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November 2016 Tajikistan Hunt

November 2016 Tajikistan Hunt

By Dr. Bob Peterson

After I was able to successfully complete my Grand Slam of North American sheep, going on a Marco Polo sheep hunt became a top priority on my bucket list. Once I determined that I could afford to do this, the next priority was to research outfitters. The Internet is full of stories about people who went on these hunts and did not get the sheep they shot.

November 2016 Tajikistan Hunt

After reviewing many advertisements of different outfitters, I called Dennis Campbell at Grand Slam Club/Ovis. He was extremely helpful. I narrowed my list down to two then called and talked with them. After making my decision -- which was difficult since they were both very good -- I obtained as much information as I could about what to expect for hunting conditions. I was told that shots over 500 yards were common.

I then paid a visit to the Long Range Hunting Store, where Andy Backus was extremely helpful in choosing a long range Huskemaw scope and appropriate Sitka gear. He was also very helpful in teaching me how to obtain the data necessary to have the proper turret for my gun and ammunition in the environment where I would be hunting, which was 14,000 feet of elevation and 20F temperature.

The Hunting Consortium scheduled my trip to start October 28 and return November 10. They wisely build in an extra day at each end of the trip in case there were travel problems. I experienced these at both ends, missing my outbound flight from Chicago to Istanbul and my return flight from Chicago to Appleton. Trip insurance is a must!

In Istanbul I met the three other hunters who would be at the Hot Springs camp with me. From Istanbul we flew to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. We were met at the airport and taken through Customs by a Hunting Consortium representative, who stayed with us through the entire trip and acted as our interpreter. We traveled in Toyota Land Cruisers through the mountains to Khorog. That trip took 12 hours. Our overnight stay was very comfortable in a private bed and breakfast.

The next day we drove 7 hours to camp. After arriving and meeting all the staff, we made sure our rifles were still sighted in. Then we had a delicious dinner and retired to our bedrooms in a building that was heated by the hot springs. It was very comfortable.

When the generator came on in the morning and the lights woke us up, we had a hot shower and breakfast and headed out in the Land Cruisers. Each of us had a driver, head guide, and assistant guide; I also had a videographer. The method of hunting is to drive through the valleys and mountains and glass for sheep.

On the first day I saw hundreds of Marco Polo sheep. My guide spotted a respectable ram and we began a stalk. The ground is covered with snow and there are no trees, just open ground and rock. We wore white outfits and walked single-file toward the sheep.

Halfway there we stopped and glassed some more and determined this was not a shooter. Later we spotted another one and made a stalk which I estimated to be close to a mile. We got to within 700 yards when a wolf scared them off. It was getting dark so we headed back to camp and had dinner.

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