2 of the Most Exhilarating Hunting Expeditions in Central Asia

Hunters looking for a challenge will find one in the beautiful, remote places of Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains.  Kyrgyzstan contains 28 different reptiles, 300 species of bird, 100 kinds of fish, 3,500 plants, and 178 mammals, two of which are the most enticing draws for hunting in Central Asia: the Mid-Asian Ibex and the Marco Polo Sheep. 

Even the most experienced hunters will find their match in these two elusive animals.   Horseback hunting is necessary to conquer Kyrgyzstan’s unforgiving terrain and hunters have to endure brutal temperatures during their expeditions.   If successful, hunters will walk away with an enviable prize and an unforgettable experience.


The Mid-Asian Ibex, also known as the Siberian or Tien-Shan Ibex, is the largest of all the Ibex goat species.  They thrive in the most rugged mountain conditions at elevations of over 4,500 meters and are plentiful in Kyrgyzstan. 

The Ibex has extraordinary eyesight and hearing and likes to taunt hunters by fleeing high into impossible-to-reach crags and precipices when in danger.  Average trophy sizes range between 110-115cm (40-42in), but can exceed over 127cm (50in) in length.   Each year at least one hunter records walking away with a 130cm (51in) trophy.  The SCI World Record for an Ibex trophy taken down on the hunt was 152cm (60in), shot in Kyrgyzstan in 1998. 

On a Kyrgyzstan hunting trip, expect extremely cold, often windy conditions, hunting at 3,300-4,300 meters (11,000-14,000ft) in rugged terrain.  Hunting season for Ibex is mid-August to November, January to February.  Horseback hunting trips are readily available.


Marco Polo sheep are coveted by hunters all over for world for their enormous, spiraling horns.  Of all the sheep in existence, they are the largest in body and horn size, potentially weighing over 140kg (300lbs) with horns that can measure over 183cm (72in). 

According to the original descriptions of Marco Polo, shepherds of the day would use the sheeps’ horns to build large bowls and corrals for their flocks.

The natural habitat for Marco Polo sheep is in the mountains of Central Asia and they have, on average, a 13 year life span.  (The age of a sheep can be determined by the rings that cover its horns.)  Unlike the Mid-Asian Ibex, Marco Polo sheep, preferring more open terrain, book it as fast as they can over rolling hills when faced with danger. Hunters will find normal flocks of sheep to register at around a few dozen.   Average trophy sizes range from 132-135cm (52-53in); the world record is 190cm (75in). 

Hunting season is from mid-August to November and the month of March.  Hunters should expect a combination of trekking and hunting on horseback.

Of all the Central Asian counties, Kyrgyzstan’s tour packages are a steal in more ways than one.  Not only is Kyrgyzstan a great place to hunt because it’s cheaper than surrounding countries, but Kyrygz hunting guides draw from a long line of mountain nomadic traditions.  Kyrgyz people have been dominating these rugged mountains for centuries and know them inside and out, not to mention they are expert horsemen and come from a kind, hospitable culture.  Going on a hunting tour in Kyrgyzstan will guarantee an unforgettable experience. 

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