New SCI World Record Marco Polo Sheep Taken in Tajikistan
By Barbara Crown
Soudy Golabchi (center) with guide/outfitter Yuri Matteson (to his right)
and staff and the new World Record Marco Polo ram.
Email Extra subscribers already know that a new world record has been set for Marco Polo argali. We sent out an email bulletin last month with the news and a photo of this monster ram. Safari Club International has officially recognized the trophy, which measures an incredible 71 7/8 x 73 inches and scores 256. It surpasses the previous Number One by 4 3/8 inches. The sheep was taken by Hossein "Soudy" Golabchi, who also holds the Number Two and Number Three spots in the SCI Record Book for Marco Polo. In fact, Golabchi, who is well known in sheep hunting circles, holds seven of the Top 10 Marco Polo trophies.
Golabchi took the ram in Tajikistan in the mountains around Karakul Lake. I spoke with Golabchi about his latest record-setting trophy and asked him how he keeps putting records in the book. He simply says this was his 30th time hunting Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan and he keeps going back.
"I took my first sheep when I was 16 years old. I am now 72 and still hunt sheep full time," he says. "I have a passion for sheep. I just love them."
Golabchi has received every sheep hunting award there is and returns to the mountains every year. In fact, he plans on returning to Tajikistan again this coming November. Originally from Iran, Golabchi says he loves hunting in Tajikistan, where the staff speaks his native Persian and he feels like he has a second home. But perhaps just as important is the long-standing hunting relationship he has with well-known guide/outfitter Yuri Matteson.
"I always hunt with Yuri," he says. "He is a real hunter and always gets the biggest sheep." He explains that Matteson was a successful physician and gave up his practice to become a sheep hunter. "That says a lot."
Golabchi goes on to say that Matteson is out every day scouting sheep, even before his other guides. "He loves to hunt, enjoying it perhaps more than his hunting clients. In 56 years of sheep hunting, not only have I taken hundreds of sheep, I have also seen a hundred sheep guides and sheep outfitters, so I should have an opinion when I hunt with a guide. I have never seen another outfitter like him. Yuri is the best."
We have 14 hunt reports on Yuri Matteson dating back to 1999. Two do not recommend the hunt, but it is worth noting that one of those is from a subscriber who gives Matteson an excellent rating and had previously filed a recommendation. On his second report he says he cannot recommend the hunt outright because it is simply too tough for most hunters. Anyone interested in Matteson's Marco Polo sheep hunts should read all the reports we have on file and contact his representatives at Ameri-Cana Expeditions (780-469-0579).