The Real Skinny On Hunts In Turkey


Published: October - 1998

Back in the early and mid-1980s, Turkey had a reputation as a very desirable hunting destination, offering such species as bezoar ibex, Mideastern brown bear and Anatolian chamois. Particularly famous was the Termessos area, located in the Toros Mountains near the Mediterranean beach resort of Antalya. In actuality the ruins of an ancient city devastated by earthquakes and abandoned in the first century BC, Termessos was not just a great place to take an ibex, which nearly 100 percent of visiting hunters did, but a fascinating place to experience. Accommodations on this hunt were in five-star hotels, and clients enjoyed hunting in balmy weather among ancient ruins just 25 miles away. It was one of the world's most comfortable big game hunts, and hunters just flocked to Antalya. All hunting was organized by just one company back then, Pamfilya Hunting Activities, owned by Yasar Sobutay, and it did an excellent job.

Unfortunately, it was all just too good to last. By the late 1980s, Termessos had been seriously overhunted, with ibex not only getting scarce but with trophy quality getting poorer. Eventually, Termessos was closed, though unfortunately for too short a time. When it was re-opened, there was no management of the ibex. Everybody involved at that point tried to bring in as many hunters as possible, get their money and the hell with tomorrow. Pamfilya's main guide, Kaan Karakaya, started his own company called Shikar Safaris in 1996, and Pamfilya has since gotten out of the hunting business to focus on serving general tourists. Today, ibex hunting in Termessos is closed again and hopefully will remain closed for at least another two years.

A few years ago, two new ibex areas were opened. One is near Akseki, which lies about three hours by car from Antalya in the Toros Mountains. The other is Cehenmendere - which translates literally as Hell's Canyon - also in the Toros Mountains near the famed Cilician Gates, through which Alexander the Great marched on his route of conquest. Both the Akseki and Cehenmendere areas are extremely rough, inhospitable areas with ideal ibex........(continued)

 
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