animals. Generally, especially on the cold late season hunts, we will come back to the base camp at night. Spiking out is an option only for the more prepared, adventurous and ambitious. Spot and stalk hunting is the preferred method of hunting as it allows us to judge the animals with spotting scopes before making the final stalk. Hunters see many animals on Marco Polo hunts, including Ibex. On a typical day, hunters might see several hundred animals of both species and sexes. Game densities are high and vary with location.
The hunting areas vary. Some will have well equipped base camp(s), complete with permanent buildings, Yurts, outhouses, a generator, furniture, stock corrals and trophy care facilities. Some camps are more of a spike camp, and will consist of Yurts, portable trailers and/or lightweight tents. Heat is by coal or dung burning stoves. The food is basic: meats, rice & pasta dishes, salami, bread, nuts, vegetables, fruit, soups, etc., but is quite good and filling. If you like special snack foods like candy bars, juice mix and jerky, we recommend that you bring some with you, as they are not always available there. Bottled water is generally available, but if you are worried about drinking water, bring a water filter, Steri-Pen or purification tablets. Tea is served with every meal, so if you prefer coffee, you’ll need to let us know or just bring instant or coffee bags. Sodas, fruit juice, beer & vodka are also provided.
Hunt Dates: Fall: September thru mid-December; Winter January thru end of February
Duration: Approximately 8 - 10 hunting days plus travel and flying time.
Price: $26,000 ($18,000 + 8,000 harvest fee)
Additional specie: Ibex ($3, 500 harvest fee)
Additional Guide: US/Canadian Guide/personal escort, plus local guides on the Marco Polo hunt: $4,000 and additional charge for 1 hunter/guide or $2,250 per hunter for 2 hunters/1 guide for 10 day hunt. Hunter(s) also have to pay travel and lodging expenses for this guide.
Refunds & Notes: If Marco Polo Ram is not harvested, wounded or missed, then
$8,000 will be refunded or credited to a future hunt.
*Note: Prices for hunt options and additional costs are subject to change. Costs listed are the current, actual costs or the average cost depending on number of trophies shipped, number of people/group and the US destination for flying and shipping. Not all of the above costs will occur on the hunt. Call or email for specifics. Costs like lodging, meet/ greet, tips, VIP transfers can vary greatly and not all are required. This list covers nearly all possible costs, for all trips we provide. Our travel agent will handle and arrange International flights. All prices are in US Dollars.
Optional or additional hunt costs
Commercial Flight from US to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan ($1,700-2,500)
Receiving, inspecting and shipping trophies from Airport to Taxidermist ($500+)
Excess baggage fee or DHL for bringing heads/horns back to US ($150/bag/trip)
2 - 3 nights lodging in Bishkek or Istanbul ($150-450)
Emergency Medical Insurance or Med Jet (recommended) ($200-300)
VIP Transfers through Airport (2, depending on trip) ($120-150)
Meet and Greet person for Istanbul Airport or city tour (optional) ($100-150)
Turkish Visa (only if leaving the Istanbul Airport), done at airport ($40-50)
Kyrgyzstan Visa -- Get at Bishkek Airport ($40)
USFWS CITES/Import Permit for Marco Polo -- apply in April ($100)
Tips and Gratuities -- for Guides, drivers, interpreters, camp staff &
Emergency, shopping or fun money for trip
Helicopter - $2,000-3,000 +/hour (generally not an option)
Included hunt costs
Travel and permit arrangements
All hunting licenses and tags
Permits -- Russian CITES & Vet Cert.
Area Fees & Taxes
Pickup and transportation from Airport
English Speaking Interpreter
Local Guide and assistant per hunter
Cabin or tent accommodations
Lodging & meals while in Camp
Trophy skinning and preparation
Transportation - Jeeps and/or horses