The animal is found only in Turkey in the Bozdag mountains west of Konya. It's population numbers only a few thousand, and it has been strictly protected and intensively managed for more than two decades within a fenced reserve. But in recent years a number of Konya sheep were released into wild areas surrounding the breeding reserve near Konya, and wildlife authorities agreed this fall to issue the first few licenses for these free-ranging sheep in an effort to generate further funding for Konya sheep restoration.
Late this September, Turkish officials issued a total of seven permits for hunters to take one of these rare sheep. The permits were auctioned to outfitters and were already spoken for, but hunt operators expect Turkish authorities to offer hunts again for the following season.
Hunts for Konya sheep (some of which have already taken place at this writing) are scheduled to take place October through December. They run eight days and start at about $40,000. Although excessive by all admissions, the majority of that fee is earmarked for the Konya sheep restoration program, so hunters who go afield will be making a great contribution to conservation and ensuring hunting of this species in the future.
At this point all we know about the hunt is that hunters are lodged in small local hotels and taken out to the hunting area each day. Hunting is on foot in moderate mountain terrain with elevations typically no more than 5,000 feet. No one had a clear idea what size trophies would be produced during this first year of hunting, but several sources alluded to exceptional rams that had been spotted. Indeed, near press time, we received a photo of a ram taken by Hunting Report subscriber Walter Page Mays, who hunted through Bob Kern of The Hunting Consortium this past October. Kern says the ram is of........(continued)