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Old 10-17-2017, 10:14 PM
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Default Mid-Asian Ibex

Originally this hunt was supposed to take place in Kazakhstan. But doing what game departments do they just up and closed the area a couple of months before we were scheduled to leave. kaan suggested we move to a new area he has in Kyrgyzstan. The altitude would be higher but the Ibex are also bigger.
The long awaited day has arrived and we head off for various airports across the country. I met up with two of the guys in Atlanta and off we went. When we got to Istanbul we needed to collect our luggage and switch airlines. Air France had managed to leave behind all of our guns plus my duffle. They couldn't even look in there system to tell us were they were. What a joke!!! We proceeded on to Bishkek hoping our stuff would follow. Long story short. Somebody at Turkish air started a big stink and they would not transfer our guns with out us present. Never mind its done all the time in Africa and elsewhere. So here we are, we've already lost one day of hunting. So one of the Shikar reps has his rifle with him and we were able to rent another. So 6 guys would share 4 rifles. It takes a while to get the rifle and even longer to find a box of Ammo for it. We finally pull out of Bishkek at like 12:40. Who new these guys operated on Africa time.

Enter the road from CensoredCensoredCensoredCensored !!!
I thought I found the worst road in the world in Burkina Faso. Not so!
The first 5 hours of the trip are a high speed race over sometimes smooth highways were you must pass everyone you come across and the lines on the road are just a suggestion. The next 5 hours are on a highway that has not been maintained since the Soviets left and just plain ole dirt track. Not only was it rough on the kidneys but I got car sick from all the high speed swerving around the pot holes. Just plain miserable. We got to camp at 3:15 am. We caught a few hours of sleep and then prepared to go out to spike camps.

Day 1
We are told to pack for a 2 day spike out. Not hard for me. Thankfully a couple of the guys loaned me some essential gear I didn’t have. Tim loaned me a puffy and some thin gloves. One of the Shikar guys loaned me a neck gaiter and some thick gloves. Of course were on Kyrgy time now. So were all ready in about 30 min. then we stand around and wait for 2 hours why the guides hash out whos going with who and what horses to take. I try to pair myself up with Jim who I have hunted with before. The head guide “Bic” wouldn’t have it. He insisted on guiding two of us. So im paired with Tony and the borrowed Blaser. We saddle up and head up river. Of course I have drawn the horse that will not keep up. He has two gears. Slow and run. Stupid horses! We stop by a small herders cabin and pick up an AK-47. Up thru a narrow gorge we go. When we get near the head we spot the first Ibex. It’s a mixed herd about 60 strong. There are no big billys present. We continue up over a pass and into a high basin. While Jodi and Taka setup we camp we ride up one side of the basin. After leaving the horses we traversed around the side of a ridge. We find another group mixed group of goats but again there are no big billys. On the way back I spot a Ibex skull and horns. It’s the 4th one ive seen in the basin. Cant tell if it’s a wolf kill or something else. The horns are pretty big so I am able to lean over and pick it up from the horse. I carry it back to camp and prop it up on a rock near the tent. Bic looks at it and proclaims it the Ibex hotel. We have noodles, salami and bread for supper. Camp is set at 11,741 feet. It gets cold fast at that altitude. We roll into bed soon afterward.



Day 2 – were riding over that?
I don’t know if it was the altitude or the hole I was laying in but I hardly get any sleep. This was to continue the whole time I was out. I keep peaking out of my sleeping bag and its fully lite out. I say screw this and roll out of the sack. I get outside and it bitter cold. All the water is frozen. The horses even though hobbled have moved 5-6 hundred yards down the basin. I decide to go catch them and get the blood pumping. I guess Jodi decided it wasn’t good for the client to be doing the work and he joins me before I get half way to them. We catch them up and lead them back to camp. Breakfast is the same as supper. Finally we saddle up and head up over a high pass. Theres a narrow valley on the other side and Bic spots a group of males a good ways down. We use a spur ridge to close the distance. Theres only one mature billy and hes only a “normal” trophy. We decline and head thru the valley and up and over into the next basin. We spot a mixed herd and keep moving. We find a group of billys 27 strong. Theres one real nice one. There in a tuff spot for a stalk. We work the terrain but cant get closer than 400 meters. The big billy is now laying down facing away at 430 m. I decline the shot. Tony decides to give it a go. He factored in the cross wind but just not enough. At the shot the rocks explode just inches from the billy. They take of up the mountain and out of site. Bic and tony ride around to see were they went. They holed up in some high cliffs were they weren’t accessible. While there gone I notice theres a storm building over the mountains. They get back ahead of it but not soon enough. We ride over the pass in a raging snow squall. With snow falling and the wind howling we go right into the sleeping bags and cook supper in the tent.

Day 3 - winter wonder land
There’s 2-3 inches of snow on the ground. Luckily its dry and powdery. I help Jodi catch the horses and we have breakfast while enjoying the bluebird sky and warm sun shine. Im always amazed at the difference a little sun hitting you makes. We saddle up and head up over the snowy pass. It takes us until lunch to find our first Ibex. Theres a group of 14 males bedded in some rocks on a spur ridge. There is one average billy in the group. I decline. Tonys decides to take him if possible. Theres no good way to get close to them. Bic sends Jodi around to get up wind of them and see if they will push our way. Even with the horse it takes him over an hour to get in position. It actually works and the get up and string out across the ridge in front of us. Bic wont let up where I can see. I don’t see the first shot but see the 2nd take him thru the hind quarter as hes headed up the ridge. I call the hit as he turns and stops. The 3rd looked like it missed to me but he goes down shortly after. Either the first or third was right thru the boiler room. The billy fell at 13,034’.



Day 4 – Horse riding, you aint seen nothing yet
Bic sends tony and taka back to base camp. We break camp and head in a new direction. We turn of into a small valley. No Ibex. We do find a Marmot colony that a Brown bear has been digging in. You could lay down in some of the holes hes dug. Bic points his horse up over a dome shaped ridge. It’s a shale slope and the horses are slipping and sliding. Bics horse loses traction and its rear end slides down hill almost tipping over. They didn’t have to tell me to dismount. I was off in a jiffy. My horse fell twice going across that slope. At the top we glass the new basin. No Ibex. Down across and up we go. We ride out onto a knife ridge that has an incredible view. Still no Ibex. Oh boy, talk about steep. We drop of the ridge and head down a shale slope. My horse is protesting mightly. I keep having to talk to him to keep him moving. At one point he stopped so suddenly my feet blew out from under me. Then it happens he loses his footing and sits down on his haunches. He is sliding right at me. I start running down the hill full speed. Luckily I was able to jump out of the way before he caught up to me. He soon cathes his footing and we make it down without further incident. We ride thru this valley and up on a rocky point. I can see the glacier at the head of the valley and Victory peak (24,406’) which marks the Kyrgy / China border. There are two valleys we can see into from here. There are several mixed groups of ibex but again no big Billys. There is some discussion between the guides. For the 5th time today Bic holds his thumb up and says normal? I reply with not normal. He askes if I want to go back to base camp. I shake my head no and mount up. Jodi comes over and ties a lead rope to my horse. This is bad news as his horse walks much faster than mine. When hes leading mine, it is continuously doing this little quick step. It just pounds the crap out of my backside or front depending on which way were headed. We dump off the high point at 13,500’ and descend all the way to the river and go across.




This picture is from the head of the alpine valley on the way out. We dropped of from the peak just to the left of the V.

Up and up we go in another canyon glassing along the way. When we finally top out into a long alpine valley were at almost 12,000’. We start seeing some mixed groups of ibex. Were just plowing thru the valley with no regard to stealth and finally bust out a group with several big billys in it. Im beat up, wore out and frustrated. Im wondering if there just trying to make me say uncle. A little farther down I see Bic reign in his horse. He starts pointing to a big rock to his right. We get on top and glass a big group of approx. 50 males. There is one big male several really nice ones and a few average billys in the group. Along with 40 or so small ones. The sun has set and we watch them feed into a small valley with a glacier in it. After climbing off the rock Bic says we are staying right here. There will be no lights, no talking and no tent. We huddle in small depression at the base and make some tea. I have 5 pcs. of salami and 2 pcs. of bread for dinner. There is no more meat left and I just finished the last of the water. The guides lay the sleeping bags out side by side and we pull the rain fly over us. Its actually the most comfortable spot ive slept in. The alarm is supposed to go of at 4:00 am. I wake up and peak out. There’s an awful lot of lite on the horizon. Bic sits up and takes on look at the sky. He starts jabbering in kyrgy. I don’t need a translation and get dressed ASAP. We high tail it across the valley leaving Jodi to keep the horses out of sight. Im starting to sweat but it cant be helped. We slip into position cutting off any exsit from the valley. Were about 400 meters from the mouth on one side and 300 from the other. It takes a little while but we soon start picking out Ibex bedded up on the slopes on both sides of the glacier. There in no hurry to get moving. We have been laying here for over 2 hours and im starting to shiver. No way im making a 400 m shot while shivering. I start doing isometric exercises to try and warm up. I look at Bic and hes shivering. You know its cold when the guides cold. Finally a group of about 15 start heading out. The big one is not with them but theres two good ones in the bunch. We reposition to a better spot but the grass is too tall for any rest I can take. The billys drop into the runoff stream bed. When they come out there headed right at us. They get closer and closer. We back down and move again. It becomes apparent there going to cut our wind and they will be close. I roll my feet under me and prepare to take an off hand shot. Bic is constantly telling me to “shoot black one shoot black one”. They separate from the group a couple of times. Each time there overlapping each other or a little one walks in front before I can pull the trigger. Im totally wigged out by now. They cut our wind and the first few stop. One separate’s from the others and I throw up and shoot. The run back the way they came. The one I shot starts faltering and falls 35 yards from where im sitting. Bic says you shoot wrong one! I don’t care. He walks over and takes a look. He says its okay, normal trophy normal trophy. I really don’t care at this point. His horns have a nice shape and his coat is absolutely gorgeous. We go stand in the sun while we wait for Jodi to bring the horses. When he gets there we boil some glacier water and have tea and bread for breakfast. He fell at just short of 11,900'.




I cant get over how thick they are thru the chest.


The glacier where they were bedded
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:29 PM
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Congratulations on what must have been a long, hard hunt. Unique country and trophy.
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:34 AM
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Awesome hunt and story, thanks for sharing. Beautiful country from looking at the pictures and a nice Ibex too!
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:54 AM
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what an awesome hunt .....thanks for taking us along ....
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:21 AM
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Goodness, what an adventure! Congrats on a well earned trophy
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:09 AM
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Congrats!
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:37 AM
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What an amazing hunt, you have a much larger sense of adventure than me, but man what an experience! Congrats on your hunt of a lifetime and awesome trophy, and as always thank you for sharing!
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:27 PM
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Great storytelling. Really enjoyed reading about the adventure. Congrats!
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:47 PM
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Good hunt. Congratulations.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:35 PM
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Great hunt. Congrads and thanks for sharing your experience with us.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:58 AM
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Very cool adventure and a nice trophy. That's a long way from Toccoa.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:53 PM
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Thanks for sharing
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:10 PM
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Great story!
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:15 PM
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Awesome story and trophy!!!
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:41 PM
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Awesome. Always look forward to reading your hunting experiences. Congrats and thanks for taking the time to post.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:32 PM
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That's awesome. That's definitely on the bucket list. Congrats on a great hunt
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:59 AM
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HunterJoe,

If you have ever dreamed of doing a sheep hunt but suffer severe sticker shock like me. This is your ticket. Its the same hunt except goats like ruffer terrain. Best thing is its 1/3 the price. Yeah the travel sucks but it mostly does if you want to get to a truly remote location.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder Head View Post
HunterJoe,

If you have ever dreamed of doing a sheep hunt but suffer severe sticker shock like me. This is your ticket. Its the same hunt except goats like ruffer terrain. Best thing is its 1/3 the price. Yeah the travel sucks but it mostly does if you want to get to a truly remote location.
Yeah. it's all on my bucket list. But I've really looked into Ibex alot because of those reasons. I just have to get done with some school, and hopefully land a job that I can afford to go on all these hunts as well. Himalayan Ibex are a the top of my to do list. There's just something about the danger of Pakistan, the Himalaya's, and the Ibex itself that makes me want to chase after it
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Old 10-24-2017, 09:53 PM
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Your guns, man!! What happened to your guns!??!
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:08 AM
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AirFrance NEVER AGAIN!

When we get back to Istanbul the AirFrance supervisor tells us our guns are in Paris. They will go on the plane with us back to Atl. Just out of curiosity I go to the help desk when we get there. I show the young man my luggage tickets and ask him if he can verify my bags are scheduled to go on the plane. After 25 minutes on the computer and numerous phone calls he can tell me nothing.
There's quite a line for boarding by the time I get there. When I finally get up to the counter my boarding pass throws an alarm. The lady tells me to step to the side. Tim has been pulled aside too. The other two guys are on the plane. She tells us we cannot fly because we did not declare are weapons. I start laughing like a hyena. Everyone turns to look. I say you mean the bags you lost 10 days ago and I haven't seen since. The same bags this young man right (help desk guy is standing right next to me)here cant even tell me if there on this planet or not. She changed her tune a little after that. We filled out the declaration forms and got on the plane.
Both Tim and my guns showed up in Atl. The two guys that they didn't flag did not. They did get them within the next couple of days though.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:45 PM
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Man! What an hunt! That looks like some beautiful, harsh, primal country in an unknown, forgotten part of the world. Truly an adventure.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder Head View Post
AirFrance NEVER AGAIN!

When we get back to Istanbul the AirFrance supervisor tells us our guns are in Paris. They will go on the plane with us back to Atl. Just out of curiosity I go to the help desk when we get there. I show the young man my luggage tickets and ask him if he can verify my bags are scheduled to go on the plane. After 25 minutes on the computer and numerous phone calls he can tell me nothing.
There's quite a line for boarding by the time I get there. When I finally get up to the counter my boarding pass throws an alarm. The lady tells me to step to the side. Tim has been pulled aside too. The other two guys are on the plane. She tells us we cannot fly because we did not declare are weapons. I start laughing like a hyena. Everyone turns to look. I say you mean the bags you lost 10 days ago and I haven't seen since. The same bags this young man right (help desk guy is standing right next to me)here cant even tell me if there on this planet or not. She changed her tune a little after that. We filled out the declaration forms and got on the plane.
Both Tim and my guns showed up in Atl. The two guys that they didn't flag did not. They did get them within the next couple of days though.
Sounds like a pain in the rear but at least you all got them back. So now that it's behind you, no matter how rough it was, you have one of the coolest hunting stories on the board.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:28 AM
james hyde james hyde is offline
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Awesome read about a great hunt even with all the issues, congratulations!
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